1. Title Tag
A page title is the first thing that search engines look at to see what the page is about. Its important to make it relevant, include a few keywords but don’t over do it, and give each page a different title. Otherwise users won’t be able to distinguish pages, and this hinders bookmarking.
2. Meta Tags
There are 2 main meta tags Keywords and Description. Some search engines actually ignore keywords due sites over using it, but it’s still a good idea to put some keyword in. It’s debatable whether the description actually helps your ranking but it’s very important as it shows up in search engines. This should read as a sentence and should be a brief introduction into your company /site.
3. Heading Tags
These help search engines and your users find out what your site it about, and saves them reading information they are not interested in. Your most important title should be the biggest heading (H1) and then sub titles can be placed in smaller headings (H2, H3).
4. Alt tags on Images
Putting Alt tags on your images is now essential. It gives you a chance to feed extra information to search engines and you need them on all images to make your site validate as xhtml transitional. These tags will allow the visually impaired to know what is on your site.
5. Title Attributes
These are the little pop-ups that appear when you hover over something like a link or an image. This is a little tip that can really help your ratings. A good example would be to have a link that says “contact us” , you could insert a title “contact one of our sales assistants” – it actually describes what the link is.
Make sure that your content is relevant to the page and to you keywords. It is important to incorporate your keywords into your content but it should also read well and actually make sense. It’s not good to stick as many keywords in as possible and have content that doesn’t make sense – this won’t get you anywhere.
7. Link Building
There are many factors that effect your ranking but links are a huge factor. Try to get as many links to your site as possible but only from reputable sites that have something to do with your site. Don’t join link farms, search engines will actually rate you down if you use these.
8. Social Media
This technically isn’t SEO but it’s very important when thinking about promoting your site. Millions of people use things like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace every day so its important to utilise these services, especially as they are free.
This can either by a sitemap that helps your users navigate through your site, or an XML one that is used by search engines to index your site. This will help search engines find your site easier, and you can create one free using Google’s webmaster tools.
10. Things to avoid
The main 2 to avoid are Flash and Splash pages. Flash sites may look nice but search engines cant read them, so lots of people won’t be able to find your site. Splash pages just create an extra click for users, which annoys a lot of people – myself included. Often people use the 2 together, forcing the user to either skip intro – meaning you’ve wasted all that money on flash for nothing, or to leave your site completely – you’ve just lost a potential customer (me included).