Basic SEO Guide For Everyone
Search Engine Optimization is important and you should implement it to make sure the content your write is actually read online. You may hire an SEO firm that may do your job, or buy a book and go through the training yourself. But for basic fundamental requirements this basic SEO guide should get you started.
- Structure your website properly: Make sure your website or blog has properly formatted title tags. Your site should have something like this,
<title>My awesome first page</title>
In this case ‘My awesome first page’ will show up in the search results. Make sure it is simple and relevant. Nobody wants to read about toys when they click a page with the title ‘Iraq War’.
- Use the Description meta tag: The description meta tag is not (usually)shown in your own website but yes, it is shown in the search results. Make sure you keep your snippet around 140 characters and keep some keywords and you are good to go.
<meta name="description" content="put your content here"> in the <head> section.
- Make URLs meaningful : When bots crawl your website they look for beautiful URLs containing keywords. Something like mylovelysite.com/mylittleprettycat is way better than myuglysite.com/p?256
Use mnemonic URLs, keep it around 30 to 40 characters (or more if you need), make it unique, use keywords and your page will do good. These are displayed in the search results.
- Create a simple structure : Ensure that your viewers don’t waste time trying to find out how to find things in your site. Create a simple directory structure. Search engines love it too. While crawling if they crawl a post like say www.theadventuresofmeaowmeaow.com/adventure/theif you can be pretty sure that www.theadventuresofmeaowmeaow.com/adventure is crawled as well. Besides it will be way lot easier for the users to navigate your website.
- Prepare Sitemaps and submit them : All major search engines allow you to submit your sitemaps so that they can be indexed properly. This makes it easier for your tell the engines what to look for and where.
- Have a useful 404 page : Having a 404 page is vital. Proper redirection to it is an added benefit. If you can get a good looking 404 page with may be a search functionality you will be able to keep your bounce rates low.
- Write proper anchor text : Make sure you keep proper anchor text for your hyperlinks. Something like
<a href=”http://www.ohmysomething.com/elite-guards.htm”>Best Elite Guards</a> says enough about Best Elite Guards. Search engines will know what those links lead to.
- Use Internal Links : You should link relevant posts within your website frequently. This enhances the priority search engines attach to the links. Other than that having a fair share of outbound links are also good.
- Use your images properly : Images are not crawled by any search engine. So to make it indirectly “visible” you need to provide the alt and description tags for each and every picture that your upload. Having a separate directory for your media files is also a plus. Use brief but meaningful file names , provide an alt text and if possible a short description as well.
<img src="smiley.gif" alt="Smiley face">
- Submit an Image sitemap : Submit an image sitemap to the search engines. This will help your images come up in the Image search results. Know more about XML Sitemaps here.
- Write proper headings : Headings like <h1>, <h2> etc should be used in your post. But don’t overdo it. Make sure you structure the page in a proper way and stick to it.
- Use robots.txt : Tell search engines not to index some pages. Search engines penalize duplicate content. So category pages in your blog, or archives should be avoided from indexing. Read more about how to configure robots.txt here.
- Use nofollow : Some areas like comments section should not be considered by search engines when considering the ranking or reputation of the page. You never know what links are embedded in your comments. Read more about using rel=”nofollow” in this post.
- Make your site Mobile friendly : Give your site a style that suits mobile user well. Also check if the links are properly working on the mobile site. Having a responsive design is a plus.
- Promote your site (correctly) : Shout to your friends, post in Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Comment on other blogs, get your blog registered in dmoz and other indexing archives. Allow readers to subscribe to you with RSS readers.
- Write quality content : This is the single most important thing that you should keep in mind. You need to write well and primarily for the readers. While writing you need to keep a few things in mind. You need to :
1. Write simple sentences.
2. Write relevant content.
3. Write something out of the ordinary, preferably unique.
This is the single most important part of any basic SEO guide.
Get the Free Google Webmasters Basic SEO Guide here. Also check the basic SEO guide for Bing and Yahoo. Follow this basic SEO guide and let me know how it went. If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with your friends. 🙂