Five SEO Elements Every Website Should Have

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Search Results
What Search Results are you getting

So you want your website to be seen. You hear about this thing called search engine optimization (SEO), and you start looking it up. Because you’re smart, you get the idea pretty quickly. Fortunately, you also happen to know a thing or two about coding websites. So you want to apply SEO ASAP because the world just needs to know about your website.

Before you start plugging in every technique you’ve stumbled upon your Google search into your website, take a breath, and realize that not all SEO elements are necessary, especially for beginners in the field.

Search Results
What Search Results are you getting

You need to focus on five basic things that are absolutely required if you want to put your website on the proverbial map of the World Wide Web.

Web Hosting

How will your website even be seen if it drops off the face of the Earth every other day due to bad hosting? Even if most of it stays up, you’d also want to check each and every page doesn’t go to that automated eyesore that is the 404.

If you’ve already made a website on an unreliable host, it’d be better to just take your business elsewhere and start a new as you’ll only incur headaches instead of page visits no matter what SEO techniques you use with a faulty webhost.

Structured Internal Linking

Once you’ve got a steady host, you need to make sure your site can be navigated by users easily and “crawled” by search engines efficiently.  The most important pages should be highly visible, but that doesn’t mean each page in your website should be linking to those pages. The links should be relevant to the page, and the anchor text should appear natural.

HTML and XML sitemaps help visitors and search engines, respectively. HTML sitemaps are basically a list of links to the different pages in your website that visitors can see and click on. XML sitemaps are kind of the same but made for search engines, so they know what’s important and what to index.

Content

This is what people go to your site for. If it’s good, they will keep coming back and probably tell other people about it. So what exactly is “good” content? There aren’t hard and fast rules about it, but some important points are: it should match the audience’s characteristics, it should be easy to read (meaning no walls of text), and it should be relevant.

Inserting keywords to the content is also a good way of getting your site ranked high on search engines, but they also have to be relevant and be used in moderation to avoid penalties.

Outbound Linking

This might sound weird at first, giving other websites “publicity” when it’s supposed to be your website that needs all the promotion. But the Internet is built on websites linking to other websites, and search engines that see your website links to others will know that you are connected and will reward you for it.

Link to websites that are actually relevant to your niche. So if you’re talking about marketing strategies, link to places like an SEO-related websites or affiliate marketing blog.

Robots

By robots, this means the txt file used for search engines’ convenience, not automated machines. This file basically tells the search engines’ “robots” what they can and cannot look for in your website’s entire structure for analysis. This lets you control the pages that might mess up how your website is viewed by the search engine, making it show up in irrelevant searches.

Make these five SEO elements as the pillars of your process in optimizing your website, so you have a steady foundation to build upon later with more advanced techniques.

About the Author:

Todd Mumford is the Co-Founder and CEO of SEO Visions – a Vancouver SEO company that provides online marketing solutions and SEO consulting for different types of business.

12 COMMENTS

  1. SEO is always changing and one of the greatest tips I can give anybody and that is if they want to be good at SEO then they need to just focus on answering what the visitor is asking:-)

    Give the reader exactly what they are looking for…

    Then the links will follow 🙂 Content and links are king 🙂

    Danny

  2. Does anyone remember webrings? That was my first thought when I was reading your post and came to the part about linking to other websites. There was a reason they started doing it, the name has changed but the premise is still the same. Thanks for reminding us that it’s important to help each other and linking is just one of the options.

  3. I didn’t believe until now, but outbound links are very important for blog or website. This helps your site to be seen “naturally”, giving confidence to google. It is imperative that outbound links to have PR higher than yours.

  4. These are great points you have made and very helpful ones. Keyword rich content is surely one of the most important thing for SEO. I am not too aware of robots. Tanks for this great info.

  5. This post is indeed a combination of a great set of advices. If all these elements are combined, the product which forms is indeed a beautiful one. Content is and will always remain one of the prime elements of the SEO process. Thanks for the share.

  6. Free web-hosting has problems and if you want your site to do well in the SERPS then you must make use of the best resources which are, obviously, all paid. One also needs to utilize white hat SEO tactics. Additionally, one must study the search engine trends-there is no point in putting “all eggs in a single basket”. Keeping oneself on one’s toes and continually adapting to updates is the only way of doing SEO.

  7. All good bits of advice. I was unaware that faster sites get ranked higher, as Jeet mentioned! Of course, it’s a good idea anyway to make sure you’re getting the best hosting service. All it takes is one experience with your site not loading fast enough to lose a potential customer or reader forever.

  8. @Todd: Some great points here. I think a lot of new webmasters miss out on the hosting part because they want to save some money (or get hosting for free).

    Even if the host is reliable, webmasters need to see if it’s fast because search engines have openly said that they like faster sites and those are likely to get ranked higher.

    I would say more than going into robots.txt and sitemap, new webmasters (and bloggers) should concentrate on getting a decent CMS.

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