SEO cheat sheet

There’s lots about Search Engine Optimization that we are skeptical about. There are a lot of folks that are trying to game the system. Don’t do that. Here’s some stuff that I think is worthwhile doing and thinking about.

01. General

  1. A search engines is an index like a card catalog, a directory, a rolodex, or an archive index.
  2. Don’t attempt to bribe the librarian to have your book show up more often in the card catalog.
  3. When you write good quality content that keeps the user in mind, you signal search engines that you care about your content and also your users (that’s a good thing).
  4. When you make an effort to present your content in a standards compliant and accessible way, you signal search engines that you care about users.
  5. When other folks link to your site, this signals search engines that your site matters.
  6. Try to be audience aware, not audience obsessed: try to be SEO aware, not SEO obsessed.

02. Content, readability and HTML

  1. Present content so it’s easy for users to find it.
  2. Use headers (h1, h2, h3) to help with readability and scanability. Use headers like an outline.
  3. Write with simple, direct, human language. Think about your keywords but don’t overuse them; aware but not obsessed.
  4. Link to the folks you approve of and who you think your users would like to have access to.

03. Using images

  1. All images need to have descriptive, context giving, and human readable ALT text.
  2. Images need to load fast in users’ phones, and on their dial up internet service. So crop and compress files. JPGs are good, and so are GIFs. See more.

04. Uploading, Inserting PDFs

  1. Consider not uploading PDFs. Consider providing your content as regular web content, ie HTML.
  2. If you do provide PDFs, make sure you link to these files in descriptive ways that give the user a heads up. E.g. “Annual Report 2012 (PDF 2.4MB)” or “How to Become a Bronie (PDF 600KB)” or even “Our Team Photos (PDF 8MB)”

04 More on Content

  1. Write content that helps people.
  2. Don’t duplicate content: every page, every article, every post should have a purpose.
  3. The content of the page …
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