Certified Online Casinos Guide

By Ellen Smith

Level: Aug 1st 2007
The motto of these days - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – but do you all really understand what it is and how it works? If you own a site, your direct target is to be listed as high as possible in the search results when someone types in a keyword related to your site in Google, Yahoo or another search mechanism.

How do you carry out this objective? Make sure you really understand the search engines and don’t choose to ‘cheat’ them like other sites try to do.

For instance, inserting generally searched words into your code it was something commonly used five years ago, but today, it's a way to get your site blacklisted

Now, let’s take it step by step. First, you need to get your site indexed and search engines use spiders or robots that “crawl” your content pages and also the code behind your pages.

Search engines job is to provide users with the most significant pages linked to what they're searching on. For this they will store relevant information from your site in order to list your site when analogous keywords are entered in the Yahoo, Google or another search engine.

When you first open a site you can choose between 2 options for indexing it. One is to submit manually your site to the most important search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Other search mechanisms that worth your attention are: MSN, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, AltaVista, and AOL.

This way, you are actually getting your site to stand in line with other sites waiting to be indexed, so you will need to submit only the main page of your site.

The other option for indexing is to launch your site and let the search engines discover it which can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. To obtain a reasonable time for indexing your site is to create an inbound link to your site from another already indexed site. This is actually an approach recommended by many.

Site’s structure and format are important considerations, as search engines crawl regularly and re-index sites, updating their database periodically according to the information obtained. To remain highly visible to crawlers, your website should be periodically up-dated with new pages and fresh information.

I. Here are some of the structural and formatting considerations:

Build a Site Map
The rule of thumb is that each page you want to be indexed must not be more than 3 clicks away from your site’s homepage. For this, the best choice is to create a site map, helping to direct crawlers to all your pages you want to be indexed. Your site map format must be just a simple index of your site’s pages organized usually by title or category which serves as the link text to the related page. This is not a tool designed for your visitors but one for spiders and robots.

Make “Friendly” URL's
Until a while ago, dynamically (or database) driven URL's were not indexed by search engines but now URL’s are recognized as dynamic. Search engines either spider them at a snail's pace or only spider them if they have enough incoming links.

Now, a fact you must always consider is that smaller URL’s are having higher chances of being crawled. Considering this rule you may want to eliminate the query strings from your URL's and change them with friendlier identifiers.

Also, a URL with real words is much easier to keep in mind than one with questions marks, random letters, numbers and other symbols. So, this will be a good change for both search engines and visitors as well.

Keep Your Copy in Check
An important thing to know is that search engines will not index more than 200KB of text per page. If you plan to have your pages indexed completely, consider that limit and make sure it won’t go over it. If you are not so strict about this, an advice it will be to at least have the most important and relevant copy at the top of your pages, which will enter on that limit of 200 Kb.

Increase In-Coming Links
Insert in your pages links that send to reputable and relevant sites. To establish back links you have the option of affiliate programs, and this is a really good solution. Search for sites you would like to be associated with, contact them and check if they are interested in exchanging links.

Content Strategies and the technical side of SEO (discussed in point II)
Both content and coding play a very important role in SEO so these are 2 important areas to consider when thinking about SEO

Fresh, Relevant and Well-Written Content
Do you have the proper content on your website equivalent to the keywords or phrases you assume people are searching for? Practically, for every keyword phrase you want to win, you will need at least one page of well-written content.

Search engines like sites that are regularly updated with new content and information using simple techniques like news articles, press releases, blogs and tips. This includes adding pages to your site and having as more pages, the better.

II. The technical side of SEO

Title tags
The title you see on the blue bar of your browser displayed ate the top of the page is the title tag. Let’s say that the name of your business is Bikes and Toys. When a visitor enters on the page for children bikes you don't want to the user to see just Bikes and Toys in the title as you would better prefer ‘3-5 years Quality Children Bikes at Bikes and Toys’. Every page should have its own title for a better effect and as a great platform to promote keyword density.

Title tags its best to have around 40 characters and should contain keywords that users are typing in to find those pages on your site

Meta Keyword Tags
These are keywords designed only for crawlers and are not a part of your site that visitors will be able to see. They appear in the html code of your site. For all your pages you must pick related keywords to what you are presenting on your page.

Meta Description Tags
Meta description tags represent a summary of your content on a page that is displayed under your title in a directory listing. The Meta description of your page its best to don’t be stuffed with keywords and you should keep it under 200 words. Meta descriptions should be used as an opportunity to sell your page.
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