SEO Tutorial

How to optimize website for search engines?

In this detailed tutorial I tried to summarize the most important aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), bring together some useful links to free tools and services which are available online. I’m glad to share my knowledge and experience in online marketing with website owners and other web designers.

I hope these guidelines will help you better understand the functionality and importance of search engines in modern web technology, as well as provide you with information on how to collaborate with search engines effectively in order to make your website more successful in World Wide Web.

Today, the way that people look for information has changed. People make a quick search on the web to find the desired links, references, products and services. It is a lot of information out there and search engines were designed to minimize the search time and help people find exactly what they are looking for online.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of improving the visibility of the website in search engine results, it makes the website and its information more easily found by internet users. Website optimization is an important factor for a business' online presence and its success.

You can perform optimization as you create a new website, and it is never too late to optimize an existing website. The SEO process and techniques will be the same in both cases.

If you don’t have a website yet, before starting your design, think about:
 — general purpose of your new website
 — website content
 — website architecture

Next, look through online sources, try to find websites similar to yours and see what other people have done. This short research will give you new ideas on how to make your website different and unique.

Then, start a keywords search for your website.


1-word keywords (ex. electronics, graphics) help bring traffic to your website.
2- or 3-word phrases (ex. electronics repair, graphic design services) are more precise and describe your services or products better. These key phrases usually bring more real customers.

Work on your keywords:

  1. First, make a long list of about 20-50 keywords in Excel. Ask other people to give you ideas about words they would use for your product search. Combine the words you have into 2-3 word phrases.

  2. Spy on your competitors to get more word ideas from their websites.

  3. Use online tools for keywords suggestion:
    Google AdWords Tool
    Bing Toolbox
    Word Tracker
    The Keyword Finder

  4. Include a place in your list of words, in order to specify your location (Chicago, Toronto, Markham)

  5. Keep most commonly misspelled words in your list as well.

  6. The website should have 15-20 keywords or phrases, so it’s time to make your list of keywords shorter by choosing the best of them. The best means words (phrases) with high Keyword Efficiency Index (KEI). Evaluate your keywords using these web services: - this tool is not free

  7. Your web page content must be informative and keyword optimized

Website Architecture

Try to organize your content in categories and then start to create web pages. The more pages in your website, the more visible your website will be for search engines. Website architecture and the number of web pages usually depend on the amount of keywords (key phrases) that will be used.

For example, if you are creating a website for an Interior Design Business, here are samples of 5 key phrases that would explain the company services:
 — residential interior design
 — commercial projects
 — space planning
 — color scheme consultation
 — furniture and room decoration

If you try to place all these phrases into one text block, it will be difficult, and will confuse your visitors. This will not look natural for search engines either. It is better to create separate pages and optimize each page for its own keyword or phrase, you can choose a maximum of two or three keywords per page.

Place the most important pages in the root directory of your site.

Create good quality website content to please both people and search engines, but people should be your priority.

Constantly, add more pages to the website: publish news, new offers, articles and etc. All changes and updates are considered by search engines as development and may increase the website ranking.

Website Ranking

Publish your website online and check your website ranking for your keywords.

Here are free web services for ranking check:

Or, you can use paid web analyses software like IBP, Rank Tracker and other.

Probably your first website ranking result will not be great. However by employing the proven SEO techniques listed in this tutorial your website can achieve a higher ranking of major search engines when specific keywords or phrases are entered in the search field.

SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes two main components:

 — on-page optimization is a process of editing web page elements (such as text, images, menus, etc.) in order to assist search engines find, read and index your web pages

 — off-page optimization is a process of building links between other websites and social network in purpose to get better online reputation and status for your website

Their mission is to help search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing and others) find, evaluate your website and determine its rank and position on search engine results page. The higher position on result page will provide more traffic to your website.

On-page optimization

First, check if search engines can find your website or web pages.

Open any popular search engine (Google, Yahoo or other) and type in the search field site:

Then you can see how search engine displays your website (how many pages search engine shows).

If your website is not found, you have to submit it to search engines. This means you have to invite search engine robots (crawlers, spiders) to your website. Robot is a small program that travels following links on web sites and collects information for search engine database.

  • Open any popular search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and type add URL, then find link "Submit Your Site" and follow the next steps and instructions.
  • You need to submit Home (Index) page only.
  • Usually it takes 5 weeks or more until robots (crawlers, spiders) will visit your website.

