7 steps to make a site search engine friendly

To promote a site and to obtain that all the pages are indexed by search engines, this handbook is essential.
Because even if a site has complete and interesting contents, it will be invisible on the Web, without an action of indexing on directories, search engines and other sites likely to bring backlinks.

Matt Cutts, in an interview with the magazine USA Today, and following the experience he had with his chiropractor complaining that Google did not bring him visitors, gives some advice to beginners.
For SEO, meta tags, keywords in the page and getting backlinks.
To promote the site, creating a blog to talk about his products.
For site management, using Analytics and the webmaster tools that Google offers for free.
All this is explained in detail in this manual.

SEO can also require a modification of the presentation or the addition of accessories in the page. Note that abusing methods for artificially improving the position of a site (such as a page full of useless keywords) can lead you in the "sandbox".

  1. Preparing the pages
  2. Title
  3. Meta tags
  4. Links and backlinks
  5. Sitemap
  6. RSS
  7. Publicize

1. Preparing the pages

Contents

Presentation

Keywords

Navigation, internal links

External links

Avoid beginner mistakes

2. Title tag

The head section of each page must contain a title tag.

It contains the title of the page, up to 80 characters. This tag is absolutely required.

  1. The text can include the domain name of the site for the home page, but it should not be repeated on the other pages.
  2. Titles must absolutely be different on each page else page can be badly indexed by engines.
  3. Titles must be sentences and not lists of keywords and must reflect the contents of the page.
  4. The ideal is that the title gives net surfers desire to read the page, it is useful in the lists of results of search engines.
    For example, according to the experience of a webmaster, adding "Every" in front of "Tools for sale" is sufficient to increase the results.
  5. The title of the TITLE tag could be more complete than in the page, because the latter is seen in the context of the site, when the first is seen out of context on results page.

3. Meta tags

The format of a meta tag is as following:

<meta name="" content="">

To name is assigned the name of the meta: "description", "robots, and to content the text or commands.

DESCRIPTION

Description of the page (or of the site). Google displays only 160 characters.
It is especially useful on the home page of the site which will be indexed by directories, like for the pages having little contents and mainly images. In the article "Improve snippets with a meta description makeover", Google advices to write a relevant description that must be unique and not the same on all pages. Example:

<meta name="description" content="The topic of my page" >

ROBOTS

Directives for the search engines, the default is "all":

FRAGMENT

<meta name="fragment" content="!">

This tag informs search engine that this is an Ajax page et that there is a dynamic content to index (see the Ajax section).

Optional meta tags

These tags may be useful while not mandatory:

These tags do not have any SEO utility, but they can be used for specialized tools:

References and tools

4. Links and backlinks

The format of internal and external links is important because it is used by search engines to better understand the purpose of a page and because users can take the link and anchor as it is for their own pages. Google recommends to create a single format for all internal links on the same page. The anchor should be similar to the title of this page.
About the file name, it is preferable that it is unique, even if we could use the same name in different directories, and all lower-case.

A breadcrumb, list of directories or key pages in the header is a good thing because it helps to navigation, as well that a hierarchical content into sections and sub-sections with local links.

Back links are essential as that are considered to rank pages in results because they testify the popularity of the site. Links from important sites and people have much more value. On this topic, see the article how to get backlinks
Google provides a means of increasing its popularity and also add links to its own website: create a blog to talk about his products. Wordpress is a good tool to create your blog.
To have a significant value, the links must come from different sources and independent of the site, so even different owners. Texts that refer to the site without link tag are taken into account also by the Panda algorithm.

Directories

Directories are an alternative when a site is launched. But if after a time it did still only self-submitted backlinks, it will have no positive effect.
To submit a site on Dmoz, it is necessary to find the exact category of the site in the tree structure of the directory. The submission is followed by an examination before acceptance, and the site must have certain qualities:

The time of acceptance after submission in dmoz is variable and can exceed one month.

About other directories, to know which ones have the most visitors, made a request on search engines with two or three key words: those which characterize best your site + the "directory" word. And consider the first pages of results. Avoid directories that do not appear.

I tried a referencing campaign (for another site) in the past on a selection of directories supposed to have visitors, and it resulted approximately 500 more backlinks (although if submitted the site to 50 directories!) and a negligible improvement of the traffic. Most of the links disappeared with time. It is an experience not to reproduce today.

Mistake to avoid

The registration to a multitude of directories to improve the ranking can create a sudden increase in the number of links towards the site but this has no future. However major directories such as dmoz.org have on the contrary a durable effect. Avoid also a same description on several directories.

5. Sitemap

Creating a map of your site, and submitting it to Google, Yahoo and Live Search, can improve the indexing of your pages. Moreover you can have a minimal control on the behavior of the robots of the engines.
To create a sitemap file is very tiresome. But there are software which provides scripts with graphic interface and makes it possible to edit it more easily.
A generator of sitemap, Simple Map, with a graphic interface for Windows is provided here.

After at least a month before the Google's update you can check the new popularity of your site with the Webmaster Tools from Google which will displays the number of links pointing to your site. Other similar tools are linked in the liste of tools for webmaster, on this site.

6. RSS

To add an RSS syndication file at root of your site, which contains the list of the best pages or the last articles or last posts, contributes notably to the promotion of the site and obtainment of backlinks.
For more details and to obtain a free RSS editor, read the article: Promotion of a Web site with RSS.

An RSS feed is not helpful at all sites. It is useful especially to announce news and therefore to merchant sites or sites or news, and not to encyclopedic sites.

7. Publicize

Launching a professional website should be accompanied by an advertising campaign with a service such as Adwords.

Some suppliers of domain names with higher cost propose a free optimization to justify the price. The main part is in page-setting by the exact definition and the insertion of meta tags in your pages.

See 10 ideas to publicize your site instead.

Documents

References