Recently I wrote an article on SEO that introduces the essential things a beginner will need to be aware and know about. If you haven't had a chance to look at it, please feel free to take a look. It may worth your time.
The reason for this complete guide is that when I was learning SEO, I am required to flip through many tips and guidelines on the World Wide Web and couldn't really find a complete one that introduce to all these methods of SEO in an article. After a huge amount of research and reading I finally decide to come up with a guide that can help people out there who are learning SEO. This will be a very long guide to cover a lot of things on SEO. Bear with me =)
The sections are split as at below:
1. Understands what search engine spider sees
2. SEO accessible Design for website
3. SEO development for website
4. SEO for webmaster
5. Never for SEO friendly website
This post will be maintained to keep up with the on going changes in the world of SEO.
Understands what search engine spider sees
Before we can start anything about optimizing, it is essential that we understand what the search engine spider can see. These search engine spiders will determine whether they like your website or not which determine whether you are on the indexing or off the indexing of the search engine. Search engine spiders are robots so they will not be able to see what a human can visualize. Thus, it is important to reduce the number of things a search engine spider cannot see and increase the numbers of things a search engine spider can see. Search engine spider is interested to know more about your website and what does your website carries. Therefore, all they see are instruction and texts in your website. Below list the things a search engine spider cannot see and should be avoid or place at the bottom of the page.
1. Image text
SEO accessible Design for website
SEO is all about how to make search engine likes you. However, we must aware that search engines spider do not know how pretty your website can be but how accessible your website is. Designing a website that creates both beauty and accessibility to users and search engine are important part a web designer should be aware of. We must always try to retain the user in your site and allow the search engine spider to crawl out as much information as it could on your website. Therefore, all those free template or web design are off the shelf! Those are not built for SEO in mind and there is a reason why it is free in the first place. But tweaking it here and there might just help you solve this problem.
1. The key point is to load the content first so that the search engine spider will sees what it wants. The least important things such as navigation bar or footer should be placed at the bottom after everything has loaded. In order to do this, you will be required to layout your design in CSS format. This way, you can prioritize your display to the search engine spider!
2. Be aware that these search engine spiders are trying to guess what is important. Thus, do not ever use Image text for beauty purposes unless you are not doing SEO in mind.
3. Provide meaningful image names, title and alt. These are important so that images are accounted for in search engine and makes search engine spider understands what the image is about.
4. It is equally important that the sites you design are up to standard. And the minimum required for search engine spider to crawl and cache up your site is to have workable functionality and display. It is necessary to full validate of HTML and CSS in accordance with W3C guidelines.
SEO development for website
It is important to know what kind of structure is being love by these search engine spiders. If you have developed a structure that doesn't makes SEO friendly, altering or changing them to SEO will squeeze out all the juice you have. It is best to aware this from the beginning than regarding later.
1. One of the good practices you may adopt is naming your URL. Providing a meaningful URL is good when it come to searching on search engine. For example, I have a page which has an URL http://hungred.com/2009/04/02/seo/introduction-seo-search-engine-optimization/ is always better than a URL http://hungred.com/example.php. It provides more keyword for search engine to find you.
- with CSS to create your navigation menu instead!
3. Standard your anchor links! Since we are dealing with robot here, they are instructed to check your linking structure. Instead of linking them as http://www.hungred.com/seo, link them as http://hungred.com/seo/! The reason is because the spider will check in the following way if you link them in the first case.
Since search engine spiders are not instructed to check for with or without www, it will check all possible way of linking it to them. Thus, it is also necessary to tell these search engine spiders how is your page being identify. You can configure this either in your .htaccess or in their webmaster tools.
4. Dynamic pages especially those that contain a question mark in their URL, they are no no to search engine spider! To illustrate this better, if you have 3 URL as follows,
These 3 URL are totally different pages. But if the search engine purges the information after the first offending character, the question mark (?), and the page will all looks like this.
Now you have three duplicate pages and it won't be indexed. Another problem is that dynamic pages do not have meaning words in their URL that makes it difficult for even human to identify what the page really means. It is important to have key words contain in your URL as mention in point 1. There are definitely solutions to this problem and it will require the help of .htaccess which many open source CMS had already applied this technique to make it SEO friendly.
5. Use tag such as
..to tell search engine spider what are the most important phase and keywords in your site. Search engine nowadays are very smart. They are able to identify cheating in certain way. Therefore, placing everything to a
tag will never bring you anywhere. It is best to have a balance of H1, H2 and so on in your site.
6. Utilize Meta data or robots.txt! Unlike open sources where there is community who built SEO friendly tools to optimize SEO, most sites do not have such benefits. Your best bet is to use Meta data or robots.txt and optimize the necessary things you wish to crawl and things you want it to avoid. Search engine spiders do not like duplication content; they penalize you for having those! This is also the reason why we have to instruct search engine spiders not to look at some of the duplicate contents across pages such as navigation bar content.
7. Consider nofollow tag linking outside. This will cause most search engine spider to ignore the link inside the nofollow tag and concentrate on other more important keywords on your site. But this will definitely sacrifice the relationship with other site. Consider carefully.
