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  1. Page Title
  2. Meta Tags
  3. Page Heading
  4. Folder Name
  5. Page Content
  6. Page URL

Optimizing Your Web Page

For starters, there are some basic tags that will boost your search engine ranking quickly, with noticable results. These include the <title>, <meta> <h1>, and <h2> html tags. Before you begin, it helps to have a basic understanding of HTML and how to edit a file with a text-editor (ie - Notepad, Homesite, Vim, etc).

Page Title

The title tag is one of the most overlooked ways you can optimize your web site. Google uses the title tag in it's link to your site in the search engine results. By putting your keywords in the title tag, you will gain a higher ranking in Google and other search engines. Title is weighted quite heavily, since it's a short description of the content on the page. You should use your targeted keywords for a specific page in your title tag, being careful not to repeat a word.

For example, if you are targeting "search engine placement" and "search engine optimization" at the same time, don't repeat the words "search engine". Use something that produces the words in the correct order without repeating, like "search engine placement optimization". Try to keep them in the correct order if possible, as your chances are higher when someone searches that phrase; however, if you have to reorder the words it shouldn't penalize you too much in the search engine results.

Page title, as always is an effective use of optimization. Google looks at several factors, and if your page has a title tag with the keywords in it, you are more likely to rank higher.

A good title tag would look something like this:

Code listing:

<title>Search Engine Optimization Placement</title>

Notice we did not repeat any of the keywords words, a very common mistake which could penalize your ranking.

Meta Tags

The most important meta tags are 'keywords' and 'description'. Google, Excite and Lycos ignore these two tags, but Inktomi-based search engines (i.e. Yahoo) place a heavier weighting in their algorithm on meta tags. Use a short and concise description about the page in the 'description' meta tag - one sentence. For 'keywords' tag use about 10-12 keywords maximum. Do not repeat your keywords in this tag, as it will undoubtedly qualify as spamming.

Inktomi uses the 'description' meta tag as the text displayed to describe a site in their search engine results. Google uses an excerpt of the text surrounding the keyword(s) matched on the page as the description of the link in their search engine results.

It's a good idea to customize your meta tags, especially keywords and descriptions, from page to page.

The following are some examples of meta description and keyword tag:

Google Specific Meta Tags

To prevent your page being cached:

Be aware that 'officially' this should not affect your page rank, but it is not recommended SEO practice.

To get your description replaced with the one from DMOZ:

This will return an empty string if your site is not listed on DMOZ

To let google know whether to follow links and/or index the page:

The above two tags are useful in combination with a robots.txt file, for dynamic sites who are having trouble getting listed properly (e.g. overuse of session id's)

Page Heading

The HTML tag "heading" tags are weighted in Google and Inktomi algorithms respective to their numbering. Optimizing the "H1" and "title" tag will give you a quick boost in search engine placements. Again, do not repeat keywords in these tags, as that will be flagged as spam. If you want to have sub-headings underneath the main heading, your best bet is to create a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file that decorates the different heading tags.

For those of you who are not familiar with CSS, I suggest you read the tutorial at ( You can then gain the high rating Google places on the "H1" tag, while having different font sizes and colors, etc. declared in your CSS file.

A semantic heading HTML tag example would be:

Code listing:

<h1>Main Heading</h1>
<h2>Sub Heading</h2>
<h3>Another (third-level) Sub Heading</h3>


And in your stylesheet file define these classes:

Code listing:

<style type="text/css">
h1 { font-size: 18px; color: #000000; }
h2 { font-size: 16px; color: #cccccc; }
h3 { font-size: 14px; color: #cccccc; }


Folder Name

The folder name can also be a factor in ranking of the page, but is more relevant to Image Folder Name|image ranking. It's best not to have too many sub folders, because each sub directory off the main htdocs directory will get a lower PageRank value. However, internal link structure (organizational structure) will have the greatest effect on PageRank distribution within a site.

Consider putting all your html pages at the top level, accept in the case where you have a large informational web site and can take advantage of organizing by groups or folders.

Code listing:

#top level


The further you go into sub folders, the lower the PageRank is on those sub pages, as they are removed from the home page further.

Page Content

The content is also very important, as the search engine spiders will read this content in determining what the topic of yourpage could be about. They don't say "content is king" for no reason. The other factors on this page are good ways to improve your ranking, but if you don't have good content, there's going to be no reason for anyone to stay on your web site.

Do not over use your keywords in your content. One or two times for a big paragraph is more than enough.

Page URL

Lastly, and probably least important in the ranking of an image, is the url of the page. One might consider this factor if they are specifically targeting the images on the page, rather than the content. Regardless, a good url would be something like this:

Code listing:

#without file extension

The url of the page which contains the can also have an influence on the ranking of the page. It's worth considering if you want to rank higher. For example contained contained on the page "page2.html" may not rank as high the same content (and all other things constant), as one which is placed on a page called "whale-pictures.html".

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