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20 Rules for SEO

20 Rules for SEO

1. Setup a Google Webmaster Central account to monitor your site’s robots crawl status, HTTP errors, search keyword traffic, indexed pages, back-links and many more diagnostic & information tools. Google provides this at no cost to you.

2. To appear higher in Google’s organic search results, the foremost thing you should do is to remove spider traps, like long URL’s, too much JavaScript, Flash or other rich media on your pages and improper URL redirects. Check your site if it is clearly mapped out for Google (Yahoo!, MSN etc) to get your site indexed easily. You may want to use content lists, like categories or a sitemap too.

3. The file name of the webpage plays a small role in improving the search engine relevance. Using short keywords in the file name not only helps identifying the page content but also improves page relevance for the term. Therefore, it is better to name a page like – http://www.datamouse.biz/blog/wordpress/is-your-site-chrome-compatible/62/ rather than http://www.datamouse.biz/blog/wordpress/Page?page=62. Also, make sure you use hyphens ‘-’ between keywords instead of underscores ‘_’. Google considers hyphen as a space and underscores as a merged single word.

4. Avoid using subdomains unless absolutely necessary as search engines often treat them as a separate domain and limit the pass-through of the trust value of your main site to it.

5. Make sure to mention your geographical information like your real world address on your pages. This information should be included in HTML so that the spiders can read and distinguish it. Modern bots are looking for area codes, zip codes and city names to assist their Search Engine users in locating stores and services near their location. This will provide you a competitive advantage when someone searches for your business.

6. If for some reason, you have no option other than using flash, there is something called Macromedia SDK that helps search engines to understand what the page (or website) is about as it helps the bots to crawl through the flash page. You may also want to add more keyword rich content in ‹NOEMBED› tags.

7. Don’t just rely on a single way, for Search Engines to index your website. Most importantly, you must put link to new pages on your site map. Update your Google site map every time you add a new page. If there’s a corresponding page on your site that you can use to link to the new page, do so. Don’t forget to mention your new page on your blog. In case of blogs, ping Google, Yahoo, technorati, etc every time you post a blog.

8. It always helps your ranking to have a keyword in your domain name, given that you have strong internal and external linking for the same keyword. If you have useful content on your website, people will link to your website using your domain name as anchor text (which carries your keyword), so your ranking for that keyword will improve. But even if you don’t have a keyword in your domain name, there’s no need to worry as the off page factors contribute to rankings. For e.g. consider Adobe, it is the top result out of 3 billion results for the keyword phrase “click here”. This is because of the off-page factors, and not owing to presence (or absence) of “click here” in Adobe’s domain name.

9. You must pay attention while writing the title and description for your website. Your page may only be ranking number 5 or 6 on Search Engines, but if you’ve taken enough time to create an enticing title and description for all your pages, you may still manage to earn the same CTR as the one sitting on the number one spot. Similarly, a website ranking number one for a keyword might have a poor CTR if the webmaster hasn’t put in enough thought while writing the website’s title and description.

10. Anchor text is one of the best places to insert your keyword phrases. Go through your website and look for phrases like ‘Click here for a quote’, ‘Click here for more information’ etc. Suppose ‘Click here for a mortgage loan quote’ or ‘Click here for more Denver coffee shop information’. But make sure the entire sentence is a link or if not, at least make the keyword phrase a link.

11. If you are serious about doing a long term online business, don’t engage yourself in black hat SEO practices. Even though they can give you short term Search Engine advantage but will hurt you badly in long term:

  • Don’t use hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don’t employ cloaking or lightning fast java redirects.
  • Don’t load up your pages with irrelevant words.
  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

12. At SMX, all of the engineers from all the search engines made a statement that 301 redirect will not carry the full effect if the content of the redirecting website is topically not the same. We should avoid redirecting our website to a site which is topically irrelevant to our website. For e.g. if you are planning to redirect (301) your website about cars, then you should not redirect it to a website selling watches. An inappropriate redirect will not lead to any benefit to your website.

13. Dumping new content on your website in one go is not such a good idea from the search engine’s point of view. Make sure that you consistently add new posts and articles on a regular basis. This will not only increase the bot crawl frequency of your website, but will also result in frequent repeated traffic.

14. For an optimized body copy, it is extremely important for a website to not only have the most important keywords, but it must also read well naturally. Modern search engines use artificial intelligence (called Latent Symentic Indexing), that is a measure of how well the supporting content and text match to the theme of the website. So there is no point of wasting your time on keyword stuffing anymore; instead you must look to refine the content as much as possible.

15. Did you know that on May 12, Google announced a preview release of Google Friend Connect, a service that helps website owners to grow traffic by enabling any site on the web to easily provide social features for its visitors. Google Friend Connect lets you grow traffic by easily adding social features to your website. With just a few snippets of code, you get more people engaging more deeply with your site. It helps you to attract more visitors, enrich your site with social features and the best part is that you need no programming skills whatsoever to use Friend Connect on your site.

16. If you want to make sure that Search Engines index each and every link on your website, you may want to add a link to your sitemap on every important new page that you create on your website. This not only improves the Search Engine Indexing but also also consolidates the internal linking of your website.

17. Followed by the red carpet seomoz Web 2.0 awards 2008 was the ‘.0′ update from Google when Google decided to deindex the seomoz web 2.0 award page just because the URL of the page ended up with a ‘.0′. The page earlier used to rank number one for semoz web 2.0 awards but as the back link weightage shifted from ‘web2.0/’ to ‘web 2.0′, Google picked up the latter and decided to unindex it as Google internally uses ‘.0′ extensions to recognize the files they don’t want to follow. So here is a new way how you can hide your pages from Google – simply end up the URL with ‘.0′. It works.

18. When your search engine rankings fluctuate, or even if your site drops from the rankings, don’t panic. Understand that these things happen in this industry, and they WILL happen to you. What you DON’T want to do is make any changes to your web pages because of fluctuations in the rankings or because your site drops out of the rankings. Step back and wait to see what happens- monitor your rankings, watch the industry and read the news. In all likelihood, your pages will reappear right back where they should be (or close to those rankings), if you haven’t done anything wrong (such as using spam). Fluctuations in rankings are normal. Far too many people panic in the short term, when they would be wiser to just take it easy and not start making changes so quickly.

19. While you are optimizing a page for a specific phrase, think about why a searcher used that specific phrase. If you are optimizing a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page, are you delivering your most frequently asked questions? Think of the circumstances that might lead an individual to search for certain specific phrases like:
“infant pillow support” (Would this attract parents of newborn babies?)
“Meaning of babies names” (Would this attract “soon to be” parents?)

20. Discover Your Competitors: It’s a fact that search engines analyze incoming links to your website as part of their ranking criteria. Knowing how many incoming links your competitors have will give you a fantastic edge. Of course, you still have to discover your competitors before you can analyze them.

DM

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