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Seo Best Practices - Need some comments on this document

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by skionxb, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. #1
    Please anyone could particapat in this. I put this SEO best practices as a rough draft. So please give some comments on that. If you feel there are things that need to be added, or corrected, please advice. Let's create the most updated SEO best practices document. So we could share it all! Suggestions, recommendations, corrections are welcome!


    Host on a dedicated server with unique IP address. The biggest advantage of having your own IP is that you will not be banned if someone else is penalized.

    Domain Name
    Domains with Long registration period tend to be respected more by search engines. Get keywords in the domain while keeping it short, memorable, fairly brandable, and free of hyphens. Keywords in the domain name may help some (as people tend to link to web sites using their official names as the link text), but if you are going to create a long-term business, put brand above keyword-rich.

    W3C Compliant Code (HTML/XHTML/CSS Validation)
    A page that is coded to match W3C XHTML standards is simpler for the search engines to parse and ensures all content is readable. Both (HTML/XHTML) and CSS should validate. Make sure the code on the site, in CSS file validates and there is no broken links.

    Final quality control for SEO
    1. Spell Check the site.
    2. Link checker to check all links for errors or unnecessary redirects.
    3. Validation checker to make sure site conforms to W3C standards for HTML and CSS
    4. Browser compatibility to make sure site is visible and functional in major browsers

    Keep File Size Small
    The back button is one of the most used buttons on web browsers. If your file takes a long time to load, you may be kissing your user goodbye before she even gets to see your full hello.

    Flash and SEO
    Search engines struggle to index, navigate, and classify flash. Flash typically offers little descriptive content, so even if engines could index it, most won’t care to. If you would like to know how to SEO flash site, please refer to SEO FLASH Best practices document.

    Another good method to attract more visitors to the site is to build a few minisites which will generate leads.
    Mini Sites are simple (but powerful) one or two page web sites that sell a product, usually, an infoproduct. These are apparently harmless sites. Each minisite must its own unique IP and has links to the main website.

    Browsers can render your HTML code in many different ways. The DOCTYPE of an HTML document tells the browser how you want it to interpret and display your code. The most common DOCTYPES are HTML 4.01 Strict, HTML 4.01 Transitional, XHTML 1.0 Strict and XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
    Style sheets are used to remove as much structural markup from the website as possible while maintaining the same look and feel Style sheets can be used to remove extra images and almost all code used to manipulate the structure of elements on the page. Thus your are increasing the text content ratio between text and html. You could use this tool http://www.holovaty.com/tools/getcontentsize/

    Meta Tags
    Title: The page title tag is one of the most important attributes on the page. Title tag should have length of 70 characters (including spaces) having consideration for alphabetical priority and must contain keywords. Search engines weigh the title of your pages quite heavily in determining relevance, so you’ll want to make sure that each page on your site that you want to show up in search engine results has a unique title incorporating the targeted term for that page. The text within the title tag of a page is one of the most important factors influencing its ranking at major search engines.

    Description: Description tag should have 170 character limits with the consideration that they do not repeat keywords more than 3 times and place most common keywords towards the beginning of the description. The sentences should read well to the human eye since this tag is still used in many search results pages.

    Keywords: Keyword tag should have a maximum of 200 characters. Place most common keywords first. If possible, consider alphabetical priority and here again do not repeat keywords more than 3 times. Meta keywords should be unique for each page you place it on. The keywords tag is also a good place to put common misspellings, synonyms, and alternate versions of a word.

    Body Content
    Ideally, incorporate at least 200 to 250 words on each page so the search engines have enough "meat" to
    determine the theme of the page. Include relevant keywords, particularly near the top of the HTML, as they
    will be weighted more heavily by the search engines. If you artificially write a page stuffed with one keyword or keyword phrase without adding many of the phrases that occur in similar natural documents you may not show up for many of the related searches, and some algorithms may see your document as being less relevant. The key is to write naturally (using various related terms)

    301 redirect
    Ideal search engine friendly way to redirect domains or old URLs is to use 301 redirect using .htaccess that will be placed in the root directory of the site. A 301 redirect is the most efficient and spider/visitor friendly strategy around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache

    SEO killers
    NO Use of Frames,Dublicate content, Invisible Gateway/Doorway pages, Invisible text, Single pixel links, Keyword stuffing, Excessive Javascript, Redirect thru refresh metatags ,long dynamic URLs, Link to a bad neighborhood, Cloaking or page-swapping techniques, Spelling Errors, Mirror pages and sites, Throwaway / Shadow domains, Link Farming, Meta Data forgery.

    Background Imagery
    All background images should be positioned with CSS or if they are solid changed to background colors. Any elements that can be created in CSS instead of imagery should be upgraded.

    Browser Compatibility
    It is extremely important that the website be usable by as many users as possible. This means that the site should appear basically the same in any browser through which it is viewed and navigation and forms should work in all browsers. Tests should be made in all major browsers (resource: browsercam.com).

    Contact Information
    Address and contact information should be HTML.