Make your website Search Engine Friendly

  1. Use good, reliable hosting company which has fast server that never down. Remember, users will leave your web page if the loading process takes more than 7 seconds.

  2. Images usually slow down the loading process. You have to minimize the number of images on your page and optimize all images and graphics to the web by reducing image resolution to 72dpi.

  3. Keep in mind that search engines cannot read text trapped in images. Text which is embedded in an image, like any image or graphic element is a dot matrix data, is not real text.
    • So if search engine cannot compare query words within a graphic and therefore cannot index the web page content properly, it can hurt your website ranking.
    • Using an image instead of text increases web page loading time.
    • Moreover, it will make your web pages content not flexible for updates and edits.

    If you want to make your headings or body text fancy, do not use graphics elements for that. Google offers a big collection of fancy fonts which is now available online.

  4. Each image must have <alt> attribute which provides alternative text information about the picture and can be used by search engines. Alternative text in <alt> attribute will be displayed if the user’s browser fails to download the image. Add keywords in alt attribute if they are related to the picture.

  5. Minimize using JavaScript, Flash and Frames on your web pages.

    Frames allow presenting multiple HTML documents in one browser window. The problem is that all these HTML pages have the same URL. It will make it harder for a search engine to crawl and evaluate the framed web pages. Some search engines just ignore them. However if you need to use frames in your website (for news, TV programs and other), you will have to create web pages with <noframes> tags.

    Flash is good for creating small, nice graphic animation on websites, but if you place some text or links inside this animation search engine cannot read it properly, and your keyword-reach content will be useless and bring no result for your website ranking.

    Search engine robots are now able to read JavaScript code on web pages, but sometimes it slows them down. You can use JavaScript, just don’t put large JavaScript codes on your web pages. All massive JavaScript codes should be located in separate external files and connected to your web page through the <script> tag in <head> section of HTML code.

    Example: <script type="text/javascript" src="javascriptcode.js"></script>

    Also it is not recommended to use JavaScript and Flash for menus and other navigation elements of your website. Replace them with CSS which is more search engine friendly.

  6. Keyword density is the percentage of a particular keyword contained within the total number of words in text block:

     — if keyword density is low, search engines may overlook your web pages or consider them as unimportant

     — if your web pages are keyword-stuffed, search engines may penalize your website and exclude it from its index.

    There is no strict rule or optimal keyword density percentage. Google recommends the range of 2-5% keyword density, but keyword density is not a ranking factor. Just vary and include your keywords and phrases appropriately, so your text content sounds natural and make sense. Also you can check how many keywords your competitors are using in their websites.
    With these free tools you can analyze keywords density of any website
  7. Each web page should have clear and informative URL, like, instead of,

    It is easy to fix, if your web pages are static. Just change name of the HTML file. If your website is connected to a database that creates URLs automatically, you will need a specialist who will fix this problem for you by rewriting these dynamic URLs.

  8. All pages in your website must link to each other. Create as many internal links as possible between pages. Linking pages to each other makes it easier for a robot (crawler) to visit all of them.

  9. Avoid using image as a link, keep in mind that robots cannot read text inside the image. Text links will work better for search engines than image or graphic links. If you need to use images as a link, place short description for the image in <alt> attribute.

  10. Your menu links and anchor text should contain keywords related to the linked page or paragraph.

  11. Try to keep your navigation clear and logical. If your site contains a lot of information, create sub-directories. Just remember that website architecture should be simple and not more than 2-3 sub-levels.

  12. Check and fix broken links regularly.
    For your links validation use this web tool Link Checker

  13. Each web page must have a <title> tag in the <head> section of HTML code. It is the most important SEO factor. It will be displayed in Search Engines Result Pages (SERP) and tells your users what the topic of this page is.

    • Title should briefly describe the page content. The recommended length is 65 characters, including spaces.
    • Place keywords at the beginning of the title.
    • You can use these separators in your title: hyphen (–), comma (,) or
      pipe sign (|).
    • Do not use the same title for different pages of your website; each page should have a unique title.
    • Home page title usually includes business name, location or other important information that can grab users’ attention.

  14. Each web page must have description meta tag which gives users and search engines a short summary of what your page is about. It has no effect on ranking, but can increase traffic to your website. Description meta tag is placed within the <head> section of the HTML code.

