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  • Website Optimization

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is based upon making your blog accessible to search engines to gather information to store in their database, and to help users search for information related to your blog. Remember, SEO means helping search engines and helping users find the information they need when using a search engine, thus encouraging them to visit your website when it appears in the search results.

    You can put your do-it-yourself search engine optimization techniques to work on your entire website, but it helps to start with one web page to clean up the core optimization problems, so we’ll start there. When you find consistent and redundant errors, then you can fix them throughout your website or blog.

    So, the goal is to help search engine crawlers move through your website collecting information to be stored in the search engine’s database. The key to your blog’s data making it successfully into a search engine’s database is to:

    1. Make sure there are no road blocks in the path of a search engine crawler.
    2. Make sure the crawler can move through your blog, examining all your web pages.
    3. Provide adequate keywords and key phrases which clearly help categorize your content.
    4. Provide clearly labeled tags and categories recognized by tagging service crawlers and many search engines today.
    5. Take advantage of pinging services.

    What is not in this list is anything that has to do with advertising. I want to be clear on this. Search engine optimization is about making your website easily accessible by search engines, it is not about how to make money with your website. Yes, SEO practices can help you make money on your blog, but only because it is lovely underneath the hood to both search engines and users, not because your ads work better. That’s a different subject known as e-commerce, search marketing or website analytics. A lot of people think SEO is e-commerce but it isn’t. Related but not the same. We’ll be focusing on your blog’s relationship with search engines and how this helps you to have a better blog.

    Let’s look at each of these points to help you understand the benefits and how to do-it-yourself.

    No Road Blocks: A road block for a search engine crawler moving through a website is any element that confuses, distracts, or stops a search engine crawler or spider from moving through your site. Examples of road blocks include HTML/XHMTL errors, lack of connecting and navigational links, lack of text, a table-based design, 404 page not found errors or other dead or moved links, and bad Apache .htaccess or robots.txt files.

    It is critical to ensure all such errors and road blocks are fixed. To put it simply, this means you need to test, test, and test your web pages!!

    This is not as complicated as it appears. If you are using WordPress, put your WordPress Theme through a couple validation tests to make sure it works right. While Theme designers do test their designs, double check their work to make sure the Theme validates both with HTML/XHTML, CSS, and Accessibility Standards. If you tweak your Theme, run it through the testers and validators again. Make sure that all the template files work right and meet web standards and then you are ready to go.

    With a solidly functioning and error free Theme, the only place you can screw up your WordPress blog is in the content area. Most people only post text in the Write Post panel, leaving all the design elements outside of the content. But headings, bold, italic, and links are still tags that can have problems.

    Hey, mistakes happen. Links are left open. A link, blockquote or other tag is messed up or not closed. Headings aren’t closed. Or an image is too big or small and pushing things around. A DIV or HTML tag might be closed when it wasn’t opened, which closes another tag early, causing all kinds of problems. There are a lot of things that will mess up your blog that can occur within your content area created with the Write Post panel, but these are human error things. Careless mistakes easily caught.

    The solution is easy. Before you click the Publish button, preview your post.

    If you are using an older version of WordPress, you can get the same live preview by typing in your blog URL with the post number in a new tab or window such as The post number appears in the Write Post Panel address bar after you have hit Save and Continue Editing. Using this method in all versions of WordPress, you can actually test your post with any web validator if you find you have problems and can’t track down the culprit easily.

    A quick glance can usually catch most harmful errors. The sidebar is gone, pushed down, or borked. The whole text is a giant link. A graphic or photograph is too large or small. All are easily fixed from within the Write Post panel.

    Those without WordPress’s features should check your design and layout template files thoroughly, and then frequently test your published pages with validators to make sure you continue to keep the template files in good shape.

    Make these tests and checks of your blog a part of your regular maintenance schedule. It’s critical to do semi-annual website maintenance to keep your blog performing well and ready for search engines to visit.

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