We all wonder how to build our website for maximum search engine optimization. To do it well, we have to start with the basics. There are many things that developers do automatically. Developers today build websites to be consistent with WWW Consortium (W3C standards). Anyway let’s take a close look what we need to know from the start.
The basics of SEO are creating unique and accurate page titles and proper use of description meta tag - What does that mean? – Let me explain in two parts.
We have to indicate page titles by using <title> tag. A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is so we should keep it in mind. Ideally, we should create a unique title for each page on our site. If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results. It is also important to use brief but descriptive titles. Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, search engine will show only a portion of it in the search result.
A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about.Whereas a page's title may be a few words or a phrase, a page's description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a even a short paragraph. Description meta tags are important because a user might use them as snippets for your pages. Therefore, we should create unique descriptions for each page on our site.
After meta data next step improve our SEO is to improve our site structure. The more clear is the site structure the better SEO we get.
If we create descriptive categories and filenames for the content on our website, it will not only help to keep our site more organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engine bots. URLs with many unrecognizable signs and numbers make it difficult for users to recite the URL from memory or type a link to it.Some users might link to your page using the URL of that page as the anchor text. If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would. We also have to remember that our URL is displayed as part of search result.
The way a website is created can keep users on the site or can tend to reduce the time they stay. The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want.You should think about how visitors will go from a home page to a page containing more specific content. Another important thing is that we should allow for the possibility of a part of the URL being removed. For example: https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Web_Consortium. If we remove “World_Wide_Web_Consortium”, it will redirect us to the home page instead of displaying the familiar search error: 404 (“page not found” ). As a result, it keeps user on the website. Even if the page is not found, the 404 page not found display can be made informative. Having a custom 404 page that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. A website’s 404 page should probably have a link back to your home page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site or provide a contact number and email. We should also put an HTML site map page on our site, and use an XML Sitemap file. Creating an XML Sitemap file for your site helps ensure that search engines find the pages on a site.
For sure, our content has to be interesting because creating compelling and useful content will likely increase traffic to a website more than any of the other factors discussed here, but let’s focus more on the technical aspect of the design.
1. Differences in users' understanding of your topic
We should think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know the topic better can make more complex queries to search for it then people who are new to it.
2. Content structure
-Text in the anchors provide information about a page. We should keep them short but descriptive as much as we can.
-When using images on your site, we should also use brief but descriptive filenames and alt text like for many other parts of page targeted for optimization. When we use an image as a link, we have to supply it with alt text. It helps the searcher understand more about a web page in the search results.
-We have to use heading tags appropriately. It means we have to use them to help users understand something about the type of content underneath the heading text. This helps users to navigate through the site. Too many heading tags can make a site unreadable.
What to do with Crawlers
If we have user-generated content on the site, such as a forum, blog etc. , we should control links made by users. Many of these can lead to sites that a searcher may consider as spammy, so that can affect the reputation of a website. It’s good idea to automatically add “nofollow” to comment columns and message boards. Another thing is to restrict crawling where it’s not needed with robots.txt. A "robots.txt" file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl, parts of a site as the website administrator may not want certain pages of a site crawled because they might not be useful to users if found in a search engine's results.
SEO for Mobile Phones (Google)
Sometimes, Googlebot may not be able to find our site. In that case, we have to create a mobile sitemap and submit it to Google. To prevent the situation where Googlebot may not be able to access our site, the developer can insert “SetEnvIf User-Agent "Googlebot-Mobile" allow_ua” to allow it to visit our site. To properly prepare a site for mobile search, remember that you can switch content based on User-agent.
Here are some tricks that will improve a site’s search results:
- Use hyphens (-) between words to improve readability.
- Do not use underscores (_) in URLs, use hyphens (-) instead.
- Do not use a session id in URLs. If you are using good hosting, then you shouldn’t have to worry about this one.
- Avoid using capital letters in URLs. Windows servers are case sensitive. Keep them lowercase so there’s no confusion.
- Use internal linking when possible and appropriate.
- Have a category description paragraph.
- Let visitors subscribe to category specific RSS feed. (Use category specific RSS plugin for WordPress)
- Use rel=”nofollow” tag on low value links to not pass the page rank juice. For example “Read the rest of the entry”, “About”, “Contact” etc.
- Use sub-directories rather than sub-domains when possible. Sub-domains do not share link love from the main domain as it is treated as a different domain.
- Keep the content up to date. Visitors don’t like outdated content. Updating the content frequently also attracts the Search engines’ spiders to index the web pages frequently.
- Use social media to help boost SEO
- Sites with videos get better page ranks in Google compared to plain, static text content.