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30 Golden SEO tips

11 – Avoid Flash like the plague

After frames, Flash is the biggest enemy of SEO and usability. Search engines are not able to read Flash files. Therefore any text displayed on the Flash page will not be read by the search engines and will not give you any SEO benefit. As importantly, Flash is an enormous barrier between your web site and its users. Truly useful web sites have indexable content, preferably in the HTML format. Good, clean, minimalist HTML code is the true friend of SEO. Do not use Flash if you are serious about SEO and getting real traffic from the search engines

12 – Interlink your pages

Every page on your web site should have at least a couple of contextual links that point to other pages on your web site. These links should follow naturally from the content of your page. For example, if your page mentions PORTFOLIO, you can use those words to link to a page that is relevant to them. That's a contextual link.

This will ensure that Google PageRank will be shared among your pages, and is an additional way of telling Google what your pages are about.

13 – Put high-quality outbound links on every page

Every page of the content on your web site should also have at least one contextual link that points to a high-quality external web site. It has been shown experimentally that Google gives a higher ranking to pages that link to a high-quality external web sites. In other words, other things being equal, a page with good outbound links will be placed higher in the search engine results pages than a page with no outbound links.

Deciding who to link to is relatively simple. Choose a word or group of words in your text and do a search on Google. Look at the top 3 or 4 web sites and choose one that does not compete with you. Go back to your page and make those keywords the anchor text for an outbound link that points to that high-ranking external web site. Google will love you for linking to a web site that it deems to be of a high quality, especially if the link's anchor text has words for which that web site ranks very high on Google. Doing this on every page in your web site will have the following major advantages:

a) As mentioned above, Google will give you a higher placing in its results pages;

b) It shows your users that you are in good faith and not a sleazy spammer. Remember that the traffic you get from the higher Google ranking will massively outweigh the traffic you will lose through the outbound links, and in any case people will only leave your web site if they have not found what they are looking for, in which case they would have left anyway. Outbound links will have the net effect of increasing your web site traffic.

14 – Produce an HTML sitemap

By "Sitemap" I do not mean those special files that tell search engines about the structure and your web site, although that kind of sitemap is a good idea too. In this instance I am referring to an HTML page that contains links to every single page on your web site, just like a directory. There are two reasons that make such a page essential:

a) For the purposes of SEO, no page should be more than two clicks away from your homepage. Search engines do not like pages that need a lot of clicks to be found. Furthermore, it makes every page on your web site receive some of the Google PageRank of your homepage (the homepage will inevitably have a higher PageRank than any other page on the web site);

b) It is extremely useful for users to be able to access any page on your web site from a single page of links. In this way they can access a page very quickly, even if it is the last page of multi-page article.


15 – Put the menu on the right

To make your web site even more search engine-friendly, consider putting the menu on the right, as with this web site. This will ensure that the first thing Google sees after the <head> section is your content. This is because search engines read pages from top to bottom and from left to right. Putting the menu on the right-hand side ensures that search engines will come to it after your main content. This is related to having a high signal-to-noise ratio.


16 – The <title> tag

This is vital because, like the h1 tag, it tells search engines what you claim your page to be about. The title tag should have the same contents as the h1 tag. The title tag for this page is:

<title>30 Golden SEO tips</title>


17 – Produce META tags with great care

There are three META tags of interest in SEO: ROBOTS, content and KEYWORDS. The first two are vital; the third no longer plays a big role.

The robots tag should be as follows:

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow"/>

The contents tag should be identical or similar to the title tag - it has been found that Google loves this.

In the dark ages of the pre-Google anarchy the keywords meta-tag was taken very seriously by the primordial search engines. Accordingly, the SERPs were dominated by spam web sites that stuffed their meta-tags with keywords. Nowadays the keyword tag is almost irrelevant. By all means include it, but make absolutely sure that no keyword appears in the tag more than once. Do not put more than 20 words in the meta-tag.


18 – Remember that search engines cannot read pictures

The essence of SEO is putting high-quality content on a page, and making sure that search engines can fully read and understand the content. This means that the heart of SEO is quality text. Any text that is displayed as a JPEG file or other graphics cannot be read by the search engines. Look at the source code of a web page: that's what search engine can see. If you can't read it in the source code, search engines will not be able to read it either, and you will therefore get no search-engine credit for it.

Therefore, do not use graphics to display content. This does not mean that you should not use pictures; when used appropriately, pictures enhance your users' experience and make your content more useful.

You can tell search engines what a picture is about by using the ALT tag. Make sure that the description in the ALT tag faithfully describes the content of the picture; stuffing the ALT tag with keywords that are not relevant to the picture is considered spam.


19 – Make sure you have "index, follow" in the ROBOTS tag

Every single page on your web site should have this tag. It tells search engine spiders to index the page, and it also tells them to follow all links to their respective target pages. This is useful in making sure that all the pages on your web site are indexed.

Spiders are programs that search engines use to analyse pages on the Internet; they go from page to page, following links and reading every page, making decisions on their quality and keeping a copy in order to show them on the search results pages for relevant queries. SEO is essentially about convincing these automated programs that a given page deserves to rank highly for a specific search query.


20 – Link any new page constructed from the homepage

Once your homepage has a few quality inbound links, Google will regularly spider your homepage. Therefore, a good way to make sure that Google spiders and indexes a new page as soon as possible is to link to it from the homepage. Search engines will follow the link and index the target page within a few days.


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