The article has been edited a bit. Some obvious (‘n glaring to this ex-copy editor) grammar faults. Required an edit.
I work a lot with WordPress on this blog and when developing websites for clients making SEO (search engine optimization) an important part of the process. New websites need to be ranked quickly especially for companies and small businesses without the brand name recognition or a Nike, Levis or Gap. When you look for the big guys their brand name ending with a dot com gets you there quickly. Mostly. But us minnows need all the help we can get to (a) get in and (b) get a position as high as we can.
Isn’t good SEO complicated?
I tell my clients that good SEO ain’t rocket science. Or quantum mechanics. But getting it right the first time is just as important as mistakes do more harm than good. However like all science theories, SEO has thousands of opinions. Many patently false. Like the importance of links. From experience the only links that really work is where links on your website that point to another website need to have a reciprocal link back.My previous company, Indax, linked to client sites via its online portfolio. Each entry included a reciprocal link back to Indax via the web developer credit.
But there plenty of developers who believe link farms are the way to boost rankings. These farms work in the short term. But if your website is blacklisted by a search engine, believe me, the route back in is really hard. Grovelling is the least of your worries.
My definitive starter comes from Google. But each ‘engine has its own. Microsoft’s Bing has its own guidelines; except I couldn’t find an official and public content on Bing’s own site. There are third-party sites with Bing-specific tips and tricks. Do be careful though as some tipsters are actually selling SEO services. I’m sure there’s a definitive guides for Yahoo too. But who uses Yahoo any more?
eMusings’ rules for good SEO structure
- Make sure your website code (aka its HTML programming) is web-standards compliant. If you’re unsure, the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3.org) – the web standards body – offers a free online validator.
- Make sure your post/page has a descriptive title that explains what the focus content is about. Your page title can be different from the page name (like in this post as I’m testing what makes for good SEO)
- Just because engines like Google ignore keyword tags doesn’t mean you don’t add a few relevant (keywords) to both website in general and page/post in focus as Bing and Yahoo still index keyword tags (I think)
- Include a short, sweet and focused meta description – the two-line descriptor displayed under your URL in search results
Doing the Open Directory dance
Including your website in the Open Directory definitely improves a website’s page rank; especially on Yahoo and Bing. But submitting your URL comes much later. First you have to find the most important (aka primary) category you want to be found under. Then you prepare your submission request. Then you wait until a human editor (not so thick on the ground any more) reviews your request before your website actually appears in the Directory. Be patient: there will be be many false starts before you succeed. eMusings has been online for over a decade but it took me 2 years of repeat submissions before my persistence paid off!
Other things we forget
Don’t forget to submit your URL to the Big Three engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). This is a step so simple and yet most business owners forget building it doesn’t mean anyone will come. Don’t forget tools like Google Webmaster (includes Sitemaps) and Google Analytics as well as similar services offered by other search engines. It also helps to also publicize via social media like Facebook and Twitter (good reason to tweet).
Remember this post is not THE word on SEO. It’s part of a test I’m running to see if I can tweak the way I post to improve my website rankings 🙂
And do be careful of Google AdWords (I haven’t tried any other ad services as I find them distracting). When I used Adwords I often included content critical of Google. I was then politely warned to cease and desist forthwith. Except AdWords lost to my opinions.