Jul 06

My website cannot be found in search engines - Introduction to SEO part 2

Posted by Tim Bertens on 06/07/2008

What do I need to do to make my website be found easier in search engines?  This introduction to SEO consists of 3 parts that will give you some background information on SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  In part 2 we dig further in some useful tips and tricks

In the first part of this article we looked at some important principles of SEO and how the promotion of your site can support this. Today we'll take a look at how the presentation of your content makes a difference when optimizing your website


  • You have to be aware that some links might lead to a secured part of your website (even if cookies or other mechanisms are used to keep the user logged in for a certain time). These secured web pages cannot visited by a user without a proper login (that's actually why we secured it in the first place) and can thus not indexed by a search engine
  • Dynamic url’s (pages with a ? in the url, eg. http://www.domain.com/product.php?id=4345&lang=nl&mod=1) can make life hard for search engines leading to content that is not searched through. Although most search engines can handle dynamic URL’s nowadays, it's best to keep the URL as simple as possible and to not use any ? at all if technically possible (eg. see the url of this article)


  • Use the ALT-attribute to add a description to each image
  • If you use images for navigation, make sure there's at least 1 text-only link to each page of your website

File formats

  • As mentioned before: simple is the best. Use as much plain html files as possible
  • Most search engines can index most popular formats, for Google that is: pdf, asp, aspx, jsp, html, shtml, xml, cfm, php, doc, xls, ppt, rtf, wks, lwp, wri and swh

Look at your site through the eyes of a webbot

Look at your website in the exact way a webbot does, use a text-based browser (like Lynx or Elinks) and look for any anomalies

Meta data still matters

In the early days of SEO meta data (keywords, description, etc) was crucial. Because everybody was free to put in the meta information whatever they could come up with, these tags were widely abused and the relevance for search engines decreased. Nevertheless since meta info is free you should add to every page.

  • Meta keywords: up to 12 very well chosen words. Don’t forget the singular and plural forms of the word and important synonyms
  • Meta description: describe the page in 1 sentence, reuse keywords in this sentence

Site and page design

  • Use text: Search engines only recognize what was written, so use text (as subtitle to images) for the most important content of links. Use the ALT-property for images
  • Clear navigation: Web pages need to be ordered in a logical and clear hierarchy. Different navigation mechanisms can be used, at least one should be in text-only
  • Sitemap: The most important parts of the website need to be published in a sitemap. If a sitemap contains more than 100 items, split it up.
  • Static text links: Each page has to be accessible through a static text link, a normal ahref and not via javascript, java, flash, etc
  • Each page should contain between 100 and 250 words. If less the search engine will entitle the page as lightweight. More than 250 words is okay, but that's about how much 1 screen can contain (dependent upon the layout and screen resolution) so in this case it can be preferable to split the content in different pages
  • Use the title and h1... h5 tags to stress keywords
  • Put your most important keywords to the top of the text. Search engines tend to give those more words more relevance for the total text
  • Use keywords as much as possible in link tags (a href). Ask webmasters of referring sites to do the same
  • Put your keywords in bold if there's a reasonable excuse to do so

Keyword density

The keyword density of a page the ratio of the keyword compared to the full content of the page. E.g. if a page contains 100 words and has 2 the keyword 'webdesign' in it then the keyword density for webdesign is 2%

  • To really count the keyword density for an important keyword should be at least 5%
  • Although there is not strict rule, it's preferable to restrict the keyword density to 10%. Make sure of course your web page is still readable for normal visitors

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