Seo Web Site Design And Content Guidelines


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Seo Web Site Design And Content Guidelines

  1. 1. SEO Web Design Content, Design and Programming Guidelines for Search Engine Friendly Web Sites Last Revised: 6/06/2008
  2. 2. CONTENT <ul><ul><li>TOPIC Page </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search / Indexing Basics 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Pet Peeves 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Content Guidelines 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Content Guidelines Continued 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Design Guidelines 7 </li></ul><ul><li>Design Guidelines Continued 8 </li></ul><ul><li>Naming Conventions 9 </li></ul><ul><li>HTML Document Head 10 </li></ul><ul><li>Title and Description Tags 11 </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords and Comments Tag 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Alt Tag 13 </li></ul><ul><li>Header Tags 14 </li></ul>
  3. 3. SEARCH / INDEXING BASICS <ul><li>There are thousands of search engines. </li></ul><ul><li>Many only search and index a small subset of the web. </li></ul><ul><li>Most don’t build their own index of websites but instead rely on others. Google, for example, feeds (Time Warner) AOL, Netscape and Earthlink. </li></ul><ul><li>According to April 2009 search engine rankings data released by Hitwise, 98.64% of searches in the US are conducted on the following top four self-indexed search engines sites: Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask. It’s safe to ignore all others. </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines build huge database indices containing all of the text (keywords and keyword phrases) found on individual web pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Ranking algorithms sort and rank the index entries taking into consideration the keywords, their context, frequency, density, prominence, and the age and popularity of a website. </li></ul><ul><li>Popularity refers to the traffic a website receives as well as the number and quality of incoming links. </li></ul>
  4. 4. SEARCH ENGINE PET PEEVES <ul><li>Search engines dislike frames, flash and audio. Limit multimedia. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid over optimization and repetitive content. Avoid affiliate only advertising. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not stack or stuff keywords. Use liberally but make sure the page content still flows naturally. </li></ul><ul><li>Never immediately redirect to another site with the exception of a 301 permanent redirect. </li></ul><ul><li>Never copy / plagiarize from other sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Never use foul, hateful, offensive or racist language. </li></ul><ul><li>Never hide content (for example, white text on white background). </li></ul><ul><li>Never launch mirrored sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Never launch a site with “Coming Soon” or “Under Construction” pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Never launch a site with broken links. </li></ul><ul><li>Check for broken links regularly (at least once a week). </li></ul>
  5. 5. CONTENT GUIDELINES <ul><li>Content is king! Build good, solid, valuable content that people will want to refer to others and come back to. Always view the content of your site from the eyes of a first-time visitor. Think about what they want and need. Give it to them. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your pages as simple as possible while still aesthetically pleasing. Search engines prefer plain black text on white backgrounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Use 1 or (at most) 2 keyword / keyword phrases per page. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the longer form and the plural form of a keyword when possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords and keyword phrases frequently and prominently: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequently means ~3-6 percent of the text on the page should be keywords. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prominently means using text that is large, bold, italicized, and/or bulleted. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prominently means positioning keywords high on the page and to the left. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Never use keywords back-to-back. </li></ul>
  6. 6. CONTENT GUIDELINES Continued <ul><li>Do NOT aim to please search engines. Instead, aim to please your target audience. Make sure the page content flows naturally. Your site will be penalized for perceived keyword stacking or stuffing. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to cultivate link exchanges with authoritative and popular sites in your subject area . When requesting links from others, ask that they use your keywords in their link text. Offer to do the same in return. </li></ul><ul><li>Set keyword context by using keywords at the top, middle and bottom of the page. Make sure the keywords relate to the rest of the content on the page. Don’t, for example, have a page that speaks to search engine optimization that has been optimized for “how to get rich quick”. </li></ul>Last Revised: 2/12/2008
  7. 7. DESIGN GUIDELINES <ul><li>Create a flat directory structure. </li></ul><ul><li>Place robots.txt and favicon.ico files in the root directory. </li></ul><ul><li>Have web analytics in place from Day 1. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a custom 404 error page. Include links to active areas of your site so if folks can’t find the page they’re looking for, they are at least redirected within your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Create custom Google and Yahoo Site Maps. </li></ul><ul><li>Run spell check and clean up your HTML code. Search engine spiders are not nearly as forgiving of HTML errors as are web browsers. Unlike browsers, there is no market pressure to accurately interpret and display the badly written pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not copy and paste from MS Word. </li></ul>