8. Use external links for scripts and CSS! This is to ensure that both users and search engine spiders do not need to download them every time as it can be kept in their cache if the scripts are placed external!
9. Do not use any hidden links or things that only search engine spiders can see. This will not help your website at all and might even cost you.
10. Name all your files and folder related to your keyword that your site will be building.
11. Any PHP script that malfunctions might cause the rest of the page to stop displaying. If humans can't sees it, robot will never have a better chance in crawling up your contain. It is important to always check the functionality of your page ensuring it is working flawless.
12. Build optimize site. Always compress all your script and images and remove any unnecessary codes and comment so that your site loads faster.
13. It is necessary to inform the search engine spider that your page no longer exist. It is often a mistake to allow search engine spider to assume an error 404 page as a valid page. This will definitely affect the overall quality of your website. Thus, it is necessary to send out correct error code on the header when there is an error on the page.
14. Try as much as possible to keep all style and script tag at the bottom of the page! So that it is not prioritize as important by the search engine spider! ( 13/04/2009)
SEO for webmaster
In order to build a SEO friendly site, webmaster plays a major part in maintaining the site at tip top condition. Since ranking will drop sometimes, it is necessary to keep up to the news of SEO and maintain the site according.
1. The most important for a website is the type of content it contains. It is critical important to write valuable information and useful issues that a user wish to know about your site. Relate your article to the keywords used for the page. Try your best to include the keyword in your site. This way search engine spider will have a higher chance of guessing your keywords
2. Although nowadays search engine spider has programmed smarter to ignore Meta data for information regarding the site. But some engine spiders do look at these Meta tag especiall Yahoo search engine. Therefore, utilizing the Meta keyword and description are important for these engine spiders to check them out if they are unable to understand the content of your page. The description must be around 160 characters to reach optimal.
3. Manually submit sitemap to big website such as google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com and ask.com. But manually submit them ONCE and once only! If you submit more than once, duplication will be the greatest problem hitting your site. On the other hand, use those free submissions for your site. It may help in some kind but most of these search engines took result from these big search engines. You can always create a sitemap easily from online tools available on the internet. It will be a pain to create a sitemap for your site with 100+ pages.
4. Fully utilize the webmaster tools provided by these sites to understand your site indexed situation on their search engine. These webmaster tools make it interesting on how your site has been performing and you might even get addicted to it! Tools such as Google toolbar are a great tool to understand your page rank in Google. The other one will be the webmaster site that most search engines provided
5. It is necessary to link related site across your pages. These help spider to crawl them up as well and increase your chances on being indexed.
6. It is essential to let users know what links they will be clicking. Try to use keywords or meaningful words on the links. For example, instead of using 'click here' try to use words like 'discount details available here!' This helps both users and search engine spiders know what they are.
7. It is best to get links from other site to your site in order to gain permanent referral which is far better than relying on SEO that algorithm may change one day.
8. Search engine spiders are design to act as an author for approving website. Thus, similar to an author who always have to see the same content again and again is pure boring. The best way is to review and update your page with even more interesting and relevant information regularly so that the search engines are updated. On the other hand, users who visit your site also receive such benefit.
9. Analysis the keywords used by your competitor. Fully utilize these keywords and strengthen the contents to involve these keywords for better chances of being indexed on top.
10. There are times when some of your links doesn't work and people who visit your site dislike such things. This is also true for search engine spiders. Thus, it is important to always check for broken link so that you do not get penalize for this.
11.Provide social network links for your visitors to know more about you such as Facebook and Myspace. Provide options for them to bookmark your article in many other web application available.
12. It is difficult for many starting website to attract traffics even with the help of SEO. Thus, it is best to increase your chance by getting recommended by web directories. Here is a list of directories you can submit.
NEVER for SEO friendly website
There are things that a SEO friendly website shall never do. These are the unethical techniques that were used by the black hat SEO which were practice previously. They can get you ban in popular search engine such as Google, MSN, Yahoo or Ask. Once it is ban, you might not ever see your site on these popular search engines again. But you may request for reconsideration from these search engine after all of these practices have been eliminated. However, Search engines kept records for those who had been ban from their services. The chances of seeing your website on their search engine again will be very low.
1. Do not perform links farms that create multiple links to your site to raise your page rank by any unethical means. In particular, avoid links to web spammers on the web.
2. Do not try to perform cloaking! Cloaking is to deceive users or present different content to search engines than you display to users. Build for users not for search engines.
4. Do not load page with irrelevant keywords in order to attract traffics.
5. Don't create pages with malicious behavior, such as installing viruses, Trojans, or other badware.
6. Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate search engines Terms of Service.
This guide provides all the necessary things you should know for any SEO friendly site. Honestly, having your site being indexed and mature takes longer than just building a SEO friendly site. The keywords to achieve results is consistently update and upgrade your site for the latest SEO trend on World Wide Web. Lastly, if you guys have any thing to update on this post feel free to give me some feedback on improving the overall guideline.