Search engine optimization used to be all about keywords and search result rankings. But ideas about SEO are always in flux, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques.
Not everyone realizes the importance of social networking sites to SEO. Search engines now include social signals, like the number of Facebook “likes,” Twitter retweets, and so on, in their search results. Web developer and writer Curtis Dicken says if you want to increase traffic to your site, then social media websites are excellent resources that should not be overlooked. You can get the word out about your website’s content quickly and easily, and at the same time get more unique links to your website.
But many of the traditional SEO techniques still apply, and Dicken says that includes a sitemap. XML sitemap files give search engines clues about how a website is structured so they can decide how to index its pages, and how often to crawl them for new content.
HTML headline tags can be used by search engines to decide which keywords should be considered more important. This includes all the headline tags, from <H1> to <H6>. There is debate over how much of a difference the use of headline tags makes. But Google is by far the most popular search engine, and the company includes headline tags in their SEO Guide.
Opinions vary on the importance of making your web pages 100% compliant with W3C standards. Curtis Dicken says the most important thing is whether your site can be read by a web crawler. Of course, having a page’s markup W3C-valid won’t hurt.
In the final analysis, search engine optimization is a balance between getting your site noticed, and making it easy for visitors and search engines to navigate its pages. Taking the extra effort with advanced SEO techniques might improve it enough to get it off the search engine’s second page to the always-coveted first page.