Ten Steps To A Well Optimized Website - Step 4a: Site Optimization

Nov 15 22:00 2004 Dave Davies Print This Article

Welcome to part four in this search engine ... series. Last week we ... the ... of the ... of your website and the best ... for creating an easily spidered and easil

Welcome to part four in this search engine positioning series. Last week we
discussed the importance of the structure of your website and the best practices
for creating an easily spidered and easily read site. In part four we will discuss
content optimization.

This is perhaps the single most important aspect of ranking your website highly
on the search engines. While all of the factors covered in this series will
help get your website into the top positions,Guest Posting it is your content that will sell
your product or service and it is your content that the search engines will
be reading when they take their "snapshot" of your site and determine
where it should be placed in relation to the other billions of pages on the

Over this series we will cover the ten key aspects to a solid search engine
positioning campaign.

The Ten Steps We Will Go Through Are:

  1. Keyword

  2. Content

  3. Site

  4. Optimization

  5. Internal Linking

  6. Human Testing

  7. Submissions

  8. Link Building

  9. Monitoring

  10. The Extras

Step Four – Content Optimization

There are aspects of the optimization process that gain and lose importance.
Content optimization is no exception to this. Through the many algorithm changes
that take place each year, the weight given to the content on your pages rises
and falls. Currently incoming links appear to supply greater advantage than
well-written and optimized content. So why are we taking an entire article in
this series to focus on the content optimization?

The goal for anyone following this series is to build and optimize a website
that will rank well on the major search engines and, more difficult and far
more important, hold those rankings through changes in the search engine algorithms.
While currently having a bunch of incoming links from high PageRank sites will
do well for you on Google you must consider what will happen to your rankings
when the weight given to incoming links drops, or how your website fares on
search engines other than Google that don't place the same emphasis on
incoming links.

While there are many characteristics of your content that are in the algorithmic
calculations, there are a few that consistently hold relatively high priority
and thus will be the focus of this article. These are:

  1. Heading Tags

  2. Special Text (bold, colored, etc.)

  3. Inline Text Links

  4. Keyword Density

Heading Tags

The heading tag (for those who don't already know) is code used to specify
to the visitor and to the search engines what the topic is of your page and/or
subsections of it. You have 6 predefined heading tags to work with ranging from



By default these tags appear larger than standard text in a browser and are
bold. These aspects can be adjusted using the font tags or by using Cascading
Style Sheets (CSS).

Due to their abuse by unethical webmasters and SEO's, the weight given
to heading tags is not what it could be however the content between these tags
is given increased weight over standard text. There are rules to follow with
the use of heading tags that must be adhered to. If you use heading tags irresponsibly
you run the risk of having your website penalized for spam even though the abuse
may be unintentional.

When using your heading tags try to follow these rules:

  • Never use the same tag twice on a single page

  • Try to be concise with your wording

  • Use heading tags only when appropriate. If bold text will do then go that

  • Don't use CSS to mask heading tags

Never use the same tag twice on a single page. While the

tags holds
the greatest weight of the entire heading tags, its purpose is to act as the
primary heading of the page. If you use it twice you are obviously not using
it to define the main topic of the page. If you need to use another heading
tag use the

tag. After that the

tag and so on. Generally
I try never to use more than 2 heading tags on a page.

Try to be concise with your wording. If you have a 2 keyword phrase that you
are trying to target and you make a heading that is 10 words long then your
keyword phrase only makes up about 20% of the total verbiage. If you have a
4-word heading on the other hand you would then have a 50% density and increased
priority given to the keyword phrase you are targeting.

Use heading tags only when appropriate. If bold text will do then go that route.
I have seen sites with heading tags all over the place. If overused the weight
of the tags themselves are reduced with decreasing content and "priority"
being given to different phrases at various points in the content. If you have
so much great content that you feel you need to use many heading tags you should
consider dividing the content up into multiple pages, each with its own tag
and keyword target possibilities. For the most part, rather than using additional
heading tags, bolding the content will suffice. The sizing will be kept the
same as your usual text and it will stand out to the reader as part of the text
but with added importance.

Don't use CSS to mask heading tags. This one just drives me nuts and
is unnecessary. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) serve many great functions. They
can be used to define how a site functions, looks and feels however they can
also be used to mislead search engines and visitors alike. Each tags has a default
look and feel. It is fine to use CSS to adjust this somewhat to fit how you
want your site to look. What is not alright is to adjust the look and feel to
mislead search engines. It is a simple enough task to define in CSS that your
heading should appear as regular text. Some unethical SEO's will also
then place their style sheet in a folder that is hidden from the search engine
spiders. This is secure enough until your competitors look at the cached copy
of your page (and they undoubtedly will at some point) see that you have hidden
heading tags and report you to the search engines as spamming. It's an
unnecessary risk that you don't need to take. Use your headings properly
and you'll do just fine.

Next article continues with "special text".

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About Article Author

Dave Davies
Dave Davies

Dave Davies is the owner of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning. He has been optimizing and ranking websites for over three years and has a solid history of success. Dave is available to answer any questions that you may have about your website and how to get it into the top positions on the major search engines.

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