Improve Search Engine Rankings

Web pages that are free of problems have a better chance of a higher search engine ranking than web pages that contain problems. This is because search engine crawlers may get confused and may not read a web page's content correctly if it contains certain problems, especially significant structural errors.

Primary Search Engine Optimization Tips

CSE HTML Validator can help you fix issues that can affect search engine rankings. Below are some tips:

At a minimum, use CSE HTML Validator to check for major structural issues. Using the "Errors only" validation mode will help keep focus on only the most important issues.

Turn on search engine messages in the Validator Engine Options and do a "Normal" validation (not "Errors only") to see the search engine messages.

Turn on the keyword density message and analyze the keyword density to find areas for possible improvement.

Make sure configuration flags that show search engine messages and tips are on/enabled (such as flag 107 and flag 113). By default, all flags are on so these flags should already be on unless they have been turned off.

If there is time, address other issues such as warning messages. It's always best for pages to have as few issues and problems as possible.

More Search Engine Optimization Tips (not in any order)

These tips and others like them may be displayed if flag 113 is enabled to display a random search engine tip and general search engine messages are enabled in the Validator Engine Options.

QUALITY CONTENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER! The actual content of a page (the text that a visitor sees) is VERY important. Ensure that the content is high-quality, useful, and information-rich so that visitors will want to read, share, and link to it. Include keywords and search terms throughout the content when appropriate (preferably sooner in the text rather than later). For best results, use original content of at least 300 words in each page.

Provide quality, well-written, and original content that people will want to link to and share. Some search engines may use advanced spelling and grammar checkers to try to detect quality content and eliminate junk, so be sure to check spelling and grammar. The more quality content on your site, the better.

Use keywords and search terms throughout the page, including in regular text (but preferably sooner rather than later). In addition, use words that are related to the keywords. However, don't overdo it. The site should be easy to read and not cluttered with keywords.

Don't plagiarize. Search engines are getting better at detecting similar content, even when changes are made to avoid detection. Ensure that your content is unique by varying topic order, using multiple sources, and adding to or improving the content.

DON'T OVERDO IT. It can be a fine line between good optimization and over-optimization. Don't try too hard (like using keywords too many times) or you could 'over-optimize' which could (possibly) result in a penalty.

NEVER do anything for the purpose of trying to trick a search engine. Tricks can often be detected or be reported to the search engine by a competitor.

Each page on a site should have its own unique title. Every title should contain appropriate keywords and search terms that are relevant to the page. Don't just stuff keywords in the title. The first words in the title are more likely to result in higher rankings than subsequent words, so use important keywords at the very beginning when reasonable. The title should also be something that a user will want to click on when it's listed on a search engine. A good title is also important when a visitor bookmarks a page.

Using the "alt" attribute for images is not just good for accessibility, it's good for search engines too. Use the "alt" attribute to describe images but use relevant keywords and search terms in the description when appropriate, but don't overdo it by cramming in too many keywords. Consider using/adding graphic images, photos, or illustrations on important keyword-targeted pages with the important keywords used in the alt text.

Consider including common misspellings of popular keywords in the keywords meta tag. Also, avoid including keywords that don't also appear elsewhere in the page.

Do not use hidden text or keywords, small text, comments, popular but unrelated words, or any other shady SEO practice to try to 'cheat' to gain better search engine rankings. This is dishonest and considered to be a type of search engine spamming. Many search engines penalize sites for spamming as soon as it is detected.

Avoid using client-side scripting to insert or write tags and content into web pages. Don't use client-side scripting to link to other documents. Search Engines don't run client-side scripting. It's also a bad idea because it should not be assumed that scripting is available (and turned on) in the user's browser.

Many elements support the "title" attribute that is used for annotation (do not confuse the "title" element with the "title" attribute). Consider annotating tags like "a" with something like title="Read about <keywords>". Annotate with keywords and search terms. Some browsers, like Firefox, will also display the value of the "title" attribute when the user hovers the mouse over content with a "title" attribute.

Register your domain name for at least three years. A longer registration time means a more credible site (it's less likely to be considered a spam site by search engines).

Provide fresh, unique, original, and relevant content from time to time to keep your site content from "decaying". Avoid "thin content"; most content should be at least 600-700 words.

