Building websites on solid foundations

Posted by Joel Schwartz on April 28, 2011

Its been a while since I’ve last posted here but today inspired by Jessica Lee’s SEO Bucket list, I feel like expanding the topic of building great and clean websites with w3c valid html and CSS, in my opinion always the first step towards search engine optimization.

A website may look beautiful and healthy to the naked eye but cluttered with useless coding and confusing to the search engines. We’ve seen sites with more then 8 BODY and HTML start and end tags on the home page and other clutter almost guaranteed to stop the search engines from spidering the rest of the site.

Clean HTML, besides speeding up the load time, a very important factor in the Google algorithm it also makes it easier on the spiders to run through a website without getting stuck halfway in.

Step 1) – Externalize

Necessary coding that is needed for the site to function can most of the time be externalized:

  • Javascripts should be externalized with a code like“<script language=’javascript’ type=”text/javascript” src=”your-java.js”></script>”
  • Get classic with stylesheets; table styles, height and weight attributes, font sizes, colors and background images should to be in css files and defined by class names
  • Content that are duplicated from page to page when absolutely necessary can and should be published via iFrames, the search engines wont read them but the users still can

Step 2) – Clean Up

  • Remove empty and useless tags like <td></td> sometimes left behind by HTML editors
  • Remove whitespace left between your coding, this will reduce file size and speed up loading time
  • Remove unnecessary META tags that don’t serve any real purpose, get your real content and keywords as close to the top as possible

Step 3) – Speed Up

Other important factors to speed up the page:

  • Define table and images height and width, that way the browser can load the text before the images, putting everything in place already knowing where everything belongs
  • Optimize your images to reduce their size, try the more heavier images in different formats and compare file size to image quality
  • Avoid nested HTML tables, putting one table in another just gives the browser a hard time to work out layouts and spacing

Bottom Line: Slice and dice until the W3 validator gives you a thumbs up, use a tool like SEO Browser to preview the source as Google would, check the speed and loading time, choose the right DOCTYPE tag, you will be surprised how messy things get if you get that single tag wrong, make sure the page header response code is 200.

Now you may be on the right path towards great Search Engine Optimization.

Filed under: SEO Web Design

The long tail effect in link building

Posted by Joel Schwartz on August 3, 2010

Interesting post, topic: if by adding longer anchor text to a link to make it more natural looking, does the extra text dilute the effect of the link on the main keyword phrase?!

I gave my humble input which I would like to discuss a bit more here and that is taking the long tail effect in consideration when building links for search engine optimization purposes,

As the search engines improve and get smarter every day, web users also tend to get savvier in the way they search, rather then searching for “vacation packages” a search such as “cheap caribbean vacation packages” will return more direct results therefore improving the chances of a successful conversion, now, the search volume for “vacation packages” may be around 9,140,000 while “caribbean vacation packages” is only a poor 74,000 but the latter guarantees so much more conversions.

To conclude this, here are the benefits of mixing up anchor text when link building as a part of your search engine optimization

  • Attracting more convertible traffic using a verity of long tail keyword
  • The obvious, give a more natural look to your links
  • In a highly competitive market, it gives you a niche where you can rank higher for the long tail over the big guys, therefore branding yourself as an industry expert in the eyes of the search engines.

Filed under: Link Building