Chapter 19. SEO and SEF

In this chapter, we’re going to give you a crash course in making your site optimum for search engines. It may appear to require some kind of web voodoo to make your site easy for search engines to love, but it isn’t. While search engines like Google have their own “secret sauce” in the way they rank results, and this chapter won’t go into every little detail of this wide field, most everyone would agree these approaches will give you a solid start.

What Is SEO and SEF?

Both SEO (search engine optimization) and SEF (search engine–friendly) URLs are keys to identifying and classifying your content. Following are a few key points.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the art of making your site optimized for search engines, as well as a critical element in helping people find you. We say “art” because it’s the practice of fine-tuning specific things combined with factors you often have no control over. Search engine bots crawl websites daily and analyze their content—assigning importance to certain parts and less importance to others. They do this based on a number of factors:

  • Page structure—does your page structure represent your information structure? There should only be one H1 tag and the other header tags should accurately represent how your content is presented.

  • Good metadata; see Keywords and Metadata for some tips.

  • Descriptive page titles—do your pages use descriptive page titles in the <title></title> tags?

  • Search engine friendly–URLs; see the next section for ...

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