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Google, Bing Yahoo Search Engine Optimization Checklist - Part One

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Search Engine Optimization Checklist

Optimizing your website can be a daunting task. The time required to effectively research, plan and execute a search optimization strategy is significant. This list, while not exhaustive, is a good place to start. It will help you get right down to doing hands-on SEO.

Make Your Website Crawler Friendly

  • XML sitemaps provide crawlers with a road map for your site. Adobe Business Catalyst creates and updates a sitemap automatically (although you still need to submit it to Google, Bing etc). If you are not using Business Catalyst then you'll need to create a sitemap and upload it to the root directory of your website.
  • Make sure your website's navigation provides easy access for crawlers. Be careful with JavaScript and jQuery navigation. Navigation that is not an integral part of a page's HTML markup will hamper and possibly block access to parts of your website. 
  • Don't bury content in Flash, image or other rich media files. Crawlers read text. Let's do that one more time. Crawlers read text. If you have important information in an image or a Flash object it will be invisible to crawlers (Flash does have options to inform crawlers of content using a description but many content providers and designers fail to implement it).
  • Create a clean, logical, relevant, keyword-rich URL structure for your website. Pages named 'Home' don't cut it anymore. The URLs used to access the content pages of your website are very important to crawlers.
  • Create a robots.text file... carefully! The robots.txt file controls crawler access to your site. If there are certain areas of your site that you want to mark as off limits for crawlers this is where you do it. Beware that you can make your entire site off limits with this file so take care.

Better Crawling Through Site Structure

  • Hierarchies that employ logical groupings of content are very effective in helping you achieve optimal search engine results. One helpful process is creating themes for your website. Using analytics tools can be very helpful in making adjustments to content structure as your site evolves.
  • Leverage internal links to create a well-connected, highly search engine visible website. Internal links are often overlooked as an effective SEO tool but they can help achieve higher rankings by ensuring that your all pages are found by crawlers, by enhancing page to keyword relationships and by increasing page ranking for your websites internal pages.
  • Search engine 'friendly' URLs are a critical component for effective SEO. Adobe Business Catalyst provides SEO friendly URLS and customization options that help create a highly optimized site structure that crawlers will love.
In Google, Bing Yahoo Search Engine Optimization Checklist - Part Two we'll talk about On-Page SEO techniques that will help give you the best possible starting point for your search engine optimization strategy.