As a followup to my first post Five Things You Can Do to Your Website Right Now to Achieve Higher Rankings I thought I’d give you another five. Hopefully you’ve already done those, and you’re ready for a few more. Here goes:

  1. Add a meta description tag to your home page
    Really you should add a custom description to every page on your website, but at least you need one on your home page. Put in a few keywords, and remember that this description is what shows up in the ‘summary’ area of a SERPS page. So you’ll want to make it something that encourages searchers to click, yet it needs to be accurate and informative as to what your website it about.

    <meta name=”description” content=”Find custom widgets in various colors. Build your widget online and have it in a week. We offer free shipping of widgets to all US locations.”>

  2. Modify your .htaccess to avoid duplicate content penalties
    Many people don’t realize that yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com can be considered two separate websites to the search engines. So just publishing a website creates an instant duplicate content issue – one you can fix with .htaccess

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} !^post$
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301]

    What? Don’t have the ability to modify or add a .htaccess file? You need to get a better host. May I suggest my company, Lighthouse Technologies? Very SEO friendly and customer support is awesome </plug> =)

  3. Add text navigation
    Many businesses get caught with this one – they build a nice website with pretty navigation buttons along the top or left and don’t have any text versions of the navigation. This can cause problems – search engines can’t ‘see’ graphics.
    While the page looks good, and it functions well, the search engines really need to assign a text name (or anchor) to each page of your site. It can do that if you have a text link to each page.
    If you have a site with the scenario above, consider simply adding a sitemap, a page with text links to every page on your website. Another easy way to fix this is to add text links to your main navigation pages along the bottom of your website. Not many people scroll that far down, it won’t look that bad, and the search engines will be happy with you.
  4. Add (and verify) your site to the search engine’s “tools” programs
    This is an easy one. Submit your site to Google’s Webmaster Tools and Yahoo’s Site Explorer. They’ll give you a little snippet of code to add to your home page, or a file to FTP up, and then you’ll be verified as a ‘real human owner’ of your website.
  5. Remove staging files/sites that are online
    Here’s a good one for web developers. Often we create subdomains or own entire domains that are particularly for staging/building new sites. We send these links to our clients and have them check out the site, submit changes, etc. Then when the real website launches, we forget to go back and delete the staging version. Suddenly, we’ve got more duplicate content issues.
    NOTE: A good developer will add a Disallow to their robots.txt file for the subdomain anyway, but I’d be willing to bet few do.

I know these aren’t the easiest 5 things you can do to help your site rank, but they aren’t all that hard either. Do some or all of these things and your site will continue to creep up the SERPS.

1 Comment

  1. Great post Will, all the things you mention in your post are right on and really do help out search engine rankings for any page. Best of luck to you and keep up the great advise!

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