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Steps to improve your website's search engine score

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A visually attractive website is useless if the coding is not compliant with the standards set by major search engines like Google.com, Bing.com and Yahoo.com.

The W3C sets the ground rules for website coding standardizations and it changes periodically simply because technology changes and it is important to update your website to adapt to change.

Since the early days of the web, there have been many versions of HTML

  • HTML - 1991
  • HTML+ - 1993
  • HTML 2.0 - 1995 (tables, form uploads and image mapping added)
  • HTML 3.2 | 4.0 - 1997 (W3C introduces standardization and doctype policies)
  • HTML 4.01 - 1999 (ISO changes introduced)
  • XHTML - 2000 (XML doctype added and multiple ISO changes)
  • HTML5 - 2012

In the early days of websites, locally installed WYSIWYG editors like Microsoft Frontpage, Dreamweaver and a host of other softwares were used to easily create websites and many of those applications would create compliant coding based on the current standards. Many have fallen to the wayside but Dreamweaver (now owned by Adobe) has kept up with the standards and will create very compliant sites.

Nowadays it is much simpler to keep up with changing website technology standards by using a popular Content Management System, especially one maintained by a coding community, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento, which are installed by WebsiteDons.


This is an example of what search engines consider poor coding.

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The Basics Of Proper Website Coding To Improve Search Engine Score

Proper website coding standards will ensure that search engines find and list your website correctly.
  1. Set the !Doctype declaration at the top to meet HTML5 standards as <!DOCTYPE html>. It is not case sensitive.
  2. Declare a default language <html lang='en-US'>. Not required but certainly helps
  3. Declare a character set, commonly UTF8 <meta charset="utf-8">
  4. Add the description and keyword meta tags. Though Google does not use this meta anymore, other search engines do. <meta name="description" content="" /> <meta name="keywords" content="" />
  5. Declare a canonical URL - primarily a Google requirement
  6. Add a robots.txt file to the root directory
  7. Add a sitemap.xml file to the root directory

Those basic declarations will ensure that search bots correctly cache your web pages. Advanced methods will include proper content formatting and script optimization.

  • Avoid tables because of the natural function of fixed cells. Use only for tabular charts which must have multiple columns and rows. Use floating elements to display multiple vertical columns.
  • Header tags are imperative to indicate importance of content. each page should have at least one H1 tag.
  • Use lowercase for all HTML tags
  • Avoid inline style declarations. Only use if neccessary.
  • Ensure image tags include descriptive ALT (alternative) attribute. Do not go nuts with this text. It is a misconception that it is can be used to write entire hidden paragraphs. If you misuse it, search engines will consider it 'black hat' and penalize your page. Use only to describe the image.
Category: Website Tips |

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