  8. 8. DESIGN GUIDELINES Continued <ul><li>Avoid dynamic pages and the forced use of cookies. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide links to all of your important pages from your main page. </li></ul><ul><li>Google advises that you should place no more than 100 links on a page. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s okay to provide outbound links. Just ask yourself, will my visitors like this? </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an easy to navigate Site Map. Link to it from your Home page. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for a visitor to “Tell A Friend” about your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for a visitor to bookmark your page. An excellent and free tool resides at . </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for a visitor to tweet your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember your mobile and foreign language speaking visitors. </li></ul>
  9. 9. NAMING CONVENTIONS <ul><li>Name files and directories using keywords. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the backslash character (/) when naming directories, for example, </li></ul><ul><li>Use the hyphen character (-) when naming files. Search engines will interpret it as a hyphen and a blank. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not use underscore . It is interpreted as an underscore. For example, if you search for “about search engine optimization” you will find pages using the keyword phrase or named “about search engine optimization” and “about-search-engine-optimization”. You will NOT find content or pages named about_the_main_line_chamber_of_commerce. </li></ul><ul><li>Use link and anchor text containing your keyword phrases. </li></ul><ul><li>Select a single primary site name and redirect all other sites to it. Find instructions here </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>This is the area at the top of a HTML document where introductory information is enclosed including the Title and META tags. Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li><HEAD> <TITLE>My Page Title Here</TITLE> <META name=&quot;description&quot; content=&quot;My description here.&quot;> <META name=&quot;keywords&quot; content=“My keywords&quot;> </HEAD> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure your Title tag is the first tag in the <HEAD> section of your page, followed by the META description tag and the META keywords tag, in that order. </li></ul><ul><li>Unless you are dealing with a recognized brand, do not start title tags with the company name. If you must, include it at the end of the title tag. </li></ul>HTML DOCUMENT HEAD
  11. 11. <ul><li><TITLE> is the most important HTML tag or element in terms of search engine optimization. </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines give the keywords in this tag a lot of importance in their ranking algorithms. </li></ul><ul><li>Many search engines use the <TITLE> tag in the results presented to the user. Your site content and intent better match the keywords in the TITLE tag or searchers will be disappointed. </li></ul><ul><li>The <TITLE> tag should not exceed 70 characters in length. </li></ul><ul><li>If more than one keyword or keyword phrase is being used for the page, the most important one should appear in the <TITLE> tag first. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not repeat the keyword or keyword phrase more than once, separated by something other than a keyword. For example, <TITLE>SEO Help – Your #1 stop for SEO Help</TITLE> is okay. </li></ul><ul><li>The text found in the <DESCRIPTION> tag will be displayed in search results for many engines. The description should be captivating and accurate so you not only rank well, but people actually click on your link when they see it. </li></ul><ul><li>The <DESCRIPTION> tag should not exceed 256 characters in length. </li></ul><ul><li>Clicks to your site are tracked and taken into account the next time the ranking algorithm is run. </li></ul>TITLE and DESCRIPTION TAGS
  12. 12. <ul><li>This tag defines the keywords that apply to your page. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all search engines read this tag (Google does not). </li></ul><ul><li>Engines that do read this tag often do not place as great importance on it as keywords found in other areas of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>You should still include a META keyword tag on your page within the <HEAD> area. </li></ul><ul><li>Separate each keyword or keyword phrase with a comma or space. You don’t need to use both. </li></ul><ul><li>Since none of the major engines are case sensitive, it’s fine to list keywords in lower case only. Avoid repeating keywords, and never list the same keyword twice in a row. </li></ul><ul><li>Limit the tag to 10 to 12 keywords. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use the same keyword tag on multiple pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the keywords in the <KEYWORD> tag also appear at least once in the body text. </li></ul>KEYWORD TAGS
  13. 13. <ul><li>The <IMG> tag is used to insert images into web pages. </li></ul><ul><li>The tag can include the ALT=attribute which is used by programs that interpret the tag to speak the page to visually impaired people. ALT attribute text also appears in the little pop-up box when you hold your mouse over the image for a few seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>ALT tags can be used conservatively to meaningfully populate images with keyword text. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget about users who surf with graphics turned off and your visually impaired visitors. The tag has to remain meaningful to them. </li></ul><ul><li>You can place &quot;comments&quot; on your page that are not visible to users. Comments are often used as reminders to you or anyone else who's working on your Web pages. None of the major engines index comment tags any more. There's no reason to insert keywords in comment tags. </li></ul>Alt and Comment Tags
  14. 14. <ul><li>Header tags usually emphasize or introduce new topics. </li></ul><ul><li>The <H1> thru <H6> tags are used to create a hierarchy of topics for your site. </li></ul><ul><li><H1> is the largest and boldest of the header tags. It should be viewed as the most prominent. </li></ul><ul><li>Some (not all) search engines give extra relevance to keywords found in header tags. Google certainly does. </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords in 1 or 2 header tags. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid “stuffing” keywords into header tags. </li></ul><ul><li>Above all else, avoid confusing the visitor. </li></ul>Header Tags