Following accessibility standards may improve search engine rankings. Use "alt", "title", and table "summary" attributes whenever relevant and possible. Use keywords and search terms in them but keep them accurate. Using this program's accessibility checking can help.

Don't use "&id=" as a parameter in URLs as some search engines like Google won't include these URLs in their listings.

Consider linking to one or more high ranking sites that are related to the site you're promoting. Use your site's keywords in the link text if you can.

Look at your site's referral logs to see what keywords people are using to find your site. Use this information to improve your site. For example, you may want to add content related to keywords that have been overlooked.

Don't cloak. Cloaking is delivering search engine optimized content to search engine spiders while delivering different content to actual human visitors. Many search engines can detect this type of spam and may even completely ban a site if cloaking is detected.

Don't use keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is inserting blocks of keywords to try to increase a page's rankings by increasing its keyword density. This is considered spamming and can easily be detected. Example: keyword1 keyword1 keyword1 keyword2 keyword2 keyword2 keyword3 keyword3 keyword3, etc.

Be aware that using Flash causes issues for search engine spiders because they are unlikely to be able to see and index the text content in a Flash object. Use alternate ways of making Flash content available to search engines, such as including links to alternate pages that do not use Flash objects. This will also be helpful for visitors who are unable to view Flash content.

When creating and naming new pages, consider using important keywords in the page name, as well as using hyphens (not underscores) to separate the keywords.

Shorter URLs may perform better in search results and are more likely to be copied & pasted, linked-to, and shared.

Don't spend time stuffing content or keywords into HTML comments because it appears that search engines ignore text in HTML comments.

It may be a good idea to repeat this document's title, keywords, and search terms in heading elements (like "h1", "h2", etc.), although some experts now say this carries little weight. In either case, use CSS to make the headings look good. However, use heading elements appropriately and be sure not to change the meaning of the heading elements, like making a heading look like regular text, because that can be considered cheating and may result in a penalty.

Image searches can be a significant source of visitors and traffic. Therefore, try to use keywords when naming images, and separate keywords with hyphens (not underscores).

Each page on a site should have its own unique title. Every title should contain appropriate keywords and search terms that are relevant to the page. Don't just stuff keywords in the title. The first words in the title are more likely to result in higher rankings than subsequent words, so use important keywords at the very beginning when reasonable. The title should also be something that a user will want to click on when it's listed on a search engine. A good title is also important when a visitor bookmarks a page.

It may be worth a small amount of effort to use a small number of keyword, term, and phrase variations throughout a page, but don't spend too much time on variations.

Important! Keep sites and content crawlable. Content that search engines can't access cannot be indexed.

Never use duplicate content just to try to improve search engine rankings or to try to fool search engines. Search engines do not like duplicate content and will try to filter such content out from search results.

It's a good idea to repeat a document's title, keywords, and search terms throughout the page (preferably sooner in the text rather than later), but do it appropriately.

Get sites that are popular, relevant to your own site, and have good rankings to link to your site. The anchor text that is used to link to your site is also important and should contain your site's keywords and search terms. Building incoming links gradually instead of all at once may also be better.

Use meta description and keywords tags in the head section. While some search engines may not use these tags (especially the keywords tag), some do.

AVOID BAD BACKLINKS. Avoid backlinks from link farms that are designed to deceive the search engines and never pay for backlinks. Having these and other low-quality backlinks may result in your site being penalized. Instead, strive for quality backlinks from a wide range of high quality, relevant pages.

Ensure that your webserver is fast and reliable with as close to 100% uptime as possible. Slow or unreliable servers could negatively affect search engine rankings. Consider whether using a dedicated (instead of shared) server would be beneficial.

Speed up your page using the Google PageSpeed Tools (like PageSpeed Insights for mobile and desktop).

Make sure search engines think you have only one site by using 301 redirects when appropriate. For example, if using the www form of a site name, like http://www.domain.com, then redirect http://domain.com requests to http://www.domain.com (and vice versa if using the non-www form).

Use a sitemap.xml file that lists all indexable pages, and update it regularly. Make sure search engines know about it. A website can still be indexed without this file, but a sitemap.xml file can help crawlers find content that they wouldn't have otherwise found.

GET GOOD BACKLINKS. Try to get good backlinks while avoiding bad backlinks. Backlinks should look natural and should never be bought. And yes, competitors can attack your site with bad backlinks.