10 Proven Useful Search Engine Optimization Guidelines, Tips and Tricks

Written by Kevin Liew on 28 Aug 2009
42,167 Views • Techniques


Queness webblog is 6 months old. Before I start this website, I spent few weeks of planning and wordpress was the first blogging platform that came into my mind. I like it because of its simplicity, robustness and plugins. However, thing didnt turn out the way it should. Instead of using wordpress, I decided to write my own blogging platform which will guarantee a greater flexibility and make my life easier in doing website modifications.

Due to that decision, I have to start everything from ground zero, start from planning, design, development, testing, maintenance to optimization. I exposed myself to an unfamiliar area - SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

I have been digging around for SEO tips & tricks, and read a lot of tutorials/articles. After that, during the optimization process, I wrote code to generate unique title and description for every single pages, use URL Rewrite for search engine friendly url, check the keyword density, write dynamic sitemap and constantly monitoring stats from Google analytics and Awstat from cpanel.

I've been doing SEO optimization for this website until now, and I reckon it's a long term maintenance. It's something that you have to monitor constantly. So, this time, I would like to share what I have learnt during that process. These are the rules/tips/tricks I used for Queness.

1. Less Flash and Javascript Generated Content

Yes, flash looks really awesome, but search engine will not able to crawl the content of flash. Of course, you can't put hidden text or redirect search engine bots to somewhere else (you might get banned by Google). The only way to solve this is create an alternate version of the complete site in HTML so that search engines and non-Flash browsers can view it.

However, if you really want to know about how to optimize flash and seo, check out these website:

For Javascript generated website, it's refering to AJAX based website. Since search engine spiders couldn't read javascript, AJAX based website can have pretty bad ranking. I have an article to solve some of the AJAX problems such as back button, and static url for every pages - AJAX Driven Website with jQuery + PHP Tutorial. However, the best thing to do is not to overly use it.

2. Understand the Way Search Engine Crawl Your Website

"Crawler-based search engines are those that use automated software agents (called crawlers) that visit a Web site, read the information on the actual site, read the site's meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects to performing indexing on all linked Web sites as well. The crawler returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. The crawler will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the administrators of the search engine. " - Webopedia

SEO is a long term website maintenance, we need to check the keyword density frequently and the structure of the website to ensure it's "SEO optimized". Luckily, there are a lot of tools that will make our life much more easier:

3. Use Search Engine Friendly URL

Do not miss this, it's very important. URL is one of the ways to include your content keywords. "Even if you can't get your keywords into your domain name, you can put them into your URLs. Search engines read the URLs and assign value to the text they find there." - about.com

We can rewrite dynamic URL by using Mod Rewrite. The following websites teach show us how to do it:

4. Stick to One URL

We should stick to one url only. For example, you have to decide whether to use http://www.websitename.com or http://websitename.com. The main purpose is to gather all the traffic and point it to one destination.

I found this somewhere online, it forces website url to appear as http://websitename.com.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L] 

RewriteRule ^sitemap.xml?$ sitemap.php [NC,L] #Rewrite sitemap.php to sitemap.xml

5. Title and Meta Tag

Title and Description Meta tag should be generated dynamically according to the content of the website and they should be unique as well. Usually, the title will be the heading of the article, and description should be the excerpt of the content.

Some people say, META Keyword tag is dead. I reckon so, but I'd suggest to put some keyword phases in it. You wouldn't know, some search engines might still using it.

You can always use google search engine to test some keywords. Choose keyword phrases that are most relevant and specific to what your web page is about. Think from the perspective of someone searching for what you are offering on your site. Ask, as if you were they: What would I search for if I am looking for something on your page?

6. Put Keywords in Anchor/Links, Heading and Body

Always remember, use your keyword phrase a lot, but not too much. Otherwise, it'd get too spammy. Search engines recognize keyword phase in heading (h1, h2, h3, h4...), and usually the heading has greater chances of getting crawled compared to surrounding text.

7. Generate Sitemap Dynamically

Unless you have a website with static content/fixed structure, otherwise, we should make sure that the sitemap is generated dynamically. Everytime we make a new page/article/post/news, it should be included in the sitemap.

Of course, don't forget to submit your sitemap file to search engines. Google can crawl new content pretty quick. Based on my experience, it took 1-2 hours to crawl my new post.

