Optimising meta data for Google*
- Develop and maintain an established domain name
- Create a good URL and stick with it. Google places weight on the words your URL is comprised of, so it is a good idea to create a good URL: An URL, containing specific and important keywords, which is well thought out is a good URL.
- It is also worth noting that links from established domain names are highly desired by Google. Links from universities, libraries and museums, for example, are very good links to obtain.
- Robot friendly design
- Avoid or minimise frames, forms, scripts, animations, log-ins and session identifiers
- Use stylesheets and avoid mark-up clutter
- Create CSS stylesheets, rather than combining CSS and HTML, to keep WebPages smaller and ‘proper’ by following best practice (i.e. semantic).
- Text and content
- Create excellent content, written clearly and explained fully, for your viewers. Do you ask a question at the top of the article? Is this question answered clearly in the article? Is the text well-laid out, clear and easy to read? These questions will help you create excellent content.
- Links and meta data
- Avoid using href=”click here” in link anchors. Make these links excellent by using descriptive links, such as, href=”Gerald Murphy’s search engine technology blog”
- Meaningful title tags
- Write descriptive title tags by making excellent use of English. The following questions will help you to write descriptive title tags: What is this page about in a few words? Does the title tag summerise the most important elements of this page?
*Adapted and expanded from (Dawson and Hamilton 2006:314)
- Dawson, A. and Hamilton, V. (2006) Optimising metadata to make high-value content more accessible to Google users. Journal of Documentation. 62(3) pp. 307-327
- “gerald murphy manchester metropolitan university” (within the first few weeks)
- this returned a hit because I have used each of these words on this blog. In fact, these words are enclosed in heading tags, as well as, strong tags.
- This search was generated at the end of November 2012. The hashtag suggests that someone was miming social media, and by doing so, my reblogged post on the free and open internet got picked up. Hence the hit.
- “gerald murphy information and communication”
- Just like the first point (above) a searcher landed on my blog, at the start of Dec, because each of these words appear on posts within this blog. Furthermore, they appear in the heading tags, or are enclosed in strong tags within paragraph tags.
How to improve your blog rankings
The first thing to do is register your blog to common search engines. You can do this via the WebMaster tools/settings. By doing so, search engines will send their bots to your site. These bots will gather information on your blog. You can make their work easier by using the proper tags in your HTML (heading tags, strong, emphasis etc).
By using proper HTML you can also place more value on your terms. If there is an important word (or phrase) place in in the heading. If you can think of few words to describe the whole post, place these in the title. If you want to help readers to scan your blog, put the important terms in bold (use the strong tag, not b). This is discussed in the SEO post last week.
Blogs are personal, not necessarily corporate
Traffic is good so long as it is relevant traffic. In other words, the focus should be on quality, not quantity because you want relevant searchers rather than a mass of frustrated searchers who land on your blog by accident. This blog, for example, is unlikely to get many hits, but it is likely to get many relevant hits. If a person searches for anything related to search engine technology, SEO and my name they will be directed to this blog. They are likely to know of me, if they don’t already know me.
Corporate companies, for this reason, are always looking a mass number of hits because they are well known, unlike Gerald Murphy!