In a perfect world, a search engine would have returned the best answer to the question on the users mind. This is of course a problematic claim.
First of all, can the user really express in his query all his desires? For example, looking for information about printers one may want to find “an ink jet printer from one of the major brands, with an ink cartridge which cost less than 30 dollars and will last for over a 1000 pages”.
In addition one may want to buy this printer from a site that promises free shipping and delivery in 2 days. While some of these functionality may be achieved using the advance search option in google, the common user probably is not aware of this option or lack the skills to use it.
The fact is that in a search for a product 85% to 95% of the people will open “google” (ok, some will use “bing” ) and type in a one or two words, about 30% of them will type a 3 words search term. Not only that, if they don’t find what they are looking in the first or second result pages, most of the users will not continue to the next pages. Instead they will try to rephrase the query.
As a result of the above, a better place in google means a lot of money for a company.
For this reason, many companies invest in SEO – search engine optimization. while no one really knows how the google algorithm really works, there are a few basic conventions about the things you can do to promote your site to a better place in google results pages.
There are several levels to search engine optimization. This article is about the most basic aspect of it, the on-page tags you can use to communicate to google information about your site. When this article was written (many years ago) these tags had substantial effect but a a lot has changed since than. Many developers abused these options and now they hardly have any effect. still it is important to be aware of this in order to avoid making mistakes that can harm your ranking.
First of all, The < Title >:
The Title is without a doubt the most important tag. You should try and insert your keywords in the beginning of it but remember! The content of the Title tag will appear on the upper blue part of the browser window. Therefore, it must be readable for the human reader and to the spiders as well. The title tag length should be maximum 60 characters.
Don’t use words in the title that are not in the body of the page, search engines don’t like that.
Another thing to avoid is using the same title to all your pages; this will make the search engine mistake it for the same page.
The < H1 > and < H2 > tags should be treated the same way. Their content should be very close or even identical to the title. Use your keywords wisely and if the < H1 > or the < H2 > damages the design of your page; change it using css.
Try to avoid the FONT tags that will make your page heavier and will confuse the search engine. For the same reason you should avoid using java script and css in the < head > and use external files instead.
Use your keywords in the middle of the page and in its end. This tactic will help the search engine “understand” that your page is about your keywords. One way to do so is the little menu in the bottom of the page and another way is the anchor title. This way you will earn the points for using your keyword as links as well.
Another important use of keywords should be in your URL and filenames.
Of course, the www.most_important_keyword.com is probably taken; but you can always use www.yourdomain.com/important_keyword.html , apparently it has its effect.
Another way to use filenames is the images on your page. Your logo file name should contain your keywords and you can use it in the Alt tag and in the Title tag of the image.
In the past, Meta tags were the way for the webmaster to communicate with the search engines and explain what their page is about. Over use, misuse and abuse of them lead the search engines to give a very low weight to their content. Some of the search engines ignore them totally but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them as well.
Use the Description Meta tag to explain what your page is about. Use your keyword in it but be careful not to pass 200 characters and not to use keywords that are not in the page itself.
The keywords Meta tag should contain your keywords of course, don’t repeat over and over. However, “survey” and “surveys” are not the same word so you can use each separately.
All other Meta tags probably have no effect.