Anyway, If you generate sitemap dynamically, you can rewrite dynamic URL by using Mod Rewrite. The following websites teach you how to do it:

This is the Mod Rewrite code to rewrite the sitemap.php to sitemap.xml:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L] 

RewriteRule ^sitemap.xml?$ sitemap.php [NC,L] #Rewrite sitemap.php to sitemap.xml

8. Use robots.txt

When a search engine spider comes to your website, it search for a file called robots.txt. In robots.txt, it tells search engine which files can be indexed. The following robots.txt file will allow all search engine spiders to index all files of your Website.

/* index all */
User-agent: *

/* dont index any of the files */
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

/* don't index all files in this folder */
User-agent: *
Disallow: /admin

/* only allow googlebot to index your website */
User-agent: googlebot

/* you can also include your sitemap in robots.txt */
/* I'm using this one */
User-agent: *
Sitemap: http://www.websitename.com/sitemap.xml

If you want to know more about it check this website

SEO Tools - Robots.txt Tutorial

9. Exchange Links with Other Relevant Website

Link exchange program is to build up backlink. For web design and development website, we can take the advantages of CSS/Website Gallery showcase website to build backlinks, and also other methods such as blog directories, affiliate program, friend website and forums. From my previous post, I have gathered a huge number of CSS galleries.

10. Use Google Analytics

I found myself checking Google Analytic Stat daily. I love it because it has all the data I need to analyse web traffic. It has 4 majors section:

  • Visitors
  • Traffic Sources
  • Content
  • Goal

In every section, it has comprehensive statistic, data, drill down report and the level of details are simply impressive. Afterall, it's FREE! This tool is highly recommended.

Final words

I hope these tips will able to assists to optimize your website. After we have done the SEO, we can start promoting our website to all sorts of free medias out there, which will be my follow up to this post next week. Stay tuned!

Join the discussion

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kevin Admin 15 years ago
Hi Chase, Thanks for that clarifications.
For #3, I read some articles before, search engine like Google, they do index dynamic url, but the rank will be lower than non-dynamic (seo friendly) url. Someone had done the test before. However, with the new caffeine from google, they might have changed the rules.
Chase 15 years ago
3) From various things I have read this is no longer a big issue as far as SEO. However for your user its much easier to read something that doesnt have ?title=10-proven-useful....etc. Mod_rewrite can have a lot of other fun uses too. Ive just created mine to allow me to specify multiple css files into the single stylesheet call.

7) XSLT is also something to look into. You can customize your xml sitemap to look like the rest of your site so you dont have some plain boring xml doc. This can be useful for your users who may be searching around on it.

8) Is very useful. The only problem is if you have a lot of hidden pages it can be a pain updating it every time. There is another way you can do this in the head of your page.

Sorry for the long responses. Really like the article. Simple SEO is the best SEO.
resourcesmix.info 15 years ago
Great Seo tips, really helpful. thanks for sharing!
benivolent Web Design 15 years ago
Nice contribution. A great introductory lesson for SEO. But I am just wondering, if thousand or even more website implementing the same steps, then how will this help for SEO.
temizlik sirketi 15 years ago
Thank you.Genelde bildiğimiz bazende uyguladığımız şeyler.
web designing 15 years ago
well your proven techniques are working fine and now i am very happy but thank you that you share such valuable information with us!
FAQPAL 15 years ago
Excellent list.

Amazing how many sites have dropped the meta tags for keywords and description.
Max 14 years ago
These are 10 great tips to how to maximize the traffic to your website without spending a dime. The first tip was especially interesting. It is very tempting to use a lot of flashy graphics on your website, but no one will be able to find your site if it is all flash graphics and text. Optimize your website and don\'t spend any money on online advertising. Check out the article here http://topcweb.com/content/stop-wasting-money-online-advertising to see why.
temizlik ÅŸirketleri 14 years ago
Thanks Youu
movers 14 years ago
Excellent information , lots of helpful tips, I have been raking my brain trying to find ways as to how does one invite traffic into my blog..
SEO Services 14 years ago
Really nice blog, very informative. Thanks dude for wonderful posting. Keep it up in the future as well.
internet marketing ireland 14 years ago
Thanks for sharing! this good recap what you need to do but then is more advance techiques and backlinks is a nightmare :(