Tips to keep your website SEO friendly

Keeping your website in tune and SEO friendly can be a difficult task in this day and age, especially with all the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ you read about on the internet. SEO is very important in terms of today’s completive web world. There may be an error within your website or blogging process that could have a negative impact on your ranking!

Keep your website SEO friendly

Creating a website and getting on top of Google ten years ago wasn’t hard to do! Choose your Domain, learn some HTML code, write about 500 words and pop in some meta tags and your done. With Google’s strive for  quality, authenticity, authority, and usability, you need to make sure that your are well within the boundaries of the ‘White Hat’ requirements.

To ensure your website  is ticking all the boxes have a look at the handy tips below and see if there is something you need to change on your website.

1. Use your header tags effectively

Header tags are an important SEO factor because they inform the search engines what your website is about. Search engines recognize the words used in your header tags and gives more weight to the words contained in the code. This starts with your h1 and works its way down in importance to the h2, h3 and so on.  These tags will help support the overall theme or purpose of your page.

How many header tags?

You should only have one set of <h1> tags on each page, while you can have as many <h2> tags as you like – or as many as the copy’s structure, logic and readability can stand.

  1. Use <h1> and <h2> tags for targeting your preferred key phrases.
  2. Use just one <h1> headline per page, but as many <h2>s as good writing allows.
  3. Ensure you keep your main KEYWORDS near the front of the title not at the back.

2. Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: which is best?

To understand what the difference is between follow vs. no follow links, we need to look at how links work in the SEO world. When a site page gets an inbound link, which is a hyperlink pointing to that page, the page gets a small SEO boost. This link is passing ‘Google Juice’ and the more links you have, the more ‘Google Juice’ you get.

Google will monitor how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. Google will allocate ‘authority’ to that page if a lot of people are linking to a certain page. Google created a metric called PageRank to calculate the linkages. The link juice flows through sites and into new sites through hyperlinks. The more reputable the site, the bigger boost of link juice the ‘linked-to’ site gets. In this day and age of ‘Blogging’ you do not want to give all your ‘Link Juice’ away! and to have a ‘follow’ link on your blogs could open your site to abuse by spammers and you could be penalised!

Defining a follow link – Follow links are links that count as points, pushing SEO link juice and boosting the page rank of the linked-to sites, helping them go higher in the SERPs as a result.

In essence, the more links a business  has pointing to their URL, and the fewer links pointing away from their URL, the better.  With Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Search all agreeing to abide by the link relationship attribute, it only makes sense for company websites to preserve as much “link juice” as possible by adding the ‘nofollow’ attribute to outbound links.

So, adding the rel=“nofollow” attribute to your website’s links can limit erroneous comments with ulterior motives from cluttering your site, while preserving the “link juice” you’ve earned. Keep your site SEO friendly and apply the above for better results.

Check your blogs and make sure you are using the ‘nofollow’ attribute – and Keep your juice!

3. Remove your ‘Canonicalisation’ issue

Canonicalisation is an issue that I have to fix for about 85% of new clients and the issue can be potentially be damaging their rankings. Canonicalisation occurs when a website can be  accessed via both www.website.com and website.com, this will cause the search engines to effectively index 2 identical copies of your site, and while its unlikely your website will attract any duplicate content penalties, it does affect your page rankings. Basically, you are forcing the search engines to choose which page is most relevant, and often they may choose the wrong URL.

Examples of websites:

site.com
www.site.com
www.site.com/home
www.site.com/aspx.net
www.site.com/index.html

http://bdimedia.com – this URL correctly re-directs you to www.bdimedia.com

As already pointed out, canonicalisation allows for the efficient focus of link and PageRank value to one canonical, or primary URL. In terms of link authority, having three links pointing to one canonical page is far preferential scenario in comparison with three links pointing to three variations of a page.

The best way to avoid any Canonicalisation issues is to setup a .htaccess file in the root folder of your domain that uses a 301 redirect to redirect to only one URL for your website. You can choose to either direct the URL to www. or just plain http://, my preferred option is always www., but thats a personal choice and will not affect your SEO in anyway.

To setup an .htaccess file to avoid any such duplication issues, simply open your preferred text browser and insert the following code into the doucment and then save the file, calling it ‘.htaccess’, then upload the file to your sites root folder.

Options +FollowSymlinks

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^website\.com [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.website.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Once you have done this, you can test that it is working correctly by visiting your url without using www., you should then be automatically redirected to the www. version of your website.

Another, softer way of fixing this issue, is using a function within Google’s Webmaster Tools section, within this handy utility is a section for you to tell Google which URL you would prefer them to index.

So don’t let link value and PageRank slip through your fingers needlessly, and ensure that you allow search engine crawlers to index the most important pages on your site by making use of this simple yet powerful tag.

4. Relevant Backlinks

As the owner of your website, you will have little control over which sites link to you. Now we have the Google ‘Disavow’ tool whereby you can notify Google which links you want removed. Since the tool has been introduced there have been thousands of ‘black hat’ operators who have been penalised for creating ‘Link Farms’ on their sites and selling the links in their thousands.

If your SEO guy has been busy buying up ‘spammy’ links you would have already suffered with your page ranking and you need access to see what types of links you have coming in. Your first port of call would be to check your website to see what quality links you have coming in, a great tool for this is Open Site Explorer.

Focus on gaining backlinks from websites within a similar sector to your services or product, from quality domains with relevant content. Avoid buying thousands of backlinks from link farms, reciprocal linking from irrelevant domains and all other black hat link building techniques.

SEO practices today are a far cry from its inception. All for the better, of course but if you want to stay ahead of the game, and not fall into unnecessary traps and search engine penalties then it’s highly recommended that you either speak to an SEO Professional or read up on potentially detrimental activities first.

5. Write a unique and compelling meta description that includes the focus keywords

The meta description can only be seen within the source code at the top of the page and its use is to communicate information about your website to the Search Engine Robots. Search engines will use the meta description as the description in the search engine results page. This means the meta description functions more of a marketing purpose (getting people to click on the result) than a ranking purpose (getting your page ranked higher against a specific keyword).

You should use the focus keywords early in the meta description so that they are in bold when the search result shows up which will help with keyword association and your click through rate.