SEO Dos and Don’ts You Need to Fix Right Now
Seeing SEO pay off can sometimes be a waiting game, and attempting to master the art of search engine optimization can sometimes prove to be challenging, as the various requirements for achieving top level listings are in a constant state of flux. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true SEO best practices that have stood the test of time and that you can do without much turnaround time, as long as you have access to the back-end of your website. Read on to discover some essential SEO dos and don’ts that will help keep your site immune to any algorithmic smackdowns.
1. Practice good internal linking; this means that you frequently link the pages on your site to one other. No page on your site should be an “orphan” – make sure you have at least one other internal page linking to it. This method will ensure that every page on your site will get crawled and indexed by the search engines. That being said, avoid linking out to every single page of your site from your home page only; mix it up by using other internal pages for linking as well. You want your home page to load quickly, a key factor in search engine rankings.
2. Make sure that you use the “alt” attribute within the “img” tag on all of your images. This is an important usability feature, as browsers are designed to display an alternate text (that’s what “alt” stands for) any time an image doesn’t load on a web page. In addition, use accurate text for your “alt” attributes; in other words, if the image is of an elephant, the alternate text should read “elephant.”
3. Ensure that your site has a good hierarchical structure, with a “tree-like” format or layout. A good rule of thumb: Visitors should be able to get to whatever page they want to find within three clicks or less. This makes it much easier for search engines to properly crawl and index your site, plus it’s much easier for human visitors to navigate.
4. Every page on your site should have a relevant title tag that gives a good description of what that particular page is all about. You should also make good use of the “description” attribute in your meta tags, as this is the text that will show up on your listing in the search engines.
5. Your page URLs should be easy to read and understand. Which URL structure makes more sense to a visitor browsing through the search engine listings:
Option A: http://www.widgetsforsale.com/?pageid=476u883jdhxxehe9wo.php
Option B: http://www.widgetsforsale.com/widgets/red-widgets
Option B is the obvious choice, because it is readable by human beings as well as by search engines. Plus, it can give potential visitors a good idea of what the page is all about before they even click on the link to your page from the search engine.
1. If at all possible, don’t use flash animation on your site. Flash is completely unreadable by search engine spiders.
2. Heavy scripts on your web pages are also a no-no, as they can significantly slow down page load times. WordPress blogs with dozens of resource-consuming plugins can fall under this category as well.
3. Don’t overdo it on the keyword density. In other words, if your web page is all about cheap flights, don’t use the phrase “cheap flights” over and over again in your web page content. This practice is known as “keyword stuffing,” and it used to work back in the early 2000s, but now it is viewed as outright spam by practically all search engines.
4. Similar to the above point, when linking to your site, don’t use the same anchor text over and over again. This creates a redundant and very unnatural-looking backlink profile. When linking to your site from other sites (e.g., blog comments, directories, guest posts, etc.), make sure to vary your anchor text by including variations of your target keywords. For example, if you’re targeting the phrase “cheap flights,” you can vary your anchor text using these phrases:
- inexpensive flights
- discount flights
- cheap airline tickets
- low fare flights
In addition, there’s nothing wrong with using your site’s plain URL as your anchor text for some of your backlinks. Not every backlink has to have keyword-rich anchor text.
5. Don’t neglect to make your website mobile-friendly. Google’s most recent algorithm update, now ominously known as “Mobilegeddon,” gives more weight to websites that will display properly on smartphones and tablets. This is an absolutely critical key to search engine dominance, as a large portion of search queries are coming from mobile devices nowadays, a trend that only looks to continue from here.
Unless you’re a Google engineer, it’s nearly impossible to know all of the different ranking signals that comprise Google’s mind-bogglingly complex search algorithm. You can rest assured, however, that the SEO tips listed above are reliable enough to give you a significant advantage when it comes to your search engine rankings.