Almost every year search engines make a significant number of changes in how they evaluate content on a website. Here are 8 tips on SEO best practices from pros in 2012.
Keyword Relevancy – Creating a descriptive, keyword-laden title tag is important for increasing rankings in search engines. When your title tag matches the search query exactly than it’s 100% relevant for it. (Optimal Format: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name)
Length (70 characters) – Google only shows 70 characters on its search results page (SERP). Whereas an ellipsis – “…” to indicate that a title tag has been cut off. So make sure that your primary keyword is at the beginning while the brand is at the end. seomoz had a great post on this, you can find it here.
Separators – Dashes, pipes, commas, spaces all of them works just fine with Google. But hyphens and underscores are commonly preferred in this case. Matt Cutts discussed about this in a webmaster tools video.
Meta Keywords Tag
Google confirms this in their Webmaster Central Blog that “keywords” meta tag doesn’t count in their web search ranking
Q: Does Google ever use the “keywords” meta tag in its web search ranking?
A: In a word, no. Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag. But that’s an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.
Subdomain vs. Subdirectory
SEOs have observed some very steady patterns of behavior:
- Individual pages benefit from being on powerful subdomains & root domains. This is why if someone copies your personal blog post on the best way to microwave burritos into Wikipedia, that page will rank far better than yours, even with the exact same content (ignoring the duplicate content issues).
- Subdomains DO NOT always inherit all of the positive metrics and ranking ability of other subdomains on a given root domain.
- Some subdomains GET NO BENEFIT from the root domain they’re on. These include sites like WordPress.com, Blogspot.com, Typepad.com, and many others where anyone can create their own subdomain to begin publishing.
- Subfolders DO appear to receive all the benefits of the subdomain they’re on and content/pages behave remarkably similarly no matter what subfolder under a given subdomain they’re put in.
- Good internal and cross linking CAN HELP to give share the positive metrics from one subdomain to another (but not always and not perfectly).
Having the keywords you want to rank for within your domain name or page URLs can help you a bit to rank in Google SERPs.
But keyword stuffed domain can’t always guarantee you rankings; Think about the branding side a bit.
Google treats underscores & dashes differently. When Google sees an underscore in a URL, it joins what’s before and after into one term.
If your website has a top level domain name such as .com, .net, info, .biz and so on, then Google will determine the location of your website by looking at where your servers are based.
Increasing your site’s speed isn’t a guaranteed express ride to the top of Google’s results, however. It’s a minor factor, but one that can help reinforce others.
Rich snippets can be useful on a page to increase engagement levels, reduce bounce rates and also to appear alongside results as illustrated.
Matt Cutts also confirm this in a webmaster tools video.
Content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers. For example, a movie review from an expert is useful, but a movie review from a friend who shares your tastes can be even better. Because of this, +1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1’s, as with any new ranking signal, we are starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.
Although there is nothing called “perfectly optimized page” in all verticals for all brands but hopefully the above list will give you some guidance on SEO best practices.