Search engine optimization begins with design, content and the structure of a website. So let's start with some basics, before we go into any details.
Guidelines for Design and Content
- Create a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one other page using text links.
- Provide a sitemap with text links. This sitemap leads to the most important parts of your web and lists all subpages. If there are more than 50 to 60 text links, consider to divide the sitemap and split it into several areas.
- Create user-friendly pages which contain only information about the topic. Give all pages titles which describe the content accurately. Use semantically correct HTML elements.
- Use words and phrases where you are sure or can at least assume that users search on search engines for exactly that too. Avoid using too many foreign words.
- Try to use text instead of graphics and images. Search engines do not see the text contained in graphics. If you use images, provide them with Alt-and title-text. Use meaningful descriptions.
- Make sure each page uses valid HTML code. Invalid code may search engines prevent to see any content on your page.
- Open your pages with tools such as Lynxviewer. This is exactely how search engines will see your page.
- Make sure search engines can access your pages without a session ID. Most CMS and eCommerce systems offer settings for this.
- Use a robots.txt file if you want to exclude certain pages or entire directories from beeing indexed by search engines.
- Test your website intensely in all available browsers.
- Avoid by all means hidden or invisible text or links.
- Create pages for your visitors and not for search engines. Do the latter and you may have a large number of visitors but they also leave your pages immediately, because they could not find what they actually were searching for.
- Do not create pages or subdomains with duplicate content.
- Do not use keywords and descriptions when they have nothing to do with the actual content of your page.
- Try to write each page so that it is a complete document.