Recently I’ve blogged about the importance of content in terms of building search engine visibility. But the fundamentals of the site need to be in place first. So I thought I’d run through some of the must-dos for your website to ensure your content is found.
1. Ensure a clear URL structure
If you want search engines to properly crawl and index your site, the first thing you should do is make your URLs meaningful and SEO friendly. That means applying a logical structure, using readable words and avoiding unnecessary complexities. An untidy URL is often the culprit for de-valuing a site. Watch out for session IDs, tracking parameters, etc that can cause duplicate content and crawling problems.
2. Keep your code clean
Tip: Download Microsoft’s free SEO toolkit to review your website
3. Improve site speed
Google and other search engines recently placed site performance at the top of their agenda. Faster sites not only create happy users and reduce operating costs, they will also obtain a head start in the battle for good search engine rankings.
Tip: Evaluate the performance of your web pages and get suggestions on how to improve them by installing the free Google Page Speed tool
4. Avoid Flash
There has been a lot of debate about Flash and if it is search engine friendly or not. Whatever the final verdict may be, Google claims they can index the content of Flash files, but other search engines may not be able to. Therefore, we recommend that you use rich-media technologies like Flash primarily for decorative purposes, and instead use HTML for content and navigation.
5. Use robots.txt
Robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct robots on how to crawl and index pages on their website. A well written robots.txt file helps improve search engine rankings by providing important information to the search engine bot.
Tip: Visit the official source on information about the Robots Exclusion Protocol
Remember that in SEO there are a lot of little things we can tweak to help a site rank better, but this doesn’t excuse you from writing compelling content. Technical SEO is only half the battle.