    Example: <meta name="description" content="..." ⁄>

    • The length of description meta tag should be 155 characters (including spaces).
    • Create a unique meta description for each page of your website. It helps people to find the right web page quickly.
    • Don’t copy the page content into the description meta tag.

    If you want to make your description looks more attractive on search engine result page, use rich snippets.

    snippets examples
    For more information regarding rich snippets, please visit the links below:
  15. Since 2009, keywords meta tags have not been used by Google and any other major search engines. This meta tag has no value for search engines anymore and doesn’t have any effect on your website ranking.

  16. Put important headlines in <h1> and <h2> tags and add the best keywords into your headings.

  17. Use bold and italic fonts to highlight keywords in your webpage content.

  18. Create a Sitemap for your website. A sitemap is a full list of website pages with the links to them. Sitemap could be either HTML or XML file.
    More info about sitemaps you can find here:

    You can create a Sitemap manually or use some online tools and services. List of sitemap generators:

    Online services to generate a sitemap: - for any website - for WordPress sites
    Next, submit your sitemap page to search engines. Each search engine will provide you with special instructions how to submit your sitemap.

    To submit your sitemap to Google, Yahoo and Bing, use their Webmaster Tools: - for Google - for Yahoo and Bing

  19. Remove the Intro (Splash) page from your website. Intro pages are not very informative and sometimes irritating to watch some useless animation until finally the ENTER button appears on the page. It is a waste of time. Most users try to skip intro (if possible), some users may leave your website. Search engines don’t like the Intro pages either.

  20. Avoid any of these risky techniques for the purpose of tricking search engines:

    • using invisible or hidden text (like white text on white background) on your web pages
    • using <div> with negative x and y coordinates in order to keep text or keywords outside the visible area of the page
    • cloaking and sneaky redirects are tricky SEO techniques where the content presented to search engines is not the same that is presented to internet users

    Current search engines can detect these tactics easily and your site will be penalized.

  21. Avoid duplicate content. Google Penguin penalizes websites for plagiarism and duplicating identical or similar blocks of text within one site or across multiple domains. And it makes sense, because Google wants to provide relevant and diverse information for internet users.
    For more information, visit this link:

    This free tool helps find internal duplicate content, broken links and other useful information within your site:

    You can check external duplicate content (across different websites) here:
    If you discover that your content duplicated by other website without your permission you should act quickly:

    • First, contact the website owner (if the site has contact information) and ask to remove the copied materials. You can use service to find out the owner’s contact information and their hosting provider.
    • Second, contact the company which host this website, to inform them about duplicate content issue.
    • Additionally, you can ask Google and other search engines to remove the offending site from internet search by filing the content removal request under Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
    • For more information visit this link:

  22. Correct HTML and CSS code errors, before publishing your website online. Make sure you validate all your web pages.
    Here are free validators:
    for validation of HTML, XHTML and other

    for validation of HTML with CSS or CSS code only
    If you are using Adobe Dreamweaver for your website design, you can validate your web page there. Dreamweaver CS4 and earlier versions contain their own build-in validation tool (which is not very accurate). Latest versions CS5.5 and CS6 are using online W3C validator.
    There are 2 ways to open Dreamweaver validator:
    Window > Results > W3C validation
    File > Validate > Validate Current Document (W3C)
  23. If your website contains a number of pages with sensitive information or pages that you want to hide, you must create a robot.txt file. The robot.txt file will keep all crawlers (robots, spiders) away from these pages. However robot.txt file cannot fully protect the sensitive information on your website, because malware robots will ignore your robot.txt file.
    More information and examples of robot.txt files you can find here:
    For full protection, all private data must be encrypted.

  24. Keep your website content updated and fresh. Users want to see latest, most recent information online. Renew your web pages content regularly if you want to improve your website ranking.

Off-page optimization

Off-page SEO is online marketing which includes research and building relationship between relevant websites. Basically it is the process of building external links and takes place outside of your website.

It includes building external links. There are 2 types of the links:
 — Outbound is a link from your web page to another website.
 — Inbound or backlink is any link that points from another site to your web page.

Search engines determine a website’s quality by analyzing the backlinks.

Google has continued to renew their algorithm in order to provide users the best online search results. Their recent update (2012) Penguin focuses on off-page optimization aspects such as number of backlinks, their quality, relevance and diversity.

