I recently read a very useful guide from Google that was intended initially to help the teams within Google, however they released this too the public in the interest of helping businesses target their SEO efforts more effectively.
These tips aren’t fail-safes to getting a number 1 Google ranking, however they will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand the content listed on your pages.
1. Create unique, accurate page titles
These are displayed in search results and are key to giving people the right information for them to want to select your page. Untitled or New Page 1 are big no no’s. Don’t choose a title that has no relevance to your page.
2. Create unique title tags for each page
Using a single title tag across all of your sites pages or a large group of pages makes it difficult for the search engines to know how each page is distinctive to the others
3. Use brief but descriptive titles
Too many words will mean they are cut off and not displayed. This also makes it harder for a potential customer to know why they should click through to your page.
4. Make use of the ‘description’ meta tag
This is what is displayed in search engines underneath the title of your page. 1 – 2 sentences is enough and utilise the Google Webmaster Tools (content analysis section) to see if your description is too long or could be improved.
5. Make your site easy to navigate
Using structures such as a ‘breadcrumb’ list allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the home page.
6. Offer quality content and services
An interesting site will attract more users naturally, the more users on your site, the quicker search engines increase the ranking of your pages
7. Improve the structure of your URL’s
Create descriptive categories and filenames for your documents. This makes it easier for the crawlers, and keeps your site better organised. URLs are also displayed in search results.
8. Optimise your use of images
Use the alt attribute to describe the picture in case it can’t be viewed by your user, and to make it easier for image searches to categorise your image.
9. Use heading tags appropriately
Use them sparingly across a page; they are used to present structure to your users. These tags should be used as a visual cue to your users that the text is important.
10. Create fresh, unique content
By having a news, articles or blog section on your page and keeping this consistently updated it helps to bring new users to your page. Make sure you write easy to read text, avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
11. Make use of free webmaster tools
Major search engines provide free tools to help you identify issues that, if addressed, can help you perform better in search results
12. Utilise social media to boost clicks through to your site
Avoid attempting to use social media sites to post every small thing or change on your site, go for big interesting items.