Check out our step by step guide below, which shows the ten steps to make sure your site is optimized and ready for the arrival of the search engine bots or spiders.
Step 1) Structured and Relevant URLs - Make sure that your url's are relevant for the page that they are in place for. For example, if you were selling cars in Gloucester, make sure your page where the cars are listed is called something like "used-cars-gloucester" or similar. Getting a keyword or two into the URL is a good idea and also gives the engine even more information about that page.
Step 2) Title Tags - Arguably one of the most important things you need to do when it comes to onsite optimization is to make sure your title tags are relevant, informative and contain a couple of keywords. Every page on your site should have unique title tags, because this is a vital part of how the search engine sees your site and the pages within.
Step 3) Description Tags - When you search for anything in a search engine, you will firstly see the title of the page which is the blue link and then a short description. Search engines can take this description from the first text they find on the site or page, but make sure you write a concise and informative description, per page, as your description tag.
Step 4) Navigation - A website has to be easily accessible and offer a good navigational route throughout, because if it is clumsy and confusing not only will your visitors be turned off, but so will the search engines. Review your navigation regularly after your launch and make sure that everything is within three clicks, as this seems to be the golden rule.
Step 5) Write Unique and Quality Content - The most important thing your site needs is good quality content. The nice thing about basic optimization is that it's not rocket science, it just had work, and the biggest want from any decent search engine is quality content that is unique and of a high standard of quality.
Step 6) Use H1, H2 and H3 Tags - H tags are the main words that you want to tell the search engine about regarding that page. Although you should be using H tags sparingly, these are the perfect way to help the search engine spider understand the relevance of the page, but as mentioned, it is vital you use these correctly and do not try to tick the search engine.
Step 7) Avoid Having More Images Than Text - Although images look nice and there is no denying that every website needs them, it is important to remember that search engines need text to index and therefore rank you accordingly. Make sure you have good quality text and then a few alt tagged images throughout and you won't go far wrong.
Step 8) Create A Robots.txt File - A Robotx.txt file is basically a file that you tell the search engines what to do on your site when they spider. You can tell them not to spider certain pages or block whole directories should you need to, but all engines look for this file so make sure you have one even if you are just "allowing all".
Step 9) Create Your Sitemap - Create an XML and Html sitemap, put the HTML one on your site and upload the XML one to your server and then submit the XML version to the three big search engines via their webmasters control panel. Having a sitemap allows the engines to spider your site more effectively and it is something all of the big search engines now demand from an optimized site.
Step 10) Make Sure You Have A 404 Page - From time to time, pages are removed, links incorrectly followed and pages no longer needed, so make sure you have a simple 404 page which tells the user that the page is no longer there and can let them navigate back to the home page. Search engines want to see that you are making the user experience a good one and having all bases covered with a 404 is a cracking idea.