 — If lots of sites point to your web pages, search engines consider your website is useful for internet users and place your web pages on higher position in their search result pages. It makes your site more visible online.

 — Quality of backlinks depends on website reputation and popularity. If you are going to exchange your links, make sure that your backlink will be published on a page with good ranking (3 or higher).

 — Valuable backlink is a link from relevant site.

 — Backlinks from different sources (different domains) increase domain diversity SEO factor.

Remember that quality of links is much more important than their quantity, and backlink building is a constant, on-going process.

Potential partners for backlinks building

  1. Try to get backlinks from a diverse range of websites, but keep in mind the relevance SEO factor. When you post information about your business on blogs, social media, press release websites, professional forums and local business directories do not forget to place a link to your web pages.

    Twitter and Facebook are the most popular networks where people share, discuss and exchange information and ideas.

    On Social Bookmaking sites (,, and others) you can bookmark web pages and share them with other people, these bookmarks will work as backlinks.
    Here is the list of some popular free blogs where you can publish your posts and articles:
    Best of the Web Blogs
  2. People may link to your website if you have some important or interesting information.

    Here are a few ideas how to improve website popularity and attract internet searchers:

     — First of all, offer users good quality and well-organized web content.

     — If you are selling products, create a products catalogue, provide full information and products reviews.

     — Write tutorials and How-To advises, create glossary of terms, place some history facts, research documents related to your industry, run webinars because a lot of people using internet for educational purposes.

     — Offer your visitors FREE stuff, such as: free photos, images, icons; scripts, tools, plug-ins for web developers; free widgets and more

     — Place videos and funny images

     — Create quizzes or online games

     — Add a blog page to your website

    If people stay on your website longer, it gives a signal to search engines that your web content is valuable and your web pages deserve higher ranking.

    Just remember, don’t mix them all together (your products, tutorials, free games); always keep in mind the real purpose of your web site.

  3. Ask your partners, suppliers and customers to place a link to your website.

  4. Check backlinks your competitors have. Companies or individuals who link to your competitors could become your partners too. These online tools can help you to collect backlinks data from any website:
    Majestic SEO
    Open Site Explorer
  5. Buying links is another way to get backlinks. Paid links could increase traffic to your website. But buying links in purpose to manipulate page rank or website ranking in search engine results is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, it is risky practice. Google will detect and disable or ignore the paid links.

  6. Avoid using FREE-of-ALL (FFA) link farms. These links are low quality and will be ignored by search engines. Employing of FFA web directories just increases the amount of spam sent to your e-mail address.
    More information about FREE-of-ALL link farms:
  7. Add the <nofollow> tag to all your paid links, sponsored links, blog roll comments or links to not-fully-trusted websites. The <nofollow> tag tells search engines to bypass the particular links during indexing and ranking process.

    Example of <nofollow> tags:
    - for individual link
    <a href= rel="nofollow">Website Name</a>

    - for all links on web page
    <meta name="robots" content="nofollow" ⁄>

    The backlinks quality depends on quality and popularity of your partners’ websites. So when you have a list of potential partners, evaluate their websites and select only the best for your links building campaign.

Evaluate quality of partners’ websites

Mostly, you have to pay attention to these SEO factors:

  • website ranking, should be not less than 3 (Google, Yahoo, Alexa ranking)
  • site is considered valuable if it has backlinks from government (.gov) and educational (.edu) domains
  • relevance of backlinks
  • backlinks domain diversity
  • age of domain name (older domains usually get more trust in search engines algorithm and have a higher rank)

Whois.domaintools will help you to find additional information about websites: age of domain, hosting company, owner name, contact information and more.

Next step - Start building the relationships with your potential online partners. If you are sending them e-mails or making phone calls, keep your records to avoid contacting the same person twice by mistake.

Additional Tips

You cannot see results of your website optimization immediately, usually it takes 3 months.

Never consider that your website is completely done.

If you want to attract more visitors and make more sales, then you should:

  • update your web content constantly
  • continue the backlinks building
  • adapt your web pages to search engines algorithm updates

Check your website ranking regularly.

Set up and use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to monitor and manage all SEO aspects related to your website online presence.

For fast and effective results use paid SEO software tools that designed to automate huge part of routine SEO work. These useful instruments help to create reports, sort, analyse data and save your research time.

iBusinessPromoter (IBP)
SEO PowerSuite
SEO Studio
SEO Administrator

Good luck.