Search Engine Optimization. Real? or Scam?
My contention is that there are some legitimate additions you can add to your site to help search engines find and navigate your site in order to provide their users with the most relevant results. There are probably tricks, but tricking them really doesn’t benefit you OR your visitors OR the search engine. So what are some things you can do?
- Sitemap – Did you know you can actually tell Google what pages you want it to parse? Not only will it report back to you with what errors it encountered and what pages it found, it will also tell you what keywords it found. So if you don’t like the keywords it found, you know you have to adjust the content in your site.
- RSS Feeds – I don’t have proof that this will help your site directly. However, the fact is that it will bring traffic to your site. Not only can your regular visitors keep tabs on what is new, they can also use browser tools to add things to http://del.icio.us and http://www.digg.com. And Google themselves admit that having links to your site from other high-quality websites will improve your rankings.
- RSS Feeds (Part 2) – Windows Vista has alot of built-in support for RSS Feeds. This gives you direct access to your customers. Imagine, every time you post a news article or update to your site, your visitors/customers get a notification that pops up on the desktop. Sweet.
- HTML Validation – Whether you use HTML or XHTML, it behooves you to have validated code. Search engines are good at parsing pages and finding out about your content, but it is wise to make it as easy on them as possible by following standards compliance.
We have case studies of some of our websites and found that ones that follow these four tips, have had improved search ranks within a month and sites that didn’t adhere to these tips had slow ranking improvements, on the order of 9-12 months.