This article was first published in 2009. While a lot has changed in the last 8 years, revisiting this article in Oct 2017, I am surprised to see that most of the points I wrote originally are still so much relevant.
Here goes the updates list
Evergreen SEO and UX Tips
Sharing SEO and web design related points, I consider of utmost importance. (not in any order)
1. Language Translation
You should always provide a gadget for language translation. It becomes more important if you have a site in language other than English. Of course, it goes without saying if you can afford human translators try to keep different language versions of your site.
While flash looks good, it is of no use for Google. If you want to show-off flash, always have some accompanied text with it. [Update Oct, 2017: Flash is almost dead now]
Always have two sitemaps for your website. One of them is XML sitemap for search engines so that they can crawl, see and index your website content efficiently. The other sitemap for users. They are not only helpful for navigational purposes but also for site optimization purposes.
4. SEO 101
If you do business online, you can’t really escape from SEO. Even if SEO does not fall under your department, I suggest you to have a good look at this article to have a solid understanding of what SEO is all about. – What is SEO?
One of the search ranking signals that Google employs is user experience. Do not use auto-audio-on when a visitor first arrives on your site. This becomes most annoying for a user sitting in an office like quiet environment. Rest assured that this visitor will never come back. If at all you want to use audio, it should be within users control and the “play” should be dictated by user and not your preference.
Make judicious use of pop-ups or pop-unders. Expert opinions might vary on this but for me it’s a bug NO-NO and turn off. Infact, Google now penalize your mobile site for intrusive interstitials.
Make sure your website is cross-browser tested. Ideally you should get your site tested on all browsers but even if you don’t have enough time, make sure that your website look and feel is consistent at least on Chrome, IE, FF and Safari. If a site looks fine on Safari, you can be sure it would look good on most of the other modern age browsers as the technology behind most of these is same.
8. Optimized Images
Make sure images are optimized (and are not heavy) for web publishing purposes. Take care to choose the right format for images.
9. Incoming & Outgoing links
Periodically test incoming and outgoing links to/from your sites. Get rid of 404 outgoing links and spammy incoming links. Google webmaster can be a good resource to check those. Other good free resource that can be used is XenuLink Checker.
10. Multiple Payment Options
If you run a ecommerce site, provide multiple payment options do not restrict to PayPal only.
11. Title Tag
For better SEO always put post title before blog title. [Check mine in your browser bar]
12. Meaningful Image Names
Always give an image some meaningful name. Also don’t forget to give an alt tag. Image name is used for Google Image search, this can bring in some traffic for you. Alt tag is like a meaningful description for your image. [Also, If for some reason am image does not gets displayed, alt tag text will replace it.]
13. Blog Slug
Unless you run a time sensitive site like a news outlet, don’t make the date as post slug. Date is redundant and is not useful for SEO purposes. I have found the best slug is to have a short page title. Yes, this blog uses category in slug but then I was new to WordPress and now I don’t want to mess with my rankings.
14. Meta Description
Make full use of meta description tags, meta keywords are pretty much useless at-least from Google’s perspective.
If your site runs more than a level deep, use bread crumb structure. Google says that.
Do not rely on directory submission too much. There is always a chance that Google will discount links from directory sites. [Update Oct, 2017: Links from directories are as good as dead. Even the once famed DMOZ has retired.]
Before going for article directories, make sure you have enough content on your site. If going for article submission, go with quality article directories only.
17. .Gov and .EDU TLDs
There is no difference between a link juice from a .gov, .edu or a .info site. People often have this misconception that they magically carry some better ranking capabilities.
18. Sites in multiple languages
If you want to create sites in multiple languages, the best way is go with
example.cn If that is not feasible, try the second best alternative using subdomain
cn.example.com If that is also not feasible go with subdirectories
example.com/cn For such sites, always use the geo-targeting feature present inside Google Search Console.
19. Content IS the king
This was true back in 2009 , this is true in 2017 and perhaps remain true forever. Good content will always remain the king when it comes to search engine optimization. Your content strategy should revolve around your target user and not really the search engines. I’m sure, with time, search engines will become so much capable that they will discount several points mentioned above and will be able to decipher a good text without taking much help from off page SEO factors.
Over to You.
What do you want to add in the list above? What do you do for better user experience and SEO?
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