SEO best practices: a refresher
There are some standard SEO practices to be followed when optimizing your website for e search engines. Knowing about the potential impact of these SEO practices is useful in prioritizing the tasks. So, here, we present a list of some of the most common and simple – yet extremely important- factors to consider when doing SEO of your website.
For many active SEO professionals, this may just be a refresher; for those starting out or online marketers at small businesses who prefer to do SEO themselves, we hope these tips will be useful. (While search engine algorithms consider hundreds of factors in determining relevance of a page to match a query, these are some of the factors SEO professionals have much more control of).
Coding & Other Technical Factors
Choose a reliable hosting provider
The hosting provider should be reliable and the servers shouldn’t take too long to respond. If the website is unavailable very often, search engines wouldn’t give much importance and consequently users too will not be able to access it.
Maximise/ optimize site speed
Google has confirmed that loading speed (speed at which a page is loaded) is an important ranking factor. Your visitors too would like a site which loads fast.
Have only one version of a URL. For eg. if you have URL versions www.myshop.com and myshop.com, and Google has indexed both, Google may consider it as duplication of content. So it is better to have either www.myshop.com or myshop.com.
Ensure integrity of code
Engage markup validation services and make sure there are no coding errors (or more realistically, minimal coding errors) on your pages, so that it is easy for search engines to crawl the page
Also, check for CSS errors with a markup validator. It makes the job easy for search engines.
Keyword Usage Factors
Get target keyword in the URL
Try having the keyword in the URL for category pages, product pages, service pages etc. It helps search engines in identifying the page and ranking better.
Add keywords in the title tag
Write attractive titles with your keywords in it, preferably right at the beginning. Keep in mind that title is the first thing searchers see in the search results.
Use multiple variants of keyword in anchor text
Link to your landing pages from other pages using keyword variants. While previously the theory was to use the same anchor text to link to a page, that thinking has changed in recent times as it tends to create a rather unnatural link profile. Most SEO experts now agree that having different versions of the keyword phrase as the anchor text is the way to go.
Insert keywords in H1 text, Alt text and Body text
Have keywords in your H1 tags (headings)- while the value of keywords in header tags is not what it was a few years ago, it is still good practice to do so. It is as much about user friendliness as it is about achieving high rankings.
Alt text Having better alt text (with product features and benefits) for your images helps you rank higher in image searches.
Body text- Use your keywords wisely in the body text. Besides inserting them at the beginning of the content, use it at appropriate places such that keyword usage doesn’t seem contrived and affects the quality of the content. .
Write concise meta descriptions
Have something a searcher would like to see as meta description for every page. While meta descriptions are no longer considered a ranking factor and hence not really a SEO factor per se, they could be quite influential in generating clickthroughs from search engine results pages (SERPs). And ultimately that’s what a SEO marketer wants, isn’t it?
Create unique, good quality and fresh content
Reams could be written only on the topic of content, but follow this basic rule: make your content as unique, fresh and usefu as possible. Show the best of it ‘Above the fold’- Google really likes it.
Build link popularity ie. increase quantity and quality of inbound links
Try to acquire backlinks from good and somehow-related places in a manner that seems natural to search engines. It helps you in reach, earning respect and ranking as well.
Take care of internal linking
Have appropriate internal links with anchor texts; never overdo. It helps both search engines and visitors to move around easily.
Get rid of broken links
Search engines crawl the links they find on a page. So check your site from time to time and make sure there are no broken links.
Naveen Kodapully is a SEM Manager, responsible for managing both organic and paid-for search engine marketing campaigns for clients, with On Target Marketing Solutions, a Mumbai SEO company.