If you think you can just build a website and expect it to perform well you can think again. Getting a website to the top of search results is every marketing managers goal. Im going to run through five key points that will put you in good stead to getting the results your site deserves. SEO is often percieved as a dark art. If you start out well and get the basics done the quality of your content should speak for itself. However if you have a great, optimised site but your content isn’t up to scratch, your site’s not going to top the search engine results.
It’s important to workout your page structure and a hierarchy of elements. Once your page structure is determined you can go ahead and use the header tags where necessary to allow the search engines know which content is important. Usually text should be put in ‘p’ tags with titles or headers being expressed in h1 h2 h3 h4 h5 h6 tags. There are six levels of headings in HTML with h1 being the most important and h6 the least.
A much disputed topic. In particular the ‘keyword’ tag where you can put tags or ‘keywords’ describing your page or site content. Google recently spoke out about how they no longer take into account a pages keywords as it’s an inaccurate way to determine quality content. I won’t hurt to leave any keywords in your page, but just be aware that search engines no longer rate it.
The meta description tag is intented to be a brief and concise summary of your page’s content. If you provide a meta description within your page it will be used as description that apears in search results. You can see an example below for a Google search of ‘papermashup’.
Have a sitemap
In the Meta tags image above you can see the sub-links below my result in Google. These sub-links are created because I have the sitemap plugin for wordpress which automatically creates an XML file with links to all my posts which are given priority by a percentage. You can see my sitemap.xml file here. Then using the Google Webmaster Tools you can submit your sitemap.xml file which will then be indexed giving Google a better view of the structure of your sites pages.
Title and Alt tags
It goes without saying a picture paints a thousand words. Unless your a search engine. I’m sure one day google will have an algorithm that will rate your page not just on your HTML text but also images that accompany your page. For the meantime however we still need to add ALT and TITLE tags to images, not just for SEO purposes but also for accessibility and screen readers.
Link building is all about who links to your site and who you’re linking to. For example if a lot of websites in the web design industry link back to my site over time my posts will start popping up more regularly in google searches. I know this works because after submitting my posts to a few well known sites my traffic from search engines jumped through the roof. On average 48% of my traffic a month comes from search engines. If i had any advice for link building within web development it would be submit your blog posts to community news sites like Dzone.com scriptandstyle.com and noupe.com