Over the past few months I’ve been asked time and time again “What steps can I take to perform SEO on my site?”
Generally, I ask about the site they are talking about (all sites need something a little different), have a nice little consultation with the person asking the question and then give them a list of things they may want to do (ideally), what they should do (mid-ground) and the things they need to do (must-do). So under those headings I’ve created a Top 10 list of the most common occurrences that I’ve found.
Must Do – Keep It Simple Stupid
Every site should generally have all the following completed.
Each page should have a UNIQUE title tag – add a keyword/phrase and your company name for good measure. – This is your primary marketing tool on search engines.
Each page should have a UNIQUE description – this should emphasise the main subject on this page – Its your main marketing tool on SERP’s after your Title.
Use a valid STUCTURE to each page – use Heading Tags appropriately … don’t use the H1 tag more than once.
Use ABSOLUTE LINKS for internal linking – a few reasons but I like it for safety reasons, if someone copies your content they copy a link to your site (most people who copy your content are too lazy to realise this link).
Create and Update a SITEMAP – this is in essence an aid, it means search engines can see a list of pages and relevant details about them. (there are a few places that will create sitemaps for free)
Define your URL – www. vs non- www. decide which you want and add a 301-redirect – tutorial.
Be SOCIAL – get yourself on twitter, facebook, myspace, digg etc – link up a little, but more than this just build connections, talk to people ask opinions and build a network. Search Engines love people to be SOCIAL, but don’t spam social sites else they may ban you.
Where possible output to RSS feeds – you can submit these feeds to many sites, increasing your readership vastly.
Use ALT text on images – this attribute means google can index more about your site, meaning again more people can find you, and makes your site more accessible.
Mid – Ground
Still fairly simple stuff here – but requires a little more time, commitment and skill.
CONTENT is king – Give as much detailed info on the page topic as possible – do NOT copy this from another site – be unique.
REPLACE all “click here” links – links should be as descriptive as possible, anchor text is used by search engines and helps with accessibility.
Setup and send regular NEWSLETTERS – e-mail marketing is a fantastic way to reach your audience, encourage sign up and send out a newsletter on a regular basis.
Sign up to Google WEBMASTER tools – this is a nice little bunch of tools – sign up now for these tools.
Sign up for Google ANALYTICS – and any other analytics packages – get Google analytics.
Update your META tags – do this at least once a month until you get the best results possible for your site.
Find LINKS – ask your friends, family and anyone else for a link (or two) then go and ask other people too.
Content DENSITY ratio – this means less coding and more content!
Keywords in the DOMAIN – often this will help your SEO efforts, but only if your content is good.
Avoid FRAMES – they can’t be indexed and there are CSS/AJAX alternatives that are better for search engines and from a usability view-point.
Ideally – Getting Advanced
This is where it can get complicated and it will need real time and effort, as well as skill at a higher level.