    Say No to frames
    Sites utilizing frames typically separate the content of the page from the frameset, making it virtually impossible for search engines to find, let alone index and produce, the content of the framed pages in their results. If you have framed pages that you want to optimize for search engines, your best bet is to convert them to standard non-framed pages so that search engines can see what they have to offer for content display them properly.

    Keyword Page optimization
    The goal of keywords is to choose terms that will bring well-targeted traffic to your web site. Each page on your site can be targeted for a few different keyword phrases. Ideally just do about one to two primary phrases and, at most, two to three secondary phrases.

    Directory and File Names (URLs)
    Avoid dynamic URLs; use static URLs. If you must use dynamic URLs, use no more than 2 parameters. To illuminate use of the query strings (?) in url, please use mod_rewrite mode in your .htaccess file. Because many engines and directories index file names and even directory names, it pays to create these using keywords whenever possible. Use at least one keyword phrase in your file/directory names, preferably at the beginning. Don't stuff keywords and keep the names relevant. Use hyphens to separate the words in your file and directory names. Pages with URLs that contain question marks, ampersands, or equal signs don't have as good a chance of getting indexed by the search engines.
    Separate keywords with hyphens "-", not with underscores "_". Don't put more than two or three keywords into a filename
    or directory name, as it could look spammy to the search engines. Google treats hyphenated filenames as separate words, which could towards your ranking position.

    Misspelled Keywords
    Add misspelled keywords to the meta keywords tag. Do not use misspelled keywords in your body copy or page title on sites you want to do well long term as they will look somewhat unprofessional.

    Hyphenated Keywords
    Most search engines treat hyphens as a space. E-mail is different than email. If a word is split in half by a hyphen then you should check to see which version is used more frequently and optimize for whatever versions are commonly searched upon.

    Custom error 404 page
    Offer a custom error page instead, with your logo and branding, navigation, site map, and search box. No matter what the reason for the page's unavailability (e.g., discontinued product, site redesign, file renamed), you shouldn't be driving visitors away with an ugly error page that doesn't provide a path to your home page and other key areas of your site.

    External Java Script
    Particularly for SEO considerations, All JavaScript functions should be stored in a separate external file and linked to from each page in the site within the head section. You’ll be creating an SE-friendly page while also making your markup cleaner and your Web site management easier. Please keep JavaScript functions as uniform as possible. All functions should be listed in the <HEAD>; all function calls should be listed in the <BODY>

    External Style Sheets
    Particularly for SEO considerations, the STYLE tag should be avoided where possible. Style sheets should be externally linked

    Avoid unnecessary tables where possible. Limit your table embedding to a depth of three. Where possible avoid the whole table thing and start using XHTML with div tags and CSS to define position. This makes for a much cleaner design and has the bonus of being easier to manage.

    Using <b>Bold</b>, <strong>Strong</strong>, <i>Italic</i>
    If there is an important phrase in your content, be sure to tag it appropriately. This is good for the user experience—and since you’re telling your users that the words are important, the search engines are likely to think the same way. Use either <b></b> or <strong></strong> to mark up important words on your page. While most people use bold (<b></b>), according to the W3C the correct markup is “strong” for important words.

    CSS Benefits
    There are ways to use CSS and other technologies to do many of the things JavaScript does. Using an external style sheet will keep many of your design elements on a single common page. This prevents pages from looking jagged due to slightly altering layout specifications from one page to the next. In addition, keeping layout code separate from content will decrease page load time.

    Javascript-based pop-ups
    Most search engines don't index Javascript-based pop-ups, so the content within the pop-up will not get indexed. If that's not good enough reason to stop using pop-ups, you should know that people hate them - with a passion. Also consider that untold millions of users have pop-up blockers installed. (The Google Toolbar and Yahoo Companion toolbar are pop-up blockers, too, in case you didn't know.)

    Website Navigation
    Avoid JavaScript navigation whenever possible to create dynamic menus, such as rollovers and drop downs, these type of menus are not Search Engine Friendly and Search engine spiders will not crawl them. If you want to go search engine way, use CSS search engine friendly menus. Use of CSS requires less code, thus increases the text ratio over the code.

    Footer text link navigation
    To make the job easier for the search engine spider it is better to have a footer text link navigation at the bottom of the pages. It is common to have one set of navigation that is used by site visitors and another that is used by search engine spiders.

    Robots Exclusion Standard
    A robots exclusion standard allows to tell any robot (or all of them) that you do not want some of your pages indexed or that you do not want your links followed. You can do this via a Meta tag on the page copy
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow"> or create a robots.txt file that gets placed in the root of your web site. The goal of either of these methods is to tell the robots where NOT to go.
    Robot.txt generator (http://www.123promotion.co.uk/tools/robotstxtgenerator.php)

    Internal linking
    Search algorithms rely heavily on internal linking structures to determine the importance of documents on your site. The pages which you link to most frequently are the pages you are telling search engines are your most important pages. Your links should have a keyword in the link text. Use Descriptive Text in Internal Links, Include key terms within the links that point to a page from other pages on your site.

