No matter how good your website or web application is, if people can’t find it, then it doesn’t do anyone any good.
The Secret to SEO
So how do you game Google? How do you trick search engines to put you at the top?
The “secret” to search engines is that they are built to return the most useful relevant results. All you have to do is to build your site in accordance with standards, common sense, and have it be helpful or useful. The upside to taking these elements into consideration is that not only will it help people find your site, but often it will improve the experience on the site as well.
I’m going to cover aspects of your site such as head tags, semantic tags, standards and accessibility, URL structures, limitations to be aware of, how to test what GoogleBot sees, tools to check your site with, and how to boost your Google ranking using means beyond just fixing up your site.
These pointers will apply to any website, but I will make some specific recommendations and provide some sample code for ATG sites, which are often not very SEO friendly, despite best intentions.
Head Meta Tags – Title, Description, and Keywords
The first important things that the search engine will see in your HTML are the tags in the head section of the HTML. There are three that we care about, Title, Description, and Keywords.
The Title meta tag should uniquely identify the content of the page. Every page should have a different title, and the title should describe the content of the page accurately and succinctly. My preference is to put the site name after the unique portion of the title, like “Men’s Shoes – MyShoeStore.com” or “Men’s Fluevog Size 12 – MyShoeStore.com”. The content of the title should be relevant to the content on the page, words from the title should be found prominently within the page content.
When you’re using a template or including a shared header file, as is common in many dynamic sites, especially ATG sites, you need to pass in the unique title as a param.
Within your header page you use code like this: