There are hundreds of billions of web pages out there. It’s hard to imagine, but robots (affectionately named spiders by search engines) crawl all of these sites to build a list of pages that most closely relate to your search. They can crawl about 100 pages per second…so how do you prove to the spiders that your site is relevant? Search engine optimizers are constantly trying to figure out how the spiders for sites like Bing and Yahoo rank their search results. Its what we do here at Web Talent every single day—and now Bing has released a list of the 18 most essential things that you need to know about SEO. We’ve elaborated on 10 that we think are the most helpful to get your website to the top.

 

  1. Make sure your site is crawlable by using an XML sitemap, a robots.txt file, and well-structured on-site navigation.

Your site should be easy for users to navigate so that your potential customers and clients can find what they need quickly and effortlessly. Not only does a sitemap that is well-structured help organize your web page for users, but it also makes your website easy to read by the spiders. A logical and clear organization of your pages will yield more identifiable pages to the spiders, one of which may match a search term better than your homepage does.

 

  1. Improve your site structure by using an HTML sitemap and linking to trusted sources both within your site and outside of it.

Once again, we see how important a well-structured sitemap is. Additionally, internal linking to pages within your site helps tie all of your content together. Lets say you sell bicycles—on the pages that highlight the bikes you sell, it would also make sense to have a link to bike accessories as well. This practice needs to be applied to each and every page that you have within your website. External links are important too, because it shows that you care to inform and educate your readers about what your specific area of interest. On a page explaining what types of bikes you sell, you could link externally to the specific retailers who provide you with each item.

 

  1. Create a solid content hierarchy by doing basic keyword research and avoiding placement of your content in rich media such as Silverlight and Flash.

Keyword Research—its imperative. If you want traffic to your site, you need to know what people search for in order to find a site like yours. After we find out what keywords are most relevant to your services or what you sell, we put the most competitive words in the more authoritative pages of your site, like your homepage. From there, we infiltrate the rest of the keywords into your sub-pages, and the sub-pages of those pages. This creates a hierarchy within your site of terms that most closely match what a user would search when trying to find a site like yours. Lastly, avoid putting these terms behind media such as Silverlight and Flash because this deters spiders.

 

  1. Use a short meta title that has fewer than 65 characters and that’s unique to each page, and try to include the targeted keyword toward the beginning of that title.

Your meta title tags define what your pages are about. The meta title is one of the first thing a spider goes through to determine what type of content you talk about on your page. The closer your keyword is to the beginning of this title the better; push the name of your company to the end if at all possible. Although that may sound like we are telling you not to advertise your brand, remember that people don’t know the name of your brand if they’re searching for your service. They won’t search for your name, but they will search for your services. The meta title is a small summary of your page, and you need to make it unique and rich in keywords. Spiders also look negatively on extra-long keyword-packed meta titles, so don’t overdo it. Describe what your page discusses as succinctly as possible.

 

  1. Use a unique meta description tag.

You’ve been your entire life about the importance of individuality. Take that notion and apply it to the infinite World Wide Web, and you can imagine how hard it is to stand out. There are tons of pages out there that may rank for the exact same thing that you will rank for, and a spider will recognize your title if they’ve crawled the exact same description 100 times before. Make it short and sweet, descriptive to what you offer, and easy to read by users and crawlers.

 

  1. Create quality content (following the guidelines Bing provided earlier).

You knew this one already. Content, good content, sets you apart from not only poorly optimized sites, but your competition as well. If you offer an incredible service, sell it and sell it well. Write clearly so users and spiders can understand your page easily—the faster a spider can crawl your page, the better. And it goes without saying that it’s always important for users to be able to comprehend what exactly it is that you do.

 

  1. When you build links, focus on keyword-relevant anchor tags that link back to quality content on your page.

Link building to create quality back links to your site is important, but people often forget that you’re link building for search engines. The words that people search in Google, Bing or Yahoo need to be the text or anchor tag for your link, rather than just your url. What someone out there is typing into the search box to find a service that you offer should be your anchor tags. Spiders crawl your anchor tags on blog posts, directories and social bookmarks, and when they recognize that your anchor tag is relevant to a search, they’re directed right to your homepage.

 

  1. Don’t buy links.

Who needs to buy them when you can get quality, authoritative links for free? See our latest blog post for more info on this one. You’ll find that there are tons of free directories out there, and working a little bit harder to get a wide array of the free ones appears more organic to the crawlers then paying for only a handful.

 

  1. Encourage social sharing with the use of social buttons.

At this stage of the internet game, not integrating social media buttons and widgets into your website is not only harmful to your potential business because prospective clients can’t connect with you, but it also shows users and spiders that you are behind in the rapidly progressive times. A spider may attribute your lack of social media integration as a sign that your site is not frequently updated with fresh content, or that your content is not up-to-date. If social media isn’t your thing, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It’s the future and its here to stay. Might as well prove to your potential clients that you’re with it, and avoid risking a spider crawling your site and ignoring the rest of your content because you aren’t connected to the rest of the social world.

 

  1. Create a user interface that prioritizes the user experiences; the search perspective on things like page load time aren’t as important as how the user responds.

Spiders and users are greatly different (one is a robot…one is not). On the other hand, people and spiders are similar in that in order to stay interested they need to find relevant content in an organized manner. If your site is organized logically, it’s also important to take into consideration the user interaction on your site. Is your e-commerce store turning out a lot of orders? Do users come to your site, get confused by your product’s description or navigation, and leave? Clicks through your page show you have content that’s interesting. Keeping your potential customers interested and clicking through your site is a factor that spiders take into account when they’re crawling. No search engine wants to provide their searchers with results that cant give them what they want. Make the time a person spends on your site and experience. And make it a memorable one!

 

Other tips that Bing provided are:

  1. Use schema.org markup.
  2. Create an RSS feed.
  3. Don’t cloak your website.
  4. Don’t use link farms.
  5. Don’t engage in three-way linking.
  6. Don’t duplicate content.
  7. Don’t use auto-following on the social front.
  8. Don’t use thin content.

 

See the original article here.