I build websites for a number of people, and i get asked ALL the time, what are the essential SEO changes to make. The fact is, this is a hard question to answer, because you could optimize every single word and chances are there could be more you could do.
However, there is a short list of things that I consider the very most basic SEO essentials. These are changes every website should make regardless of it’s purpose, design or reason for being online.
- Meta Tags
- IMG Tags
- Head Tags
- Generic content pages
Sounds simple enough, right? That’s because it is. I’ll explain.
Every single page should have meta tags unique to that page, including keywords & description. Google don’t rely so heavily on meta tags anymore, but that in no way means they’re useless. Use them correctly and you’ll be amazed what they can do.
IMG Tags are simply your images. EVERY single image on your site should have a title and alt text that explains the image, and if possible, the content on the page.
One of the most UNUSED tags on the net. Don’t use font size increases for headings, that’s a sure fire way to have Google miss key points. Use head tags such as <h1>, <h2> etc. These tell Google and other search engines that the content of that tag is a heading, and therefore higher priority than regular text.
How many sites do you visit each day that don’t have sitemaps? Chances are, a LOT of them. Don’t be one of those people! If you use a script such as Joomla, WordPress etc, you can get great sitemap plugins. For regular PHP or HTML websites, there are plenty of free or paid services that will build a full sitemap for you.
Generic content pages.
This is debated amongst web designers, but i personally advocate using them. Have the regular content pages you’d expect on any professional website: Contact, Privacy, Terms, etc. Have wordpress or Joomla? Add them at the bottom of the site in the footer, that looks professional, and allows them not to overtake the main site (unless you need them to).