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    What is SEO?

    There is a lot of snake oil phrases around search engine optimisation (SEO)

    There is a lot of fuss nowadays about search engine optimisation (SEO). Apart from sounding cool and highly complex what is SEO? Well to tell you the truth it is quite simple in fact.

    Lets start with the first part "search engine". Most obvious examples of these are Google Search, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, Yandex and many others. Search engines are in fact web applications that contain information about your site and hence when a user searches for some keywords or phases the search engine can match those against information it has to provide the web user with a link to your site. This gradually brings us to the second part - "optimisation". Optimisation is adaptation of your site to the way a particular search engine works. This therefore increases the chances of correctly matching keywords to pages of your web site and places your website higher on the pages of search results. Luckily most of the Search Engines look for clues described by best practices of HTML.

    So what are the best practices?

    • Proper URL. This is one of the most important things that search engines look for. Do not put codes or strange parameter values. The more human readable the URL is - the better. A good example for a product page would be: http :// The more valuable keywords (such as category and product names) the URL has - the more likely it is to have a better scoring value when indexed by search engines.
    • Providing non-AJAX website version. If you use a lot of dynamic content loading via AJAX this may not be such a good idea for search engines as the process of indexing for many of them happens without support of javascript. Hence if everything is done via ajax all a search engine will "see" are blank pages. So make sure that for every clickable AJAX link you provide a good all fashion full page reload - even if the target page would be "ugly", as long as it has good content it is all good.
    • Giving a good title to your pages. If you have a hierarchy such as category, sub category and then particular product page - then this should come in reverse order: [product name and maybe code] - [sub category] - [category] - [your site domain].
    • Have good keywords and descriptions. Although this topic is quite controversial it is misuse of these attributes by many sites which has many search engines starting to ignore keywords and descriptions. However one thing to point out is that description usually appears in search engine's results - so make it a good one to attract your target audience.

    This list is far from being exhaustive but the points above represent the main things that must be done correctly before anything else is attempted. Anything beyond this in fact would be search engine specific implementations and hence are beyond the scope of this article.