SEO Tips

Optimising Pages - how to show your relevance

This article is based around optimising Actinic ecommerce sites, but the principles are relevant to web sites general.

Actinic ecommerce products are designed to self-optimise out of the box, provided you follow a few basic principles. The most important page elements for SEO are also accessible through the user interface; so that if you wish, you can change the settings that Actinic creates by default.

In Actinic, each Section of the site catalogue is a page, so optimisation centres around the Sections. Generally people search and navigate in similar ways, so provided your catalogue hierarchy is structured and sections are named according to the ways people search for your products, your pages will perform well in search.

If you do want to optimise your Actinic pages manually, this is how to change the key elements:

  1. The Title is the single most important element of the page. In the HTML this is the text between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags. Actinic uses the Section Name as the page Title, but you can easliy override this and enter your own title for any page via the 'Page Settings' tab of the 'Section Details':

    Enter Page Name and Title
  2. Secondly, make sure the key phrase you are optimising for is worked naturally into the text of the page at least three or four times. Use it in product names and / or descriptions. In Actinic you can also use Fragments to add additional descriptive paragraphs anywhere you like in pages that contain products:

  3. The page Name is important in optimising for Bing, less so for Google. In Actinic it can be changed in the same place as the Title. Decide on a sensible name when you first add the page and don't change it later, or you will lose your rankings for that page.
  4. Search engines place greater emphasis on emphasised text. This includes headings (enclosed in <h1>, <h2> or <h3> tags in the code), and text in bold or italic. Actinic automatically emphasises Section and Product names, and also the titles of Fragments (snippets of information that can include text, images and links).
  5. It's important to add a Meta Description tag for your page. This is hard for software to do automatically because it needs to be a plain english description of the content of the page, so you will need to to it yourself. Search engines will normally use this description in their listings if it contains the keywords being searched for. It won't help your rankings much, but it will increase the clickthroughs from the search page to your site.

    In Actinic you can add a Description in the 'Details' tab of the 'Section Details':

    Meta Keywords and Description
  6. You can add Meta Keywords if you really want to - in Actinic, you do this in the same place as the Description. Google ignores them completely, but some other search engines may use them.
  7. The one crucial thing that neither Actinic nor any other site generation tool can do for you is to build a network of good quality inbound links to your site. Without such links, your pages will never rank well in search. So make sure you read and digest the link building article as well.
  8. What Google most loves is links that contain the key words or key phrase in the clickable text. For this reason it is much better to use text links than images for your site navigation. If you are using one of Actinic's built-in themes, choose one that uses plain text in the menus.