When it comes to smart SEO practices it's important to be disciplined in the way you manage and build your content. The smarter you are about your content the better your inbound marketing will be. Search engine optimization is nothing new, but sometimes it becomes very easy to lose sight of what is important. What it all comes down to in the end, is sticking to the little details to build up things such as your pagerank. Today I will share with you some of the best ways to stay disciplined in building out your websites content.
One of the first and most overlooked items that should be a must have on every website is a sitemap. A sitemap is not only useful for visitors coming to your site, but it also plays a very important role in your search engine ranking. With your sitemap you can submit it to search engines and this gives them a guide to scan your websites content. If you want to submit your sitemap to Google you need to set up a Google Webmasters Tools account. From this free account from Google you can submit your websites sitemap as well as many other useful SEO practices that we will get to later. Bing also has a webmasters tools account that you can sign up for and submit your sitemap too. If your website is built using Joomla check out the Xmap extension. It is easy to set up and use, as well as supports many other third party content extensions. If you are using Wordpress check out Google XML Sitemaps, it is simple to use and has automatic pinging built in. If you are a Drupal user check out the Site Map module.
When it comes to having images on your web page it is very important to let search engines know what that image is. When it comes down to it search engines are just robots scouring the web for content, they don't SEE things they READ things. So you have to let the seach crawling spiders know that your image is of. This is done through many attributes that you can apply to your image tag. The first being the actuall name of your file. If you upload an image titled IMG_8574.jpg this gives no indication of what your image is. However, if you upload colorado-skyline.jpg your image will now have greater hold on what your image and page is about. Another key attribute is the alternative text tag. This tag is a MUST HAVE on every single image you upload and insert into your content. If your image goes missing or if a users network connection is slow, your alt text will be used in place of loading up your image. This is also helpful for users who are using screen readers and are visually imparied, as their screen reader will read the alt tag to the user. There are even more best practices just for images but that will covered in a later post.
What do we mean by Semantic Markup? Basically it means following the rules of writing html on your web page. For instance, we used to use html tags that changed the style or look of our content, such as the bold tag <b>. This tag made your text bold, but if you want your text to hold more weight on the page a better tag would be the <strong> tag. This actually tells search engines and screen readers that the text inside that tage is meant to hold more weight. Another part of semantics is your Header tags (<h1>). These tags tell the search engines what the entire page is about, and it also grabs many of your keywords from these titles.
This is a great first look at how to create and curate better SEO friendly websites. As we continue this series we will begin to delve deeper into how to apply this in your daily web building practices. Hopefully you now have a greater grasp on how to create better content and generate better inbound marketing to your website.