With the internet reaching close to 1 billion websites optimising the digital presence is critical going forward for businesses, particularly social businesses. Any business that wants to grow and get new customers and audience online will have to have an optimised presence on the web and mobile otherwise it will struggle to be found in search engines or in mobile devices. Both its brand and products need serious optimisation. Therefore SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or Total Internet Optimisation, are increasingly more important and critical.
Since the inception the life of Google in 1998 the Internet as gone a long way. It has evolved from a semantic – search web to a social graph – social media internet and its now facing the web – mobile evolution. A lot has happened as we can see bellow:Google Algorythm Journey from 1998 to 2048
In this article we decided to highlight some basic top 5 SEO guidelines that are standards for the industry. Search engine optimisation is a process that all websites can benefit from. After all, who doesn’t want their website to be at the top of searches that are carried out in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines?
Achieving great search engine optimisation is a moving target, making this job more challenging, but any webmaster working for a small SME or startup can look at the best practices and try to follow them. Moz.com is one of the best websites / platforms dedicated to SEO that can support you on this. On Moz you will find a wealth of information available in posts and videos, of the best and up to date SEO practices.
Recently Cyrus Shepard (2015) writing for Moz.com has produced a helpful cheat sheet that should be used by SMEs, startup and any business, and special social business to make it much easier. The cheat sheet was originally produced in 2008, and updated in 2013. The current version “reflects best practices in SEO today” in 2015 and is clear and easy to understand. The main cheat sheet elements are now described below.
1. HTML elements – Metadata
2. Correct HTTP status codes
As well as these HTML elements it is important for websites to use the correct HTTP status codes and these are found on the cheat sheet. These include 200 which means OK or success, 301 which is a permanent redirect and 302 which is a temporary redirect. The code 404 represents a page that is not found, while 410 represents a page that is gone and that has been permanently removed. The code 500 is for a server error, and 503 is for unavailable (retry later).
3. URLs best practices
URLs are also an area of focus for SEO so these too are included on the cheat sheet. The preference of the search engines is for shorter URLs that are descriptive in their keywords and that are readable by humans. It is preferred that dynamic parameters are not included as far as possible, and additionally where possible it is expected that content should be placed on the same subdomain for the purposes of preserving authority.5 Best SEO Practices: Infographic made by Maria Fonseca
4. Robots Exclusion Standard
5. Social metadata – principle of Social media for the website performance.
Best practices relating to social metadata are also described in the cheat sheet. In particular with regard to Open Graph it is explained that platforms that support Open Graph protocol are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. On image sizing it is recommended to select larger images rather than smaller ones. In the case of Twitter the minimum image size that is recommended is 120 x 120px. The maximum size for Twitter is 1MB. On Facebook the minimum image size that is recommended is 200 x 200px. Sizes that are greater than 1200 x 630 px are recommended according to the cheat sheet.
This new cheat sheet has lots of benefits over the past versions of the cheat sheet that have been produced. Of special note, attention is directed to the fact that information has been updated in a variety of places, including in User Agents, Social Metadata and Mobile Web Development. Some sections became less relevant than in the past and those have been taken out, such as the Authorship and Publisher markup. Sections within the cheat sheet have been simplified as far as possible to make them easier to understand. The best practice advice has also been clarified and made more understandable.
An extra important last topic is:
6. Mobile Optimisation
While the need for mobile optimisation is nothing new, any business needs a strong mobile presence and strategy. As an eConsultancy report recently said:
“To move forward in “mobile optimisation” means coming to grips with the reality that every experience we offer through digital channels – every web page, shopping cart and piece of rich content – must work well on any device in any location. The customer understands that concessions need to be made for the smaller screen, touchscreen input and slower speed, but they won’t accept unnecessary hassle or delay. Apps are a part of today’s approach to mobile, but they are not a broad answer to this challenge, as use of the mobile web increases daily.”
To finish another interesting infographic highlighting 5 Main SEO Factors on 2015:5 main seo ranking factors on 2015
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.