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Cascade Tutorials

Search Engine Optimization in Cascade

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the idea of improving your site so that it works better with the search engines and in turn helps to generate more traffic from the search engines. This term is separate from SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which deals more with online advertising.

Keywords / Metadata

Search engines use keywords to determine what content is on your site. Be very careful and specific when choosing keywords. Usually 6 to 10 keywords is ideal, and should consist of key phrases, rather than single words. A good way to select effective keywords is to think of what people would type into the search engines to find their information. It is possible to get blacklisted from the search engine (DON'T DO IT) if you try to overload you site with non-sensible keywords (adding keywords in areas where that don't belong trying to trick the search engines).

You should Always use specific key phrases for each page of your site. Those key phrases together should describe the specific page of your site not just your site in general. For instance, let's say you had a site that sold Schwinn bicycles in Edwardsville Illinois. I would maybe have the following 'general' key phrases for all my site pages: Edwardsville Illinois Schwinn bicycles, Schwinn bicycles in Edwardsville Illinois, Schwinn bicycles for sale, Buying a Schwinn in Edwardsville. Let's say I had a page on my site that discussed the history of Schwinn bicycles I might add the key phrase 'Schwinn History' for that particular page in addition to my general key phrases. This will distinguish that page from the rest of my other site pages. Be sure to incorporate those key phrases into your page content.

These key words and phrases should be added to the "keywords" field which is found in the Inline Metadata section. This area can be accessed by clicking the 'Edit' tab and editing the content within the 'keywords' field (located in the Inline Metadata section).

Title

It is important to use the same concept of specific key phrases when titling each of your web pages. Be specific and try to use some of the keywords that have been chosen for your site, or more importantly for that specific page. This is one of the most important SEO practices.

This should be added to the 'Title' field which is found in the Inline Metadata section. This area can be accessed by clicking the 'Edit' tab then editing the content within the 'Title' field (located in the Inline Metadata section).

Make sure all of your pages have a unique Title similar to the following:

Web Management - Accessibility Tutorials

The 'Display Name' field should also include some or all of the content from the text that is in the gray bar on your page and preferably the first <h2> tag on your page. The more descriptive your display name, the more likely you are to show up high on the list within search engines.

Descriptions

In addition, write a brief summary of the web page with those keywords/phrases in mind. This content should be added to the 'Description' field which is found in the Inline Metadata section. A good description of this page might be:

This tutorial takes you through the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) steps for making your Cascade web pages more search engine friendly.

Images

Search engines cannot "see" images on your site so it is important that all your images have 'alternate' text to describe them. The textual name assigned to the image is seen by the search engines, and can essentially act as another keyword/phrase. The alternate text should go in the 'Alternate Text' field found by right clicking the image and selecting the 'Insert/edit image' property. An image of a bicycle in your shop might be:

Schwinn Bicycle in Dave's Shop

Writing for the Web

Headings and subheadings are important for two reasons. First, it improves the appearance of the web page and makes the page easier to read by organizing the information into small, logical blocks of information. Second, subheadings help search engine spiders further understand web page content and recognize the most important information on the page. Effective use of subheadings can greatly improve the searchability of a web page.

For more on writing for the web and understanding how users read online, check out ' Writing for the Web'.

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