    Text headings vs. Image Headings
    It is important to know that search engines are not able to view text that is presented as images. Instead of spending all that time creating graphics of words, use real text. They are words, after all. If you must use graphics, consider a form of CSS image replacement; the spider should still be able to access the text of your heading.

    Image Replacement Technique
    This goes to your HTML page.
    <DIV><h1>Hello world! You can put here anything you like</h1></DIV>

    This goes to your CSS file

    DIV {BACKGROUND-IMAGE: url(hello_world.gif); BACKGROUND-REPEAT: no-repeat; HEIGHT: 35px}
    DIV h1 {DISPLAY: none}

    Site Maps
    Makes it easier for search spiders to find all your pages. Also useful for site visitors. This tool includes a categorized list of all the pages on your site. Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
    Google (XML version) and Yahoo (TXT Version) site maps significantly increase the likelihood of all of the content on your site being indexed by these engines. Both goes to the root directory of the site.

    Canonical URLs WWW vs. Non-WWW
    Search engines may index your web site or web pages under multiple URLs if your site or internal linkage data is not structured properly. WWW versus Non-WWW: Make sure you use absolute links and point them at a consistent version of the site. If your site is being indexed under the www version and the non-www version, 301 redirect the less important version of the site at the other location. Some search engines may view site.com and www.site.com as being two different
    URLs. If you split your link popularity amongst both versions, you will have less authority. To prevent both versions from getting indexed, you may want to 301 redirect one version at the other version.

    Link Popularity
    Inbound Links are important for websites that want to move up the rankings. Inbound links, with the right link text, are essential for achieving top rankings.

    Image links vs. Text Links
    Image links are likely not weighted as heavily as text links because they are more susceptible to spam.

    ALT Tags
    Alt tags (alt="") also called image tags as they contain the text that appears when you mouse over an image. Use keywords to describe the image appropriately.

    TITLE Tags
    Title Tags (title="")
    Also called text link tags as they contain the text that appears when you mouse over a text link. Use keywords to describe the link appropriately.

    HEADER Tags H1-H6 (<h1>-<h6>)
    Search engines tend to weigh words placed within page head tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) more heavily than they do general text. Whenever possible, include your target terms within the head tags, especially the h1 tag at the top of your page, to ensure that your pages get maximum search engine exposure. You can use a CSS style sheets to format your head tags so they are consistent with your site design

    SE and Directory Submissions
    Directory submission, Huge boost (DMOZ Directory, Yahoo, Looksmart)

    Inbound links
    Inbound links can greatly increase the search engine rankings of a web site if the links contain the right keywords and if the links come from related web pages.

    Code Validation Broken links validation: Validate all links to all pages on site

    By following this basic outline, you’ve created search engine-friendly pages. Your pages will be easily indexed by the search engine spiders, and, with important words and phrases appropriately tagged, those words will receive proper valuation by the search engines. It is important to know that search engines are not able to view text that is presented as images. The only algorithm an SEO needs to know is: (Quality Content + structure) x exposure x time x links = increased traffic and success
    skionxb, Jul 24, 2006 IP
    bornagaintrader likes this.
  2. cmonline

    cmonline Peon

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    and wow. great post.:)
    cmonline, Aug 2, 2006 IP
  3. hooperman

    hooperman Well-Known Member

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    Hi skionxb,

    I saw that you were asking for comments on your draft, so I had a read through. There's just one or two points that I would change:

    A lot of web publishers use shared hosting. I doubt that one would be penalised for anoher's misdemeanour just because they share IP adresses.
    Plausible, but do you have any evidence of this? I've not seen any.
    There are plenty of non compliant pages out there that rank well, so I'm not sure that this has an impact on seo. I think it's a good idea to make valid pages but for different reasons.
    Spiders don't use browsers, so this is irrelevant. It's a good point though, as users do use different browsers.
    Good practice, but for reasons other than optimisation. This article: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/indexing-limits-where-bots-stop shows that MSN, for example, can index up to 1.1Mb of text.
    Necessary to tell the browser what version of (x)html you've used but no bearing on seo. Important though, just not to a SE.
    I've yet to see proof that search engines are interested in content:code ratios. I don't tink they are.
    What does that mean?
    Put what you want in the description meta tag. It has very little influence now due to the way it's been abused. Although I have found that Yahoo! can still rank pages based on what's in this meta tag.
    Put what you want in the keywords meta tag. It has very little influence now due to the way it's been abused.
    Do what you want with background images, this has no bearing on seo
    This is a good idea, but not related to seo. Again, it's more for the user experience.
    I think this is a good idea, but nothing to do with seo
    The spider needs only one link to follow to a particular destination. You don't need one link for the user and one for the spider.
    The text in alt attributes is incorrectly displayed as a tooltip by IE. Firefox for instance does not display this text.
    hooperman, Aug 2, 2006 IP
  4. skionxb

    skionxb Peon

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    Thank you Hooperman
    skionxb, Aug 2, 2006 IP