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When building a website, it's important to build it in such a way that search engines (Google, DuckDuckGo, etc) can easily index your website. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Because I wanted to refresh my memory, I reread the most important documents from Google, and created the summary below. Take advantage of it!
Did I miss an important SEO rule? Please let me know and I will add it to the list below!
SEO Starter Guide
- Use a sitemap (sitemap.xml).
- Use the file robots.txt.
- Give every page a brief, descriptive and unique title (title-tag).
- Write a short summary (one paragraph) for every page and add this to the meta tag description.
- Use page heading (h1 to h6) appropriately.
- Add structured data markup.
- Give every web page a unique, descriptive and reachable URL.
- Activate HTTPS for your website.
- Show a useful 404 page (but don’t index it).
- Write high quality, easy to follow and unique content. Use words that the user knows and might search for. Write content for users, not search engines.
- Provide information about who wrote the content.
- Let advertisement not distract users or prevent them for consuming the content.
- The text of a link should be short and descriptive.
- Add ‘nofollow’ to the links in the comments.
- Use lazy loading on images to load pages faster.
- Use descriptive filenames for images.
- Add a short description to every image (using the ‘alt’ attribute).
- Add an image sitemap when your website contains a lot of images.
- Make sure that your website is mobile friendly (responsive).
- Add a blog to your website to let visitors know that you added something new.
- Add the address of your website to all corporate communications.
- Add the information about your company to Google My Business.
Source: Google. (n.d.). Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en
Keep a simple URL structure
- A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible.
- Use readable words when possible.
- Consider using punctuation in your URLs.
Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_).
- Avoid complex URLs that create an unnecessarily high number of seemingly different URLs.
- Consider using a robots.txt file to block Googlebot's access to problematic URLs.
- Wherever possible, avoid the use of session IDs in URLs. Consider using cookies instead.
Source: Google. (n.d.). Keep a simple URL structure. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76329?hl=en&ref_topic=9460495
Qualify your outbound links
Advertisement or paid placement should be marked as ‘sponsored’.
User-generated content (UGC) should be marked as ‘ugc’.
If there is content that you don’t want to associate with your website mark it with ‘nofollow’.
If you need to prevent Google from following a link to a page on your own site, use the robots.txt Disallow rule. To prevent Google from indexing a page, allow crawling and use the noindex robots rule.
Source: Google. (n.d.). Qualify your outbound links to Google. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en&ref_topic=9460495
Avoid creating duplicate content
- If you've restructured your site, use 301 redirects in your .htaccess file to smartly redirect users, Googlebot, and other spiders.
- Use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content.
- If you have many pages that are similar, consider expanding each page or consolidating the pages into one.
- Mark duplicate content as duplicate by using the rel="canonical" link element.
Source: Google. (n.d.). Avoid creating duplicate content. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en&ref_topic=9460495
How Google Search Works
To improve your page indexing:
- Create short, meaningful page titles.
- Use page headings that convey the subject of the page.
- Use text rather than images to convey content. At minimum, annotate your video and images with alt text and other attributes as appropriate.
To improve your serving and ranking:
- Make your page fast to load, and mobile-friendly.
- Put useful content on your page and keep it up to date.
Improve your crawling
- Submit a sitemap.
- Use a simple, human-readable, and logical URL paths for your pages and provide clear and direct internal links.
- Googlebot processes each of the pages it crawls in order to compile a massive index of all the words it sees and their location on each page. In addition, we process information included in key content tags and attributes, such as title tags and alt attributes.
- Somewhere between crawling and indexing, Google determines if a page is a duplicate or canonical of another page. If the page is considered a duplicate, it will be crawled much less frequently.
- Be sure that your page loads fast and is mobile-friendly.
- Consider implementing search result features (structured data) for your site, such as recipe cards or article cards.
- Google's algorithm is constantly being improved; rather than trying to guess the algorithm and design your page for that, work on creating good, fresh content that users want, and following our guidelines.
Source: Google. (n.d.). How Google Search Works. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/70897?hl=en
- Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don't deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
Source: Google. (n.d.). Webmaster Guidelines. Retrieved March 10, 2020, from https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en