Listen, there isn’t anything better than sitting at your desk drinking an ice cold beer in a tall ice frosted mug while optimizing a webpage for search indexing. Now that’s not to say it’s the best way to do it, just a preferred method by those who don’t give a hoot for those “so serious” SEO fools who tend to blow the search indexing criteria way out of proportion to lure you into buying their services. BLAH! Pour me another one please……
OK, lets be real. Nobody on the outside knows every algorithm Google, Bing, MSN, Yahoo etc. etc. etc. uses to index webpages. We get bits and pieces everywhere from people like Googles Matt Cutts, as to what search engines are looking for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Matt Cutts Biggest Fan, but we all need to settle down a bit to better understand just a few key things about how web indexing really works. From there we can use a few basic techniques to assure our webpage(s) will get indexed and how we can maximize and improve those page ranks. My tongue just stuck to the side of my frosty mug…….
What The Hell Is SEO?: Good question, and thanks for asking! SEO obviously stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you know this much just skip these rest of this paragraph and move on. If you want to know a little more, well, keep reading. A long long time ago someone decided to build a library of websites and webpages that people can quickly access by using search phrases, (ie. keywords) to list results of a web search through your favorite search engine, like Google for example. This list, also known as organic search results, ideally shows web pages that are most likely matched to your search query from highest to lowest. The thing with this is that it’s no guarantee your going to get exactly what your looking for at the very 1st position and so on. It might take browsing to page 3 of your search query or beyond to find exactly what your looking for. And then that’s no guarantee. What can you do? Maybe use a better search phrase perhaps? Maybe, but the idea is to make sure we follow a few common techniques to insure we do our best to maximize our webpage results organically so that we can limit the number of search result pages one might have to flip through before finding your webpage for that specific viewer.
W.W.T.K.D.: What Would ThemeKings Do? Well, never top off your mug. No sir, recycling your own spit with semi cold beer can ruin the experience! Get a new icy mug and filler to the top. Let’s move on shall we.
Before we start optimizing our webpages lets make sure we have two things in place;
- robot.txt within our root file
- Meta follow tag within the HTML section of our webpage
Remember, this is basic stuff so I’m not going to go into why it’s important because that’s for complete nerds. Just do it! Sorry, I had a shot of whiskey earlier and I get a little brave when I do shots. OK, here is a little insight as to why we use the robot.txt file and the meta follow tag. The robot.txt file tells web-bots, search spiders, or what ever you choose to call those little rascials whether or not you give them permission to run wild throughout your website and collect information about what your website and webpages are about. One of the many things spiders like to collect is keywords, and the number of times those keywords are used within that page. I’ll go into that more later. Below is an example of how a basic robot.txt file would look like giving permissions to spiders to crawl your website.
User-agent: * Disallow: /
This file should be located within your root file of your server. When spiders visit your website they already, BURP! Excuse me, know where to look for this to check for permission to access and crawl your site. The robot.txt file can be modified to deny crawling of folders, files, and pages if you choose. But that’s a whole subject we might get into later. But for now, this is what’s necessary to grant permission to spiders to crawl and index your website completely.
Secondly the META FOLLOW TAG contained within the HTML section of every webpage should also grant permission to index that page. A basic meta tag to grant permission to do so would look like this;
<meta name="robots" content="all, index, follow"></meta>
What this tag is telling spiders is that it’s ok to INDEX this page, and that they may FOLLOW any links contained within this page. Here’s a nice video by Matt Cutts on how web search works.
To be continued……. Feel free to comment thus far if you so choose.