These tips are intended solely for programming developers and not copywriters, site architects or graphic designers. We will be releasing SEO tips to help guide those individuals in future posts. If you are looking for some good e-commerce tips you can read Ian Lurie’s post 24 E-commerce development tips.
Here we go…
- Make sure every page within a website possesses the functionality for customized page titles and meta descriptions or at the very least (for larger sites) the ability to assign unique business rules to these fields.
- Each page should contain at least a single H1 header and if plausible, corresponding H2, H3, etc… headers as well. There should only be a single H1 per page which acts as the “title” for that page. The corresponding H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags should be used to identify related sub-pages. Linking to the sub-pages via the headers is recommended.
- Images on the website should possess a customizable alt tag field especially if that image is being linked to another page. As any developer knows, the alt tag field is used to describe what an image is depicting but it also acts as the anchor text (of sorts) for hyperlinked images so consult with whoever is responsible for optimizing the site to ensure the alt tags are search term enriched.
- Choose a primary domain and apply 301 redirects (a permanent redirect) to all other domains and point them to the primary domain. 302 redirects (a temporary redirect) will not pass along any search engine value nor will any other type of redirect.
- For redesigns or overhauls apply 301 redirects for every moved sub page to tell search engines that “this page has permanently moved here”. When redirecting sub pages make sure to point them to their replacement page and not the homepage. The only time you want to point a sub page to the homepage is when it no longer exists.
- Each page should be named after the targeted search term assigned to represent it (or at least a portion of the term) and should be displayed that way within the URL.
- URL’s should be structured in a way where there are multiple tiers. Websites with depth are seen by search engines as more relevant (if they are properly optimized) because it shows them that there is a wealth of supporting content on a particular subject matter.
- The website should possess an auto-populated site map that is less than 150 links and is linked to from every page on the site. If there is a need to represent more than 150 links simply create a second site map page or as many pages needed to encompass the entire site. A quick note, larger sites with a lot of authority (link juice) and history can get away with simply linking to the high level landing pages.
- Create a customized 404-Error page that closely resembles the site map.
- Every page should posses a single dedicated URL no matter how many different ways there are to navigate to the page or how many places the page appears.
- Ensure that there are not any broken links within the site.
- Create a robots.txt file and block search engine spiders from indexing pages not meant to be visible in search results such as the shopping cart. THIS ALSO INCLUDES STAGING SITES.
- Do not use iFrames to display any information meant to be spidered and indexed by search engines.
- For all of you dot net nukers, reduce your Viewstate code.
- Place analytical script just above the closing body tag.
- Direct users to a “thank you” page after they perform a conversion on the site.
- Hook up separate RSS feeds for press releases, blog posts, articles, etc… Basically any content that can and should be syndicated.
- Create xml feeds for sites that sell products, real estate or anything that can be uploaded to Google’s Merchant Center and related portals.
Obviously there’s more so what’s missing? Share additional SEO development tips below.