Search engine optimization (SEO) was named that many years ago because “optimization” was pretty much the only thing that needed to be done. Today, optimization is only about 5-10% of the total SEO work. The rest lies with content development and popularity which we’ve discussed in part I and part III of these series.
Optimization means making a site “relevant” to specific search terms (keywords) so that Google or other search engines recognize these keywords and rank the site better for them. Thus, the term “relevancy” was derived from this notion.
Here I should note that most of the “black-hat” SEO concentrates on optimization. In a future post, we’ll discuss some of the no-no’s when it comes to Google SEO and more specifically optimization for Google.
Our team’s focus is on Google optimization. Everything we do is approved and accepted by Google as explained by Matt Cutts through Google Webmaster Guidelines. And here is a glimpse of what our team considers best optimization practices that we conduct on a daily basis for our new client (not everything serves to better the ranks, some are simply for monitoring purposes):
- Adding you website to our Google analytics and setting up the tracking code (to monitor traffic coming through your site).
- Adding your site to our Google webmaster tools and completing the verification process (the reports through webmaster tools identify any optimization issues your site may have).
- Creating a sitemap.xml file and submitting it to Google webmaster tools (and keeping this sitemap.xml file up to date).
- Creating/updating the HTML sitemap page of the website.
- Make sure the search engines are not blocked through no index Meta tag or robots.txt file or anything else that blocks search engines from accessing/indexing your website.
- Exterminate any instances of duplicate content.
- Remove any instances of black hat SEO (hidden text or link, <noembed> tags, link farming, Meta redirection, cloaking, doorway pages, long keyword-rich comment tags).
- Redirecting the non-www URL to www version. For example, https://www.millionairium.com will be redirected to https://www.millionairium.com/.
- Trailing slash redirection. In other words making the site pages consistent. For example all the pages should have the trailing slash at the end of the URL.
- Creating keyword rich URL’s for all the pages.
- One version URL for home page (Any references to index.php or default.aspx and any other versions of the home page URL should be redirected to the main URL: ie. https://www.millionairium.com/).
- Building a blog for the site and hosting it on the site. Example: https://www.millionairium.com/.
- Creating and optimizing permalinks for blog posts.
- Installing “SEO” plug-ins for the blog.
- Installing a “Sitemap” plug-in for blog.
- URL canonicalization for CMS website (Very important for eCommerce websites and blogs).
- Adding your blog links to the footer links and/or top menus.
- Adding latest blog post section to the home page (important for fresh content development – discussed in Part I).
- Text optimization. Inserting the appropriate keywords in the right places.
- Meta description and title tag optimization (unique Meta tags for each page is very important).
- Image alt tag and co-text optimization (co-text is a notion we borrowed from linguistics to refer to any textual content surrounding an image or any specific keyword).
- Domain renewal for 5 years or more.
- Avoid excessive use of “Meta redirection” and use “301 redirection” instead.
Also note that Google web master accounts should be observed on a weekly basis to make sure there are no not-found pages.