SEO-News posted today an article that recommends the 32 most important SEO tools. Quite frankly, some of them aren’t so important. There is disagreement among SEOs as to which of them are the most important. I’ve narrowed the list down to what most SEOs would consider the absolute essential SEO do’s and don’ts:
1. Make sure your site is not under construction or incomplete with little or no unique content.
If your site is under construction or is incomplete then visitors who see it may decide not to come back. Get your site finished and upload it all at once.
2. When your site is ready, submit it to Google, Yahoo, MSN and ASK.com. Consider also submitting to other search engines but most of them are powered by these four leading search engines. Also submit your site to reputable high PR web directories, open directories, yellow pages and social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us, furl, etc.
The search engines will crawl your site anyway so submitting to them is not as important as it used to be. But I’d do it anyway just to ensure a quick crawl because if wait then it might be awhile before your site is crawled. Definitely submit your site to directories, online yellow pages, and social bookmarking sites.
5. Create unique and rich content sites. Avoid duplicate content. Do not create multiple pages, sub-domains, domains, mirror sites or sites with different domain names but the same content.
Bottom line: No duplicate content. But let’s cover what that is and is not. If you publish an article that you distribute through article directories, that’s not duplicate content. Publish it first on your website. If you publish an article that was on someone else’s website and isn’t an article distributed through article directories then that is duplicate content. It’s OK to set up a subdomain if it has original content, but not if it has duplicate content.
6. Check your keywords and make sure they are relevant and actually are contained in your site. Avoid keyword stuffing.
Good keyword management is key.
8. Make your TITLE and ALT tags descriptive, simple and keyword rich. Avoid irrelevant and repeated keywords.
Absolutely essential: Make them relevant.
12. Optimize pages with Headings (H1, H2, H3..) containing your site’s primary keywords.
These tags are some of the most important elements on your pages. Use them wisely.
13. Validate your CSS and HTML. Check for errors and broken links.
Broken links will hurt you. Be sure you have no broken links and the code is clean.
14. If your site contains dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), make sure you use SEO friendly URLs. Search engine spiders have difficulty indexing dynamic pages.
If you use an open source CMS like Joomla or Drupal then you definitely want to make sure your URLs are good search engine friendly URLs.
15. Maximum links per page must be fewer than 100. Avoid the risk of being flagged as a link farm by search engines.
If Google thinks you are a link farm they will kill you. Actually, they’ll kill your site.
19. Use a Robots.txt file to manage and control search engine spiders that index your site. You can allow and disallow spiders and choose directories you want to be crawled and indexed. With bad bots or spam bots you need to modify your HTACCESS file to properly and effectively manage bots or spiders. Visit http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/faq.html to learn more about the Robots.txt file.
The robots.txt file can be an effective way to close off spiders to pages that don’t need to be crawled, secure pages, etc.
20. Do not attempt to present different content to search engines than what you show to your site visitors.
This is one of the most important things for any website. Never show a different page to a search engine spider that your human visitors will not see.
21. Avoid dirty tricks and exploiting loop holes to improve search engine ranking.
Follow approved tactics and you’ll do well.
22. Avoid links to bad neighborhoods such as web spammer, link farm, phishing, hacker, crack, gambling, porn and scam sites. Linking to them will greatly affect your search engine rankings.
Deadly. Very deadly.
23. Do not attempt to join in link schemes, excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging and link exchange web rings.
If you have sites that link back and forth to each other then make sure that they are relevant. You don’t want Google to discount your links because they aren’t relevant.
25. Do not use hidden text and links. Show the search engines what you show to your vistors. It will greatly affect your site’s reputation.
Didn’t we say that already? No hidden links or pages.
27. Make your site useful and informative.
This is the most important thing from a user’s perspective. If you want visitors to return again and again then you’ve got to make your site useful.
28. Improve your link building. Link to high PR websites. Quality of relevant links is far more important than quantity. Links will greatly improve your site’s visibility, popularity and ranking. Search engines consider links as votes to your site.
Key phrase here – quality is better than quantity.
29. Check your page link structure. Every page should be reachable by a single static text link.
Bad site navigation and architecture issues will hurt your search engine rankings.
There are other SEO tips that are important, but these are the absolute essentials. Keep it clean, deal honestly, and don’t try to trick the search engines.