2 Best Practices in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Search engine optimization also known by the acronym SEO is comprised of multiple facets. SEO is not alinear process, but rather a holistic evolution involving intricate layers, steps and cumulative stages whichare equally as delicate as they are demanding to perfect. With initiating any SEO campaign, you shouldgive credence to:URL Analysis - Keep in mind following points while doing URL analysis: Plan a logical site hierarchy for your site Keep important content as close to the root folder as possible; no more than three folders deep. Be consistent with URLs Incorporate relevant keywords into URLs where possible Use hyphens as word separators Strive to keep URLs short – they will be remembered more Create static URLs as opposed to long dynamic URLs – as the search engines still have an easier time following static URLs Any time a URL needs to be redirected, make use of a permanent 301 redirect Avoid having a page redirect multiple times Keep the use of URL redirection to a minimum If URLs are long and dynamic consider using URL re-writing to make the URLs cleaner (there are various URL rewriting tools that can be used) Avoid duplicate content with dynamically driven pages/URLs URLs should be in lower case throughout Avoid creating file names/URLs with characters which may be reserved for special use or be unsafe, e.g. # $ %. Avoid extensive use of session IDs as session variables can cause the same page to appear with constantly changing URLs. This runs the risk of getting pages flagged or even penalized for duplicate contentKeywords Analysis - Keywords analysis is the building block to any successful SEO. Exploring thekeywords that the researcher repeatedly searches for is one of the best techniques to do your research.Keyword analysis helps to increase conversions, find new markets, and optimize spend.Tools for analyzing keywords: Google Keywords Tool, Word Tracker, keyworddiscovery.comUnderstanding your competition – A competitor analysis is one very effective method of deconstructingcompetitor’s online marketing strategy to discover how competitors are doing so well.Steps to keep in mind while doing competitor analysis: Selecting the competitors to analyze Analyzing the competitors websites a. On-site (keywords, content) b. Off-site (backlinks, link building strategy) Run Query “site:www.example.com” in Google to check how strong is the rest of the site in relation to the keyterm niche. Website structure - Is the website SEO friendly? Does the site rely on static pages or dynamic content?
3 Competitor rank in the Search Engines - What you can actually do is to select atleast 5 to 10 keywords that your competitors are optimizing and find out how well your they’re doing. Number of incoming links and outbound links What keywords are in the title of linking page % of links containing keywords in the link text PageRank of linking pages Alexa traffic ranking information Quality of Content - Review your competitor’s web contentOptimize Title - The Title and META tags should be different on every page of your website if you wishfor most search engines to store and list them in the search results. keep it under 66 characters andrelevant to the content on the page.Optimize META Tags - META tags are hidden code read only by search engine webcrawlers (also calledspiders). They live within the HEAD section of a web page. There are actually 2 very important METAtags need to worry about: description and keywords.Use Headings - Headings play an important role in organizing information, so be sure to include at leastH1-H3 when assembling your page. Heres a piece of code you can pop into your heading:<style type="text/css"> h1 font-size: 18px; h2 font-size: 16px; h3 font-size: 14px;</style>Use Title and ALT Attributes - Using the Title Attribute is an direct method of telling the search enginesabout the relevance of the link. Its also a W3C standard for making your page accessible to disabledpeople. In other words, blind folks can navigate through your website using a special browser that readsTitle and ALT attributes. Heres how you would use ALT in an IMG tag, the syntax is:<a href="http://www.example.com/" title="SEO Guidelines for Image">SEO for ALT Attributes</a>The ALT Attribute is used for the same reasons as the Title Attribute, but is specifically for describing animage to the search engine and to the visually disabled.Optimize Image - For optimizing image keep in mind following steps: Use a unique, attractive image which can earn natural links from other websites. Just copying an image from another website and optimizing it properly may not help you all that much. Put relevant keywords in the file name of the image. Describe your image via the ALT tag, including relevant keywords. It i best to describe the image with some text around the keyword, to make it look more natural. Create some text surrounding the image which is relevant and contains keywords relevant to the image. Optimize the page containing the image. If your page is well optimized for the targeted keyword, then your image has a better chance of appearing in the search results. For best results, make sure that the targeted keyword appears in the page title tag. Try to acquire quality links, with correct anchor text, both to the image and to the page itself. Use a PNG, JPEG or GIF format.
4 Create an image sitemap and follow all other guidelines and best practices provided by Google for image optimization. Last but not least, share your image on various social media platforms such as Twitter and Flickr, to give them more visibility in Googles eyes.Keywords in Content – For using keywords in content of a page, keep in mind following key terms: Keyword Density - Keyword density refers to the ratio (percentage) of keywords contained within the total number of indexable words within a web page. The preferred keyword density ratio varies from search engine to search engine. Keyword Frequency - Keyword frequency refers to the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page. The theory is that the more times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page, the more relevance a search engine is likely to give the page for a search with those keywords. Keyword Prominence - Keyword prominence refers to how prominent keywords are within a web page. The general recommendation is to place important keywords at, or near, the start of a web page, sentence, TITLE or META tag. Keyword Proximity - Keyword proximity refers to the closeness between two or more keywords. In general, the closer the keywords are, the better.Copy Scape - Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checker for finding copies of your web pages online,as well as two more powerful professional solutions for preventing content theft and content fraudGoogle Webmaster Tool - Google webmaster tool that Google provides for free to help make your sitemore Google-friendly. Google Webmaster Tools allows site owners and webmasters to see how Googleindexes your content and allows site owners to diagnose potential problems that Google may be havingwhen trying to access your site. Google Webmaster Tools requires the upload of an XML sitemap whichhelps Google crawlers index your site content. Webmaster Tools provides information on search queries,internal and external linking inventories, subscriber stats, index stats and more.Google Analytics - Google Analytics (GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailedstatistics about the visitors to a website. The tool can be used to track all the usual site activities: visits,page views, pages per visit, bounce rates and average time on site.XML Sitemaps - Create an XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other searchengines to help them crawl your website better. Create a Text sitemap to have a plain list of all yourpages. Create a ROR sitemap, which is an independant XML format for any search engine. Generate anHTML site map to allow human visitors to easily navigate on your site.Fix Canonical Issues - Canonical Issues occur when a website has the same content appearing onmultiple URLs. Duplicate content can negatively impact your search engine performance. Check yourwebsite at the following URLs:http://www.YOURSITE.comhttp://YOURSITE.comhttp://www.YOURSITE.com/default.aspxhttp://YOURSITE.com/Default.aspx
5If you can view your homepage from each of these URLs, you are hurting your search engine ranking. The Fixes: Canonical Element Link – This is great for fixing a single canonical issue, like a homepage. Just add: <link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/page.html"/> to the head of a page. Setup 301 Redirects via .htaccess – This is a better solution for fixing multiple pages at the same time.Resources : Marketing Jive , Google Webmaster Tool, Google Analytics , Blog