From my experience as a web designer and developer, I have seen websites getting designed, developed and launched without Search engine optimization (SEO) considered at all in the process and even if it is ever implemented, search engine optimization is mostly only an after-thought half hearted attempt to make up with the internet marketers’ complaints. If you do not want your newly developed website to get lost on web and banished from the search results, read on.
I have compiled a list of 20 SEO tips for your newly developed or re-developed website launch you just can’t do without! I will further explain each of these tips in separate blog posts later sometime.
SEO Tip #1: Discover the real Keywords
Before doing anything, discover the real Keywords which visitors actually use for searching, it will be great tragedy if you are running in the wrong direction, all your SEO efforts and not just the SEO but also web development efforts will come to nought if you do not what your target audience is searching!
SEO Tip #2: Identify and analyze your competitors
Discover your competitors and analyze what they are doing, if they are at top, they are not there for nothing, and you will get fair idea of real keywords by analyzing them.
SEO Tip #3: Keyword rich URLs and directory structure
Keyword rich URLs but not too deep and of course do not go overboard to make them look like spammy, just organize them logically. Set up a directory structure that makes sense to you and also help to organize logically and programmatically.
SEO Tip #4: Anchor text optimization
Once you have discovered your Keywords and long tail key phrases, go ahead and optimise your links anchor text with these keywords.
SEO Tip #5: Unique title and meta tags
One of the most crucial factor for your web page ranking is their titles and meta tags. Please make sure that your every web page has unique title, meta description and keywords tags.
SEO Tip #6: Optimize your headings with Keywords and use proper heading tags
Optimize your headings and sub headings and use h1, h2, h3, p and li tags in web pages.
SEO Tip #7: Avoid Java script/flash navigation and use CSS based text menus
Use CSS based text links for website navigation.
SEO Tip #8: Optimise files & media names
Optimise linked files and media names. Put alt attributes in images because they still work, so do not over look this and leave them blank.
SEO Tip #9: Optimize content and make it shareable
You must have heard countless times that content is King. To disappoint you, It’s true! and this is why good unique content is Linkable and shareable. Search engine optimized copywriting is one of the most important factors to bring large number of search engine traffic is to target long tail keywords and this is done in the content optimization.
SEO Tip #10: Cross linking/ Contextual Linking
Cross linking or Contextual Links of relevant pages using the relevant Keywords as anchor text
SEO Tip #11: Stay relevant and have volume content
Put up enough volume of content and pages (and optimize them) for any niche you want to rank well, especially for competitive keywords, few pages won’t do the job.
SEO Tip #13: Logical and not too deep directory structure
Keep website directory/url structure as short as possible, do not go too deep but stay logical. Following sample URL shows how you can organize your website structure.
You could program your CMS just like WordPress does to automatically create s SEF links (search engine friendly links) and can fix maximum number of keywords to be used for every landing page.
SEO Tip #14: Set up multiple RSS feeds
Set up multiple RSS feeds to syndicate your content to attract natural back links from other websites.
SEO Tip #15: Set up XML sitemaps
Put up XML sitemaps and do not forget to put standard sitemap web page as well. Submit XML sitemaps to Google using Google webmaster tools and to other search engines to make sure all of your pages could be indexed.
SEO Tip #16: Fix broken links for web pages and images
Run XENU to identify any broken links for images or pages. Keep in mind that broken links and errors can jeopardize your SEO efforts. Find and fix broken links with Google Webmaster Tools from where you can download a excel file listing all the broken links. You may also use free link checker tool Xenu’s Link Sleuth.
SEO Tip #17: Redirect all non-canonical urls to a trailing slashed urls
http://domain.com/category/index.php –> http://domain.com/category/
Try to end your urls with trailing slash ‘/’ rather than at page extension such as ‘.html’, ‘.php’ which only complicate things for future. You do not want to create pages with one extension (html or aspx) and get Google PageRank assigned to them only to change your server technology, say to PHP, after couple of years and risk losing all PR.
Also put 301 redirect in .htaccess for all non-www to www (or vice-versa), whatever you prefer.
SEO Tip #18: 301 redirect for all old internal links
301 redirect to all old internal links to the new corresponding canonical URLs if there was an old website to start with. Also handle Page Not Found (404) errors.
SEO Tip #19: Validate your XHTML/CSS using W3C validation services
Use W3C validation tools to analyze HTML and CSS. Here are the links to the W3C’s XHTML Validation Tool and CSS Validation Tool. Search engines love to crawl semantic mark-up, besides it’s accessible, lighter, efficient codewhich helps in maintenance in the long run.
SEO Tip #20: Add Social Bookmarking
Make it easier for visitors to social bookmark your web pages using social bookmarking widgets.