Top 20 SEO DOs and DON’Ts

by Aaron Bradley on June 25, 2009

in SEO

Top 20 SEO DOs:

  1. Make changes that benefit users. Focus on the user and all else (including rankings) will follow.
  2. Create and maintain sensible and consistent navigation paths.
  3. Be continually aware that each and every page on your site is a potential customer entry point. Think laterally.
  4. Label each and every page clearly; describing its content in words your users would most likely employ.
  5. Pay attention to detail. Google takes hundreds of factors into account when ranking web pages, and so should you.
  6. Continually create content that your users will find beneficial.
  7. Inform the search engines of new pages added to your site by submitting sitemaps and providing spider paths.
  8. Use text to qualify or augment non-textual content such as images or videos.
  9. Continually educate colleagues and collaborate with them in regard to SEO techniques.
  10. Continually use data to analyze the impact of SEO techniques.
  11. Streamline your code to make it as lightweight and elegant as possible.
  12. Ensure there's one page that is a champion for each of your most important keywords.
  13. Pursue direct links from relevant sites aggressively.
  14. Insist on site map diagrams and wireframes when developing or reworking templates, sections or sites.
  15. Utilize hierarchal structures whenever possible, from individual pages to folder nesting to site navigation.
  16. Use CSS liberally and JavaScript sparingly.
  17. Be patient. Good rankings take time; quickly-won rankings almost always evaporate.
  18. Be transparent with your results: there are no bad rankings, only opportunities for improvement.
  19. Remember that everyone associated with your business is a potential link partner, including your customers, your affiliates and your advertising partners.
  20. Take the time to read blogs, participate and forums and stay on top of developments in the SEO world. Search engines are dynamic.

Top 20 SEO DON'Ts:

  1. Don't make changes for improved search rankings that negatively impact a user's experience. The user comes first.
  2. Don't duplicate content, knowingly or through technical carelessness.
  3. Don't use parameters that become part of a page's permanent URL structure.
  4. Don't create a page that is not linked to an appropriate parent page.
  5. Don't knowingly let a page 404 (file not found). Redirect dead pages to new pages relevant to that old page.
  6. Don't use Flash when HTML can achieve the same user experience.
  7. Don't make your users search for categories: provide a click path.
  8. Don't give away your link love without good reason (i.e., a benefit).
  9. Don't put pages in competition with one another for your most important keywords.
  10. Don't use gray- or black-hat techniques that could put your search engine rankings at risk.
  11. Don't deploy SEO improvements en masse. When possible, roll out changes incrementally.
  12. Don't rely on top-down navigation to direct users to content. Think laterally.
  13. Don't put content in pop-ups.
  14. Don't use splash pages.
  15. Don't use coding techniques that are less than optimal for SEO just because they're easy.
  16. Don't trust vendors about SEO issues. Their intention is to sell a product, not to improve your search engine rankings. As often as not, vendor SEO "solutions" cause SEO problems.
  17. Don't panic when your rankings take a hit. Rankings fluctuate, and if your rankings don't bounce back quickly, a considered strategy will work better than a band aid.
  18. Don't take the search engines' advice at face value.
  19. Don't rely on anecdotal or even expert advice in making keyword selection choices. Use data.
  20. Don't put off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday. It takes long enough to rise in the search engine rankings, so any delay is amplified.

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