By Ian Matthews November 16, 2008, updated August 28, 2010

I am regularly asked by clients how to optimize their web site.  The first thing to know is that, with few exceptions, Google is the only engine you need to optimize for.  Today, all of the other engines will follow their lead. 

Below are some of the critical search engine optimization “rules”.

  1. The first rule of Search Engine Optimization is that you cannot be indexed/ranked as number one site for more than one or two terms.  So spend some time to determine what terms or “keywords” you want to focus on by using free services like:

  2. As of 2010 Google and Yahoo, NO LONGER USES the KEYWORDS MetaTag but other search engines might.  So don’t kill yourself on the tags but I would still put a few key ones on each page.  See THIS and THIS for more details or if you don’t beleive me

  3. Add Tip Text (ScreenText) to EVERY link on every page including email

  4. Add ALTERNATE TEXT (text description) to EVERY graphic

  5. Add Page Description metatag to EVERY page

  6. Add Robots metatag to EVERY page and ensure a ROBOTS.TXT file in the root of your site

  7. Use keywords in each page TITLEs

  8. Have suppliers, contractors, industry associations and clients add you as a link on THEIR web site(s)

  9. Add Google Search to your site

  10. Add Google Adsense words to your site:

  11. Add Google Translation to your site

  12. Use to verify your site is crawlable

  13. Three days after your site is submitted to Google use http://site:(yoursitename) (searchterm)  to confirm it has been indexed

  14. Ensure your content is changing or being added to weekly

  15. Have a “site map page” which includes links to every page

  16. Have important pages linked to, from more than one page on your site

For a site to be highly ranked, you MUST complete all of the above with the possible exceptions of items 6, 9, 10, 11 and 15.

Do Not:

  1. Submit your site to Google, Yahoo or MSN more than once

  2. Use Keywords which are not used on that page

  3. Duplicate content on multiple pages or sites

  4. Pay anyone to have your site submitted to multiple search engines. 

    • Spend 5 minutes and submit it to Google, Yahoo and MSN, within 2 weeks you will be on EVERY search engine in the world.

  5. Have your site on a another site which contains nothing more than links (“Affiliate sites”) are bad for your ranking


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