Guidelines on how to write SEO optimized web content!

Choosing your Keywords / phrases

It’s recommended to target no more than: 3-5 Keywords per page and 10-25 keywords per medium site
Keep keywords related to your specific industry and your service / products.
Try targeting long tail keyword based on location such as “Yoga in London”.
Check your keywords by entering them into the search engines and see the number of results and who is competing for the same words.

Page & web content guidelines

Place keywords in strategic locations throughout your pages. Repeat main key words at least twice at the beginning of the relevant pages.
Include content on your site that serves your audience’s needs and interests. Include variety of content types on your web site.
Write Semantic Code; This means using tags for what they mean and how they relate to your message rather than how they style content by default. Use the W3C’s semantics extractor to check your work (http://www.w3.org/2003/12/semantic-extractor.html ) and view your site without CSS to determine if your information hierarchy appropriately communicates your message.
Use micro formats to markup contact, event, resume, and review content to make it more portable and findable. Tag content with rel=”tag”.
Use heading tags to define the key sections of your pages taking care to include relevant keywords. Place headings tags in the page in order of importance starting with:
<h1>Most Important</h1>
<h2>Second Most Important</h2>
<h3>Third Most Important</h3>
Emphasis your keywords and essential info with font weight, size and color attributes. Always use heading and subheading tags and apply whatever style you like to them.
Use li tags when displaying a set of items
Use tables when displaying a grid;
Use block quote when quoting.
Remember what the semantic web is all about: data about the data, and give meaning to your markup.
Write your own, original content. Surf for editorial tips, like CopyBlogger and pay attention to “scan-able” text. Remember to use an inverted pyramid structure, with the essential info at the top. Organize your copy into sections, short paragraphs and lists.
Freshness – Spiders love fresh content. And so does your visitors. If you sell, get a latest products section; if you write materials, get a latest articles section; if you’ve got nothing much to say, at least get the latest news section. To make things even more attractive, generate an RSS feed and advertise it on your home page.
Include RSS content from other sources relevant to your audience on your site.
Keep your content open where appropriate using a Creative Commons (http://www.creativecommons.org/) license that requires attribution in order to build awareness of your site and encourage open license searches.
Create link libraries or other useful repositories of information on a particular subject.

Link Building

Anchor Text & Title -Use Keyword combinations that clearly describe the page you are linking to. Click here is not an option.
Stay away from JavaScript links as chances are they will not be crawled.
Page Rank Mania- Focusing on increasing your Page Rank is a narrow-minded approach to SEO and web marketing. It’s not only inaccurate, as Google keeps is outdated for some months after it has really changed, but it is irrelevant. Bringing visitors to a poorly crafted page or dull content is not recommended. You want to focus on conversions, not just traffic.
Use abbr and acronym tags with the title attribute to provide full text of all abbreviations and acronyms.
Use rel=”nofollow” in anchor tags when linking to sites of questionable or unknown reputation.
No more than 100 unique links per page.
Use SWFObject to embed Flash files into an HTML page that contains semantically marked up content.
Create text transcripts of audio and video content.
Build image maps so the content they link to is accessible to search engines.
Use image replacement techniques such as the Phark method method or SIFR to display distinct typefaces and design for headings as needed.
Add longdesc links to detailed text descriptions of images where necessary.
“Crawl-able Content” – Although bots have achieved great technical progress, Ajax, Flash, JavaScript generated content, text in images are all blind spots on your page. Put your important info in plain HTML. If you have to use special font, try to use sIFR as text will still be indexed. Most bots behave as a text browser, so use a tool like Lynx to analyze your website.
Image Name & Alt Text- If you have multiple sets of images, like in a shopping cart, group your images into folders named appropriately.

Meta Tags

Write intelligent title tag text beginning with the page name, then the site name, then a short keyword-rich phrase descriptive of the site. Title Tag – Keyword < Category | Website Title. No more than 90 characters.
Use the Meta description tag to provide a description of your site to be displayed on search engine results pages. No more than 155 characters.
Provide keyword tag.

GUI Design

Build applications to work without JavaScript and Ajax before adding a behavior layer on top to ensure it gracefully degrades for search engine indexing.
Minify JavaScript where possible using Dean Edwards’ Packer http://dean.edwards.name/packer/.
Be aware that some libraries like Prototype and Scriptaculous might break when minified.
Don’t Use JavaScript to apply the display:none property so search engines don’t mistakenly suspect your site is using black hat techniques.
Use JavaScript to collapse and/or hide elements not default CSS.
Make sure JavaScript is not required to navigate any area of your site.
Avoid frames at all costs.
Keep presentation (CSS) and behavior (JavaScript) external so search engines aren’t required to download them when indexing your pages.
Don’t use tables for layout. When using tables as they are intended for tabular data.
Include descriptive, keyword-rich text in the summary attribute of the table tag and caption tag.
Use CSS sprites to keep HTTP requests to a minimum.

Other considerations

Make sure your blog is set up to notify all major ping services when new content is published.
Create a site-wide search system that will help your audience find the content they seek.
Add social networking links under blog posts and other areas where appropriate to foster a viral exchange of your content.
Create inbound links to your site from directories, affiliates, friends, social network profile pages, blog posts, discussion boards, design galleries, and any other appropriate location.
Build an opt in mailing list and send periodic emails to subscribers with updates, news, discounts, or other valuable information.
Avoid using any Black Hat technique.
Cloaking, Keywords stuffing and invisible text are probably the easiest way to get delisted, sandboxed or be put in Supplemental Results hell. Most amateurs start with the pick-up lines instead of the basic body language control. Study the fundamentals; don’t let yourself fooled by some secret techniques your neighbor’s kid told you.
Duplicate Content Useless to say you must not steal other people’s content, for it will hurt your karma and ranking. But make sure you don’t show the same content with different URLs and titles; like a product configuration, where a URL parameter only changes the shoe color; or Session IDs.
Link Exchange – Reciprocal linkage is a thing of the past. Google already ignores reciprocal link accumulation on real estate websites. And never liked spammed/link farms anyway.

Additional expert advice

“You will never really know exactly how Google works (unless you work there)”
– “Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day” By J. Grappone, Gradiva Couzin would be an interesting read.
“Most of the right choices in SEO come from asking, What’s the best thing for the user” – Matt Cutts
“Webmaster quality guidelines, specifically the principle of ‘Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users”. – Matt Cutts

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