What is SEO

Business Description

We urge all members to review their listing and send us a profile or description that tells visitors what products you sell or services you provide. Adding this information to your listing page will add a lot of value to your listing, make your listing easier to find for visitor searches and give you better backlinks to your websites. You can email this to us or use the Listing Update Form provided under the Member Tab on the website. We can add a photo of your business if you send one as well.

We have seen many changes in website design practices over the last 10 years and we have seen many new designers enter the market place in recent times.  One thing that hasn't changed is the requirement for good search engine rankings. Without good rankings, especially in Google, a website is not easily found by searchers therefore limiting its success and usefulness. While implementation of good SEO design practice wasn't that critical in the early days, it is now and we have seen new sites published by other designers of late and are somewhat dismayed at the lack of implementation of basic SEO principles in some of these designs.

For unwary site owners, this can mean paying good money for a website that has inbuilt design barriers that limit potential for Google indexing.  What may look good on the surface might have design omissions or worse still, use design practices like frames and iframes (inline frames) that can cause real problems for Google spiders.  To assist those site owners, we would like to provide some basic information on how to check your site for these barriers to proper indexing.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of improving ranking in search engine results (search engine placement).  SEO seeks to improve the quantity and quality of visitor traffic to your website from "organic" search engines like (versus SEM – search engine marketing which deals with gaining traffic through paid advertising e.g. banners and Google Adwords).

In this series of articles, we will focus on SEO and organic rankings and leave paid SEM for another series.

In simple terms, SEO practice involves an assessment of how search engines like Google work, what people are searching for and then making changes to a website to increase its relevance for the particular search term (keyword) and ensure that the website can be indexed "crawled" by search engine software known as "spiders"

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that come into play in SEO and the most difficult one is how search engines work. We have a basic understanding of the factors that they use in ranking websites through our membership of Jerry West's SEO Revolution but how these factors are rated in their "algorithms" is kept in absolute secrecy.

The main factors that Google uses in their search ranking process are broken down into on-page factors and off page factors.

The most important on-page factors are:

  • Page structure and content – is it visible to Google spiders?  Page content can be blocked inadvertently via a robots.txt file or content may not be available due to the use of frames or have content embedded via the use of an "iframe" or Flash files.  It is hard enough to get rankings, why make it harder due to poor design practice or a lack of knowledge?
  • DTD Statement – page code should have this Document Type declaration to indicate what coding standard has been used in developing the site.
  • Content Type – metatag to assign the character set used in the page design
  • Page metatags – "Title" – the title tag is the most important metatag in your page design code.  This tag is used by most search engines and is usually returned as the title of the Google search result.  There are specific recommended parameters for this code to maximise vlaue in Google indexing.
  • Page Metagtags – "Description" – this is the 2nd most important tag and assist in where to place a site in the index.   The description is also usually returned in the Google search results as the text description.
  • Page Metatags – "Keywords" – this tag is not used in ranking factors by Google due to past abuse, however it is still used by Yahoo and Bing and therefore should be included in your page design.

The DTD Statement is included at the top of the page code and Metatag information in the HEAD section of the page code which is not visible to visitors.  There are other metatags but these are not important for SEO purposes.

As they are not visible, most website owners do not know whether they have been included to properly enable Google to crawl and spider your website.

If you have a website, I strongly recommend that you check that these codes are included in your design.  You can do simple checks by:

  1. Go to your home page and select View >> View Source from your browser menu.  The top of your page should look something like:

    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">
    <html xmlns="">
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
    <title>Your Website Title.</title>
    <meta name="description" content="Your website description.">
    <meta name="keywords" content="your website keywrods separated by commas.">

    There is likely that to be additional lines between the <head> and </head> codes but they are not that important for SEO purposes.


  2. Use an online checkers that will simulate Google spider software and metatag analyszers.  Visit this site and check your website to see if it has been designed correctly for Google

We have also added an online tool here to make it easier to check your site:

  Spider Simulator Tool © SEO Chat™

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If you are having trouble checking your site, we can undertake a free analysis for you – just send an email to Allan on

Stay tuned for Part 2 – we will look at the other important on page factors (and we might even do a quick site analysis on a couple of other new Websites in Gympie).


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