The internet is a huge and crazy place, and as such, there are several large companies who’s purpose is to make navigating this mass more manageable. The most popular of these providers is Google. As a user, there are several things you can do using Google’s search tools to make your life easier.
Search for an Exact Phrase: “Badass Velociraptor”
Search in a Specific Site: dinosaurs site:en.wikipedia.org
Search for a Definition: define: dinosaur
Search for a List of Products: Click the “Shopping” link on the left panel options
Search for a Specific File Type: list of dinosaurs filetype:pdf How to Include or Ignore Words: If a word is essential, put it in quotes. If you want to subtract a word, -Herbstosaurus (because herbstosaurus are lame)
How to find related pages: related:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dinosaurs
How to replace words with synonyms: ~cool dinosaurs
How to find a specific time for a country: time France (or Pangaea if searching for dinosaur time)
The next question, is as a developer how do you get people who aren’t familiar with these search option to quickly and easily find your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the processes involved in making your website known to modern search engines, such as Google or Bing, and is a crucial part of web development. There are several easy and effective methods to bring your website to the first page of search results.
Meta Data: Meta data is information that is put in the <head> section of a website. It includes things such as titles, descriptions, and keywords. These elements of meta data are the first things that search engine crawlers look at when determining the key content of your website. As such, having direct and appropriate titles and descriptions are very important to a functioning website.
H Tags: One of the most comment elements of web development is Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). CSS is a tool used to have a centralized location for all your design elements, such as text styles. Preset text styles in CSS are called H tags, which range from <h1> to <h6>. Making good use of H tags on your website is another important element of SEO. For example, <h1> tags are the standard for webpage titles, and as such, search engines pay special attention to these. Tags like <h6> on the other hand, commonly represent footers and disclaimers, and is often ignored by SEO.Good Naming Practice and Folder Structure: This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help improve your SEO. Having all your links, images, and folders having clear and concise names that are relevant to the content makes it way easier for crawlers to tell what’s going on.
Site Map: If you have an html page that has your site map on it, it gives the SEO crawlers an easy to read list of the hierarchy of your website. This ensures that pages are not missed by the crawlers, and that all your content is available.
These are the most important elements of search engine optimization. For more detailed and case specific information, see the following article or check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
I hope this article has been useful and informative. For the question of the week, what unique methods do you utilize to get visitors to come to your site, such as having an abundance of easily share-able/link-able content?