SEO content guidelinesIt’s reasonably well known and widely appreciated that fresh content is essential if you want to get the attention of the search engines, and get your business where it will be found – at the top of the relevant search results. But when you come to create a new web page, there are certain basic things you should know, and it’s very easy to overlook them. It would be a good idea to bookmark this blog post (go on, do it now) so that you can refer to it whenever you create new content. Use it as a check list, and you’ll make sure your fresh content works as hard for your business as you do.

1. Check the file size of your page. This used to be common practice years ago when broadband was still just a theory. Today bandwidth isn’t so much of a problem, and so bloated content tends to be the norm. However, search engines will prioritise content which loads more quickly. Generally it’s important to make sure that your web content doesn’t exceed more than around 150 Kb, before adding images and CSS. Faster pages mean the search engines will prioritise you, but it also means that visitors won’t be put off by slow loading pages.

2. Keep the number of unique links on your page under 100. There’s really no need for more than this, so it shouldn’t normally be a problem. But search engines are very wary of pages with a massive number of links. It tends to be an indication of link farm tactics.

3. Include a page title in the HTML, and keep it under 70 characters (including spaces). It’s also important to make sure that every single page on your site has a different meta page title. This is what’s displayed on the first line of your entry in any search listings, and will make a very significant difference as far as encouraging visitors to click on your link is concerned.

4. Include a meta description, and keep it under 155 characters (including spaces). Yes, Google states that it ignores meta descriptions, but have you noticed that Google still uses them on all their own web pages? Have you also noticed that very often it’s the meta description which ends up being the summary of your site in Google’s listings? Not only that but Google isn’t the only source of traffic, and Bing does use meta descriptions in a big way.

5. If you need to include parameters in your URL, make sure they’re search engine friendly. For example, a web page about gold plated fountain pens should not use a URL like this:

– http://www.badexample.com/php?object=1&category=6&brand=9&feature=2

Instead, use this kind of URL:

– http://www.goodexample.com/fountain_pens/gold_nib

6. Keep the depth of URL as short as possible. It’s always a good idea to include keywords in the URL, but this can be taken to extremes. Consider the following bad example:

– http://www.badexample.com/stationery/pens/fountain/nibs/gold

Instead, keep it short, like this:

– http://www.goodexample.com/fountain_pens/gold_nib

7. When creating page titles, create a category, and then include the title. For example: “Stationery | Gold Plated Fountain Pens”. Use the basic template of “<Category> | <Subject>” where possible. This is more eye catching, more informative and better SEO Practice.

8. Always use the same canonical links for your own website. For example, consider the following possible variations, each of which will be treated differently by the search engines:

– http://www.example.com

– http://www.example.com/

– http://www.example.com/index.html

– http://www.example.com/index.html/

– http:// example.com

– http:// example.com/

– http:// example.com/index.html

– http:// example.com/index.html/

Decide on one form of link, and use that within all of your web pages, articles, blog posts and backlinks.

Hope that’s helped!