Here are some notes from a SEO presentation I attended. It's always worth knowing that the basics still matter.
- These days, only one search engine matters. So make the Googlebot's job easy.
- Take a look at Google Web Tools errors and page speed reports. If Google cares, so should you.
- Speed matters; faster is better. Not just because bots rank fast sites higher, but because slower sites increase user bounces, and Google knows when users bounce.
- GZip and minify everything; even third party stuff.
- Deliver assets (imgs, .js, .css) from cookie-less domains.
- Set far-future expiry and expire etags / last modified header.
- Content higher on the page is more important.
- In URLs, content after the ? is parsed, but not after the #.
- The same content (a page) should have one and only one URL. Title tags should be unique per page throughout the site; description tags too.
- In titles, the first words should be the most important ones. Therefore, keep your branding at the end of your title; a straight-up search for your brand is probably already going to turn up your site. Use dashes, not pipes, to separate words in titles; they are joiners, not separators. Think of a pattern like "description" then "keywords" then "brand". Imagine a blank sheet of paper with only your title tag; does it reflect what the web page shows?
- Image alt attributes are still useful for SEO. (Not to mention for accessibility!)
- In links, use
rel="prev/next"if appropriate for a set of links.
- Search engines generally ignore forms - this includes your navigation drop-down menus. Navigation should be text - available without JS or CSS.
- File names matter; uses dashes to separate words.
- Serve the same content to visitors as to search engines.
- The meta description isn't used much in page weight, but it does feed content to the Google Search results.
nofollowisn't necessarily bad, but it's not very effective for page rank sculpting.
- It was a sad day for those in SEO when Google stopped sharing incoming search keywords. If your site has its own search engine, you can use those results to find out what people are looking for on your site.
- Keep an eye on your server error logs for 404, 301 errors and the like. If the page is just obsolete, it's best to pass any Google-juice that they had on to working (and appropriate) URLs.