Best practices: Whitehat SEO
These techniques aim to improve a site by focusing on the visitors instead of on ranking higher. Examples of good, whitehat techniques include creating organic, high-quality content and adding good descriptive tags covered in the previous module. They adhere to Webmaster Guidelines, which your site should follow to rank well and organically in Google Search. If you’re looking to hire a SEO, make sure the SEO does not use blackhat techniques. Not even the most experienced SEO can guarantee a certain rank for your site. Establish upfront your goals, how the SEO will reach the goals, and metrics used to evaluate success of the goals.
Accurately describe the page’s content Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content.
AVOID choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page
using default or vague titles like “Untitled” or “New Page 1”
Create unique title tags for each page
Each of your pages should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site
AVOID using a single title tag across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages
Use brief, but descriptive titles
Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.
AVOID using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users
stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags
Accurately summarize the page’s content
Writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page using generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about baseball cards” filling the description with only keywords copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag Avoid: Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.
Use unique descriptions for each page
Using a single description meta tag across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages Avoid: Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn’t feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page’s content.
Improve the structure of your URLs
Simple-to-understand URLs will convey content information easily
URLs are displayed in search results
Use words in URLs
Using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs choosing generic page names like “page1.html” using excessive keywords like”baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.htm”
Avoid: URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Visitors remember them better and might be more willing to link to them.
Create a simple directory structure
Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and makes it easy for visitors to know where they’re at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL
Provide one version of a URL to reach a document
Make your site easier to navigate
The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important. Although Google’s search results are provided at a page level, Google also likes to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site.
Plan out your navigation based on your homepage
All sites have a home or “root” page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (e.g. root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?
Ensure more convenience for users by using ‘breadcrumb lists’
A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page (1). Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, left-most link and list the more specific sections out to the right.
Allow for the possibility of a part of the URL being removed
Prepare two sitemaps: one for users, one for search engines
Create a naturally flowing hierarchy creating complex webs of navigation links, e.g. linking every page on your site to every other page going overboard with slicing and dicing your content (so that it takes twenty clicks) Avoid: Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure.