SEO

10 SEO Tips to Remember While Launching a Site

It takes months to properly plan a new site launch or even a redesign. With months of time invested, and hundreds (or thousands) of man hours on the line — you need to make sure your new site is ready to rock from day one.

It is a common belief that a well designed web site is one that lacks optimization. While many times that does in fact hold true, it does not have to be. With the right communication in place, your designers can produce both great looking and functional web sites that do not compromise your ability to optimize.

Here are ten quick tips to pass along to your designers, your writers and your developers to help them create the best site from the beginning…

1.) Move JavaScript and CSS Off Page
Moving CSS and JS files off the page does two things. First, it creates cleaner code that is more easily managed. More importantly though, it frees up space that engines consider to be prime real estate. Let’s say a spider lends preferential treatment to content that appears in the first 20KB of a document. If 15KB at the start of your document is verbose JavaScript and CSS coding, you have created an uphill battle from the start…

2.) Code Validity is Key
Always make sure that the final code of your pages can fully validate according to W3C standards. Failure to validate could create accessibility issues — and the engines simply dislike that. They want to push their users out to complete sites that work for everyone.

3.) Browsable Navigation Links
Encapsulating links to internal pages in Flash or JavaScript is dangerous. While some engines can often find links from inside of these coding blocks, it is not guaranteed. Therefore, it is wise to always have an HTML compliant navigational structure. Examples include footer text links, a DHTML menu, etc.

4.) Use a Structured Content Hierarchy
A theme based approach to optimization is the most successful one. Imagine all of the content on your web site to mimic a family tree. Each layer down, there’s more content that fits the overall theme. By nature, the further you drill down — the more specific your content becomes.

5.) URL Construction & Query String URLs
Query strings in URLs are less of a problem today than they once were. Unfortunately, they can still create issues for some engines — and it’s our goal to make the most of the search industry. With this in mind I would recommend that you work with your coding teams to ensure that query strings are kept to a minimum.

6.) Limit Flash Usage
Putting all of your content in a Flash file creates a difficult platform from which to optimize. While it can be done, the results will not come as easily as if Flash was used as a compliment to the rest of the page. Thankfully, with CSS streamlined video on the ‘net, Flash is no longer a necessity. Remember, if you have to use Flash — cut down how much information is in there and fine alternative ways to deliver the content.

7.) Natural Keyword Integration
Repeat after me… “I will not stuff pages with keywords!” Like the engines, I’m tired of seeing web sites that would be great if not for their blatant use of keyword stuffing. Listen up folks… Keyword density and repetition is a thing of the past. Engines are more about off page SEO now, and you need to write clear and concise content that addresses the user. Engines are keen to what makes sense contextually… Don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes.

8.) Local Information Integration
Sounds all technical and precise, but it’s quite simple. If you sell antiques in Tampa Florida, then include that in your site. How? List (in HTML formatted text of course) where you are located. Include a link to Google (or Yahoo) Maps to help hammer home the point. Search is moving to become more focused on users at a local level. Therefore, building sites with this in mind should be a given.

9.) Avoid Duplicate Content
This is pretty self explanatory, and it’s an SEO principal that has been hammered home many times. Why keep on hammering? Because it’s that important! Be sure that you don’t get lazy and copy content from one page to the next. Each page should be specifically targeting one major idea, and the text needs to reflect that. Think you’re at risk? Try something like this free tool allows you to determine the percentage of similarity between any two pages

10.) Launch With the Proper Foundation
Is your new site equipped with a robots.txt file? An XML sitemap? RSS Feeds? Before you launch any new web site you need to run a full QA test to ensure that…

• all pages load properly
• no browser compatibility issues exist
• SEO elements (titles, meta tags, alt tags, etc.) are in place
• spiders can discover all pages
• robots.txt validates
• sitemap.xml(.gz) works

Doing this will really cut down on any potential errors out of the gates, and will put you in a position to succeed.

Involved in the industry since 1999, Eric currently manages organic optimization at a Fortune 500 organization. In addition to contributing here on Search Engine Journal, Eric maintains a blog and consulting business at www.ericlander.com.

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26 thoughts on “10 SEO Tips to Remember While Launching a Site

  1. Lucky, I’d consider that to be covered in the last item — but it’s certainly an important enough aspect to repeat many times over…

    Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hi! don’t forget that repetitions may be usefull in some cases, especiallly when you have activities which need two words (or more) to be completely describes.

  3. I appreciate your point about accessibility. I think it’s incredibly important to ensure that your web pages are usable by humans and search engines. It’s really difficult, however, to get pages that validate when you use a content management system. That’s the problem I face at my current position. I think that cms’s create extraneous or bad code that is very difficult to control.

  4. Jessica, working with a CMS can be difficult, but there are a number of add ons now available for some of the more popular open source packages out there.

    If it’s a homegrown system, then it becomes increasingly important (in my mind) to get clean code in place. Otherwise, the problems simply compound.

  5. 1.) Move JavaScript and CSS Off Page

    I think I have to work a little on this… I never thought that this could penalize my site. Thanks for the tips!

  6. For flash content wouldn’t you try to make each page of flash it’s own individual page with an extension on the url. So it would be something.com/widget1 and another that would be something.com/widget2. Can’t you use the flash object method and put all the necessary content on the page under the flash so the spiders can get to it.

  7. Great stuff! Most web site designers don’t line up all available SEO elements: title, meta description, meta keywords, h1, alt tags (and more) with both their internal and inbound link text. Simple changes to existing content can go a long way to improve web site rankings.

  8. It is a must to draw out a SEO plan before you embark into building your website. These are benchmarks that you can refer to ensure that your site has the proper SEO framework.

  9. Biggest and best tip here is to think about and implement SEO before and as you are building your site. A lot of people build a site and then think about doing the SEO, as if it is some kind of after-thought thing you do now to get traffic.

    I will add one major “must do” tip for SEO. You must have inbound links to your site. Inbound links are links that are pointing to your site from other websites. Links are the currency of the web. Links are how people and search bots will find your site. Start getting links…

  10. Fantastic Information! Honestly This will be Very Useful for SEO.

    The title of your site is very important for multiple reasons. A good title gives a visitor a clue where he’s located, but the most important value of your title tag is the search engine purpose.

    The search engines put a lot of value in these titles. The first words in your title are the most important for ranking higher, but it is also important to grab the attention of the visitor when he is scanning the search engine results. It’s therefore important to put your most important keywords as far upfront as possible, followed by your company/blog name.

    ——-
    Alex

  11. It’s really difficult, however, to get pages that validate when you use a content management system. That’s the problem I face at my current position. I think that cms’s create extraneous or bad code that is very difficult to control.
    So how can i get out of this problem and get my pages validated ?