I’ve been working on my own Google Rankings now for quite a while. Â Some of the key terms that I have been using include: Fort Wayne Web Design, Fort Wayne Website Design, and Fort Wayne SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Â My results have been pretty good.
If you search for the term “Fort Wayne Web Deisgn” I appear in the top 5 on Google, and I appear number 1 on yahoo and bing!
So, I thought I would take the time and just share a few simple steps (my top ten list) that I’ve been trying to utilize for SEO:
- Setup Canonicalization and enforce WWW on all pages – this can sound really confusing, but basically it means making sure that regardless of whether I type in WWW.YOURSITE.COM or just YOURSITE.COM – my browser will ALWAYS end up saying the same thing – i.e. the WWW. is always added.The reason for this is simple – you don’t want Google to see two different options for your site – one with WWW and one without WWW. Â You want all the Google Juice going to the same site – no matter how people link to it.
- Submit to the three major search engines:Google: http://www.google.com/addurl/
Yahoo (becoming BING): http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit
- Submit to DMOZ – the Open Directory ProjectThe DMOZ (www.dmoz.org ) is an open-source / volunteer directory. Â It has real humans who are compiling a list of web site into categories. Â Visit the site – look at the categories and start to DRILL DOWN by clicking on categories until you find one you think your site should fit into. Â Then, look for the SUBMIT URL link on the top of the page. Â Click it and fill in the information.The approval process can often take months (or longer).
- Update TITLES on all pages – pretty much everyone agrees that the <title>YOUR TITLE HERE</title> tag is the most important on-page factor for determining Google ranking. Â Your Title should be around 65-75 characters long and include your keywords. Â Titles should also vary from page to page – to accurately reflect the content of the page – and to also continue to reflect your keywords.
- Update meta Keywords and meta descriptions. Â Now, Google freely admits that meta keyword tag has absolutely no effect on Google ranking. Â However, I still think it is important to get the meta keyword tag correct. Â Of course, the same is said about meta description tag. Â Generally this is used for the description that Google shows in a Search Result Page.
- Create relevant H1 and H2 tags – your keywords should be at the top (first 1,500 characters) of the page inside of H1 tags. Â Google looks at anything inside of H1 tags as more important – after all (goes there reasoning) anything we make a header must be more important, right?
- Use ALT and TITLE tags on Images. Â Make sure EVERY image has an appropriate ALT and TITLE tag added. Â While Google can’t see what your image is – you can tell GOogle (via the ALT tag) and thereby win some valuable ranking.
- Ensure that your HTML and CSS both validate:CSS Validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
HTML Validator: http://validator.w3.org/. Â If you site doesn’t validate, you’ll need a little bit of technical know how to fix problems. Â And, some times it really isn’t a big deal, but it is always good to keep things “valid”
- Create and Submit XML sitemaps to all major search engines. Â Sitemaps are simple XML files that tell the search engines which pages exist and which pages should be crawled. Â Creating and submitting a sitemap helps to ensure that Google, Bing, Yahoo, et al will actually find your pages. Â The best way to learn about sitemaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitemaps
- Create and use a Robots.txt file to help search engines index your content. Â Using a robots.txt file is a bit more complicated than a sitemap. Â And, typically a Robots.txt file is used to EXCLUDE areas of your site – like an admin site, etc. Â But, you can do a TON with a good robots file – including blocking pages for a while and than unblocking them to gain google points. Â Again, want to learn more, try Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots_exclusion_standard
So, there is my top ten list of Search Engine Optimization. Â There’s a lot more to do. Â And, all of these are what we like to call On Page Factors – meaning things you do to your own web page. Â This didn’t even start to touch off page factors – like incoming links (another HUGELY popular topic).
Take a look at my list and let me know where I’m wrong or what I left off my list. Â I’d love to hear about your top ten…