10 SEO Tips to Remember While Launching a Site: Search Engine Journal

1.) Move JavaScript and CSS Off Page

Moving CSS and JS files off the page does two things. First, it creates cleaner code that is more easily managed. More importantly though, it frees up space that engines consider to be prime real estate. Let’s say a spider lends preferential treatment to content that appears in the first 20KB of a document. If 15KB at the start of your document is verbose JavaScript and CSS coding, you have created an uphill battle from the start…

2.) Code Validity is Key

Always make sure that the final code of your pages can fully validate according to W3C standards. Failure to validate could create accessibility issues — and the engines simply dislike that. They want to push their users out to complete sites that work for everyone.

3.) Browsable Navigation Links

Encapsulating links to internal pages in Flash or JavaScript is dangerous. While some engines can often find links from inside of these coding blocks, it is not guaranteed. Therefore, it is wise to always have an HTML compliant navigational structure. Examples include footer text links, a DHTML menu, etc.

4.) Use a Structured Content Hierarchy

A theme based approach to optimization is the most successful one. Imagine all of the content on your web site to mimic a family tree. Each layer down, there’s more content that fits the overall theme. By nature, the further you drill down — the more specific your content becomes.

5.) URL Construction & Query String URLs

Query strings in URLs are less of a problem today than they once were. Unfortunately, they can still create issues for some engines — and it’s our goal to make the most of the search industry. With this in mind I would recommend that you work with your coding teams to ensure that query strings are kept to a minimum.

6.) Limit Flash Usage

Putting all of your content in a Flash file creates a difficult platform from which to optimize. While it can be done, the results will not come as easily as if Flash was used as a compliment to the rest of the page. Thankfully, with CSS streamlined video on the ‘net, Flash is no longer a necessity. Remember, if you have to use Flash — cut down how much information is in there and fine alternative ways to deliver the content.

7.) Natural Keyword Integration

Repeat after me… “I will not stuff pages with keywords!” Like the engines, I’m tired of seeing web sites that would be great if not for their blatant use of keyword stuffing. Listen up folks… Keyword density and repetition is a thing of the past. Engines are more about off page SEO now, and you need to write clear and concise content that addresses the user. Engines are keen to what makes sense contextually… Don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes.

8.) Local Information Integration

Sounds all technical and precise, but it’s quite simple. If you sell antiques in Tampa Florida, then include that in your site. How? List (in HTML formatted text of course) where you are located. Include a link to Google (or Yahoo) Maps to help hammer home the point. Search is moving to become more focused on users at a local level. Therefore, building sites with this in mind should be a given.

9.) Avoid Duplicate Content

This is pretty self explanatory, and it’s an SEO principal that has been hammered home many times. Why keep on hammering? Because it’s that important! Be sure that you don’t get lazy and copy content from one page to the next. Each page should be specifically targeting one major idea, and the text needs to reflect that. Think you’re at risk? Try something like this free tool allows you to determine the percentage of similarity between any two pages

10.) Launch With the Proper Foundation

Is your new site equipped with a robots.txt file? An XML sitemap? RSS Feeds? Before you launch any new web site you need to run a full QA test to ensure that…

• all pages load properly

• no browser compatibility issues exist

• SEO elements (titles, meta tags, alt tags, etc.) are in place

• spiders can discover all pages

• robots.txt validates

• sitemap.xml(.gz) works

Doing this will really cut down on any potential errors out of the gates, and will put you in a position to succeed.

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