November 9, 2011

Is Your Website SEO Sexy?

Prepping for SEO during website development

You’ve come up with a seductive web design, your product offer is irresistible and you’ve written compelling content to woo visitors. So you’re all ready to optimize, right? Hold up. Stop right there.

When launching or re-launching your website, you need to make sure that it is in tip-top SEO shape BEFORE rolling up your sleeves to start optimizing urls, tags and content. Successful SEO requires advanced planning. It is not just an afterthought.

Here’s are some useful tips to help you squeeze the most juice out of your SEO efforts.

  • Usability: Clean design, easy navigation and fast loading pages will keep bounce rates low and make search engines happy.
  • W3C compliant code: In order to crawl and index a website, a search engine needs to be able to read and understand its code. A page coded in compliance with W3c standards is easier for search engines to parse.
  • Clean code: Cleaner, lighter code has a positive effect on rankings. Limit the use of tables and other code-heavy elements. More content than code is a good thing.
  • Avoid full Flash like the plague. Instead, use JavaScript and jquery plugins if need be.
  • Don’t ever place text in images or Flash elements. Search robots can only read the text in your source code.
  • Don’t use frames. Frames only confuse search robots and may cause them to abandon your website. If you absolutely must use them, just be sure NOT to use them on your home page. When you do use frames, always provide a sitemap which includes the frame content pages.
  • Put JavaScript in external files. This improves management of documents and lightens page bulk. Search engines do not like to see tons of data before actual content. Placing JavaScript in external files solves this issue.
  • Place content before the navigation menu to make content more accessible to search robots.
  • Place your keyword-rich menu on the top of your page (after content, of course). It will make life easier for users and robots alike.
  • If you absolutely must use JavaScript drop-down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the robots to follow.
  • Use text links in footer to improve navigation.
  • Avoid the use of dynamic URLs. Search engines don’t like them and users prefer to link to clean, keyword-rich static URLs.
  • Outbound linking: Links pointing out from the website should be relevant and should focus on subject matter that is directly related to content within your website.
  • Internal linking: Place direct links from your homepage to the most important pages of your website to help SEO and to improve conversion rates.
  • Cross linking: For links within your website, use keyword-rich anchor text to describe the page being linked to. Never use “Click here” as your anchor text.
  • If you have a blog, make sure it is under the same domain as your website. This sounds obvious but we see the contrary all the time. If your blog has a different domain, you’ll miss out on VERY valuable indexation opportunities.

Example: If your domain is, your blog’s URL should look like:       and NOT or

  • Make sure your site is compatible with all browsers and mobile devices.
  • Create a Google Analytics account and make sure you’ve properly inserted the tracking code into your site.
  • Set up your website on Google Webmaster Tools. This is one of the most essential SEO assets around. After you’ve created your account, be sure to create and submit your sitemap.  You can easily create one using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
  • Submit your website to search engines to speed up the natural indexation process.

Once you have all these bases covered, you’ll be are ready to log into the VFO and start choosing your keywords and optimizing your new website.

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