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SEO: Objectives, Process, Tips and Tools

Get a head start on SEO process and techniques

HTML Guidelines

Developing search friendly webpages is both an art and science and it requires conscious efforts. In order to a make webpage a search friendly there are certain things that be should be done and certain things  which should be avoided.  In this section we will discuss both these aspects side by side but firstly we see what all things should de done.

1.      Make sure that every page is a well-formed HTML or XHTML page. Some of validator tools  like W3C validator  tool, SEO Worker validator which are available which can be used.

2.      Size of page should neither should be too small (<5K) or too large (>15K). Try to limit it to a reasonable size.

3.      Make sure all key information and business pages including home page are fast loading. Try to   restrict the page loading time within or around 8 sec. One of the way improving page loading time is use  of optimized images

4.      Try to restrict the number of links on a given page to a reasonable number (say <=100).

5.      Usage of keyword(s)/Phrase in site navigation structure.

6.      Title Tag – Define title tag for every single page as this is a one of most import SEO technique .Use unique, original strongest and exact keyword(s)/phrase  that best describe the web page. For high page ranking, it is required to carefully choose keywords/phrases that should be a part of the page title:

  <title>your title</title>

7.      Meta Tag Usage -Author, Description, and Keywords Meta tag should be used on every page and each of these tags has its own significance and role. The Meta description tag doesn’t help much in improving page ranking

a.       Author Meta Tag –Always define this tag with name of the company that owns the site as this helps to get no #1 position in search results if it contains company's name:
<meta name="author" content="Name of the company" />
b.      Description Meta Tag - Use the description tag to describe the page is about. The content of this tag often appear as the text snippet below search result listing when displaying a list of links..
<meta name="Description" content="Page Description"/>
c.       Keywords Meta tag - Keywords meta tag helps search engines to categorize webpage and site with which will user can easily and quickly find pages. Optimized usage of quality keyword(s) is advisable as some search engines puts limits on the numbers of Meta keywords.
<meta name="keywords" content=" keyword(s), keyword 1, keyword 2,… "/>
d.      The Robots META tag - It is to indicate to the visiting robots if a page can be indexed, or used to harvest more links. For this no server administrator action is required and as of now only few spiders/bots are following this.
<meta name="robots" contents="noindex, nofollow"/>

8.      Heading and Bold Tags – Usage of relevant keyword(s)/phrases in heading tag also makes a good contribution for SEO. Use of relevant keyword(s) in heading tags (H1 , h2 h3,..) is suggested and it would be good if we restrict the usage of h1 tag to one per page. Sequence of heading should as such that H2 follows h1 and so on.  Similarly also try to use all the relevant keyword(s) /phrases in bold tags (<B>, <I> <STRONG>, <FONT SIZE="+no">) at least once in a page.

9.      ALT Tags – Use relevant Keyword(s)/phrases at relevant places in ALT tags, but don't over do it because it could results in dropping of page from search results or even worse banned for life. The use of this tag becomes more important when link is created for image.

10.  Please make sure that keyword(s) /phrases we want to indexed should be placed be as part of Image file name and if not possible the try to use then outside of images and with in ALT tags.

11.  Use identified keyword(s)/ phrase of the linked page (page to which you are linking) for your hyperlink text

12.  Anchor text - Use keyword(s) /phrases as anchor text when linking page internally. This helps spiders what the linked-to page is about. Generic statements “click here" or “view this” or “See this” didn’t add any value to SEO.

13.  Inbound linking (a.k.a. External Linking) – It would be good that some high quality content webpages or sites provides link to your webpage or site and few of your chosen keyword(s) are in the links we get. Both the quantity and quality of inbound links helps in getting better page ranking. Here I would like to introduce one more word “Cross linking” it means that you are putting a link on one site to another site. Some of the best practices of cross linking is available at http://www.bruceclay.com/newsletter/0406/crosslink.htm

14.  Reciprocal linking (a.k.a. link exchange) : It is a process of exchanging link with some others sites. This helps in increasing traffic and page ranking.

15.  Link Relevance - Search engines rates higher those links which comes from a related page or site. Too much of irrelevant links from non related sites may have negative impact.

16.  Internal Linking – Provide link to other important pages in your site from other page content i.e. interlinking web pages of site. Make sure that every page on your site should link to at least one other page and also homepage is linked to your sitemap.

17.  Social Bookmarking – Allow user to do social bookmarking of your pages. Small icons related to targeted social bookmarking sites (e.g. digg, del.icio.us, Reddit  ) should be placed on your content page and when user click on these icons current page will bookmarked with targeted site. For more info on Social bookmarking visit Wikipedia and for top ten social book marking list visit  blogmarketingtactics.com . More the number of people do social bookmarking of the page, more traffic would be on your site.

18.  Keyword Density – It is the percent that keyword or phrases are of web page text and it should range in between 5% to 20%. Selected keyword(s)/ phrases in the general should be used throughout the webpage but specially to be used in the first few sentences and in the last one, at least once in the title tag, once in the heading tag and once in bold text.

19.  Link and Content Location – Links and primary content which are clearly visible and available near the centre of page are being treated as more important links and contents in comparison to the links and content located at the corner of the page.  It is also advisable to have primary content of the page should be located early in HTML source.

20.  Use of HTTP header- Use HTTP headers like If-Modified-Since, Last-Modified, expires  as they are very important and play vital role in doing SEO.  For e.g. Google search get’s the information whether the content has changed since last time Google visited the page/site. These headers don’t help much in improving page ranking but certainly helps in improving bandwidth usage and decreasing indexing overhead. For more information read http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14.html.

See next page for SEO "Don'ts"...

More Stories By Rahul Kumar Gupta

Rahul Kumar Gupta is a postgraduate in Computer Applications, graduate in Business Management and 10 certifications including PMP, SCEJA and JCP. He has 10 years IT industry experience and works as Sr. Technical Manager with Indian IT giant HCL Technologies, NOIDA (INDIA). He was also a co-technical reviewer for Professional Java Ecommerce, Professional EJB and Professional JSP Site Design books for Wrox. You can catch him at [email protected] He blogs at http://rahgup.blogspot.com/.

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Most Recent Comments
Loganathan 07/02/08 08:37:58 AM EDT

Excellent article with complete insight on what is SEO , do's and donts for a beginer in SEO like me.


Vikas Wadehra 01/15/08 11:34:22 PM EST

The article provides an excellent insight into the SEO space, the tips provided are very useful. Also the guidelines mentioned in the article are to the point and very well stated.
Overall the article is an excellent knowledge base to understand and appreciate the SEO process.

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