When it comes to SEO and getting traffic to the websites we build, it requires time, lots of research and staying on top of the changes that happen almost every day in the search engine world, making this feat a full time job. There is however an array of basic SEO tips and techniques that every designer should keep in mind that does not require too much time. Actually you can print this post out and keep it as your checklist. It is really simple and is easy to implement into a new website. So let’s get right into it.

  1. Focus each page on one keyword that best describes the content within.
    Figure out what two-or-three-word keyword best describes each page. Do not use broad keywords like the name of a city or category of a product, instead use something more descriptive, keeping in mind this question, “Will someone be using this keyword to search for the information on this page?”
  2. Increase the density of the above keyword within each page.
    Once your content is created go through it and try to incorporate the page keyword into the content to make it be around 3% to 4% keyword density. Check your keyword density at SEOchat.com
  3. Use Strong tags to emphasize the keywords on the page.
    To emphasize the keyword within the content, bold the keyword using the Strong tags. If the content on the page is over 400 words long, this can be done twice but if it is any shorter only bold once.
  4. Use H2 – H6 tags to prioritize the content headings.
    The H2 through H6 tags are used to prioritize the content headings within the page. H2 being the most important heading and H6 being the lowest priority subheading.
  5. Use Title attribute within the internal links.
    When linking to content within the site make sure to use the Title attribute within the link tags to tell search engines where that link goes. The Title attribute value should be the keyword that belongs to the page that the link points to, not the page that it’s on.
  6. Use Alt attribute on images.
    Because Search Engines can not see images, adding the page keyword into the image description of the Alt attribute within the Img tags tells the Search Engines what this image is. Besides the fact that it helps getting indexed in the image search of the Search Engines it also adds to the keyword density of the page.
  7. Include keyword in the page Title tag.
    Page title should contain a 64 character title of the page. Each page should always have it’s own, unique page title that includes the page keyword. Try keeping the keyword as close to the beginning of the sentence as possible.
  8. Match H2 tag’s content to the Title of the page.
    Being the most important heading on the page, H2 tag should contain the main page title. To help focus the page better, it is important to keep the H2 heading exactly as it appears in the Title tag of the page.
  9. Don’t overuse the H2 – H6 tags.
    Using H2 tag more than once on a page divides the page into different chunks and therefore confuses the Search Engines. The rest of the Heading tags can be used several times to show subheadings but should be used sparingly.
  10. Use Meta Keyword & Description tags.
    Although not many Search Engines use the Meta Keyword tags anymore it is still good to have for the ones that do. In the other hand, the Meta Description tag is very important and is used by most. It plays a major role in driving traffic to a site. The information you include in this tag will show up within Google’s results as description for the site. So you want to keep it brief and to the point being as descriptive as possible to entice the searcher to click on your site. Currently Google displays up to 160 characters in the description, Yahoo! up to 165 and MSN up to 200. To be on the safe side for all of them just keep it down to 160 characters.
  11. Create a Sitemap.xml file and submit it to Google Webmasters.
    An XML sitemap file should contain a list of every page on the site that you want the Search Engines to index. You can either compile this file manually or you can enlist a free tool that is available at XML-Sitemaps.com. Keep in mind that the automatic tool will list all the pages that it finds through the internal links on the site. If you want to not include some pages you will need to go in and manually remove them once the file is compiled. Once you have the file, upload it to your website and submit it to Google Webmaster Central here: Google.com/Webmasters

These are the basics that every website should be using. If every site on the internet used them we would have a much more organised and easier to use web.

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