The following technical search engine optimisation guidelines will help search engines find, index, and rank your website.
- Choose a Quality web hosting service provider
Constant downtime or pages that load too slowly are perceived by Google as being of low quality and thus can affect your website search engine ranking.
- Host in the country where most of your target visitors live
Google localises search engine results. E.g. If your top level domain name is .com and you host your site in America, then Google will interpret your website as being American based. Your web pages will rank well in America, however you may struggle to rank well in searches from Google.com.au.
- Design your website with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) tags
CSS allows web designers and developers to separate presentation from content. Do not use HTML tables to define your site layout. CSS designed web pages are far cleaner and enable search engines to read your web pages much faster.
- Ensure Your website is W3C compatibleUse the online W3C validation service to ensure your website is meeting all W3C standards. ( http://validator.w3.org/ )
- Examine your website via a text browser
See your website like the search engines see it. Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site.
- Use a Robots.txt file
Let search engines know which directories can or cannot be indexed for search. Use Google Webmaster robots.txt analysis tool to ensure your robots.txt is being read correctly. For more information on the robot.txt file standards refer to http://www.robotstxt.org/faq.html
- Define a Search Engine friendly XML Sitemap
An xml site map informs the search engines the pages on your website that are available for crawling.
Update your robots.txt. Tell the search engine spiders where to find your xml site map file.
For more information on the sitemap protocol refer to SiteMaps.org. http://sitemaps.org/protocol.php
- Submit your sitemap to google and yahoo
This step should be done once you go live.
For more information visit: http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/
- Avoid using frames
Search engines have difficulty in indexing websites using frames.
- Avoid using Flash
most search engine spiders cannot
crawl Flash sites. If you rely on most of your traffic coming from search engines then you should completely avoid using Flash.
- Include an ‘About Us’ page
Search engines like to rank professional, trustworthy websites. Ensure you include the following web pages on your website. These pages will indicate to the search engines that you are a quality website. The following pages will also help.’About Us’ page
‘â€˜Contact Usâ€™ page
- Create a custom 404 error page
Display your sitemap page that shows links to all of your web pages.
- Server-side specifics
Ensure your web hosting company allows you to access and edit your .htaccess file. Also ensure your web hosting provider supports both 301 redirects and mod_rewrite URL modification. The mod_rewrite standard is used to rewrite URLs at the server level.
- Use Friendly URLs
URLs should be as brief and descriptive as possible. Convert dynamic URLâ€™s into search engine safe URLâ€™s. Ensure you include your keywords in the URL.Example of friendly URL:
Example of Dynamic URL:
The first example is user friendly, uses specific keywords and clearly indicates where the user is.The second example uses dynamic parameters, which is meaningless to a user.
Note: If you are using a content management system (CMS) make sure it is search engine friendly. Most of the popular CMS applications including, Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal come with SEO plugins.
- Ensure you include a textual breadcrumb trail at the top of every webpage
The breadcrumb navigation links allows users to know exactly where they are.
It also helps your SEO efforts by reinforcing your navigational structure. It will reinforce your keywords and phrases for the page.
Example of what a breadcrumb trail:
Your Branding Name (or Home Page) >> Section name >> Category name >> Webpage name
Webmaster Guidelines by Google