Solid up-to-date Search engine advice

Paul Boag

There is a lot of out of date advice online regarding search engine optimisation. However, there are some underlying principles that remain true.

There is a new article on "A list Apart" that looks at the issue of "Ambient findability".

Although not primarily focused on search engine optimisation, the article did list a few excellent hints on improving your search engine ranking. What I particularly liked about this list is that it does not include any clever tricks to fool the search engines into improving your ranking. Instead, this list contains universal advice that will work will all search engines and will not quickly become out of date when the search engines change their algorithm.

  • Determine the most common keywords and phrases (with optimal conversion rates) that users from your target audience are entering into search engines.
  • Include those keywords and phrases in your visible body text, navigation links, page headers and titles, metadata tags, and alternative text for graphic images.
  • Proceed cautiously (or not at all) when considering the use of drop-down menus, image maps, frames, dynamic URLs, JavaScript, DHTML, Flash, and other coding approaches that may prevent a search engine spider from crawling your pages.
  • Create direct links from your home page, sitemap, and navigation system to important destination pages to increase their page popularity ranking.
  • Use RSS feeds with ample backlinks to your site’s target destinations to encourage subscriptions and visits and boost organic search rankings.
  • Reduce HTML code bloat and overall file size by embracing web standards to ensure accessibility and improve keyword density.

I would love to hear your ideas for "generic" search engine optimisation that avoids clever gimmicks.