The SEO Crash Course: Step Three
STEP Three: Post-Development
Note: If you have not read the previously posted STEP One, or STEP Two, we strongly suggest taking a few minutes to peruse those first.
After you have your site's SEO completed to the degree of your liking, there are a few last items to add. Including a robots.txt, and a sitemap.xml, will help search engines to know where to start indexing, and what not to index. Once these are done, you should then be ready to submit your side for indexing.
Part 1: Descriptor Attributes - Alt and Title
Just a quick note -- you should include a Title Attribute within every link that you create. You should also include both a Title Attribute and an Alt Attribute in every image tag you insert. It doesn't matter what the link or image is for -- don't question it -- just do it! :)
Part 2: robots.txt
The robots.txt is a file which is placed in the main directory of your website. It contains information which tells legitimate search engines and bots what and what not to index. Below, is an example of what the file may contain:
This example tells all search engine bots visiting the site to not index the admin directory, the cgi-bin directory, and a specific file called erie-pa.html found within the ab-web-design-erie-pa directory. There are a few other methods you can use, and to learn about those I suggest reading the article: About /robots.txt over at www.robotstxt.org.
Part 3: sitemap.xml
The sitemap.xml is placed within the main directory of your website and it is precisely what it sounds like -- a map of your website. It helps search engine bots by letting them know what files exist within the site before indexing even takes place. This is beneficial to you, and to the bot, because it reduces the total indexing time. Here is an example of what may be found within a sitemap.xml file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
- loc: the location of the file
- lastmod: the last time the file was modified
- changefreq: how often the page content changes (eg. daily, weekly, monthly, etc...)
- priority: the priority of the page - relative the the other pages found within the site (the scale runs from 0.0 to 1.0, and is usually incremental to the tenths place - eg. 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc...)
We suggest reading a little more information about the sitemap.xml at www.sitemaps.org
Part 4: Let the crawling begin!
After completing the aforementioned steps, you are ready to submit your site to search engines for indexing. I suggest starting with Google, MSN Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, Alexa.
After you have those set up and ready to go, you should focus on link-building. It's a little tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it.