We often run into development requests that are based on common SEO misconceptions. Below is a list of facts (with official documentation) that should address most of these. Really, while there are a set of best practices to follow in order to improve your rankings, the golden rule is to create good, quality, relevant content coupled with standards-based, valid code and fast, efficient code and server setup.
Title and description meta tags are important
Titles and descriptions are important for your page. They can influence ranking and they can allow your results to display more relevant and useful information in the search results.
- Every page should have a title and description, preferably a unique one
- Avoid vague titles like
- Avoid boilerplate titles that are the same on each page
See videos, lyrics, posters, albums, reviews and concerts
- Brand titles in a short, concise way
- Don’t keyword stuff titles or descriptions:
Foobar, foo bar, foobars, foo bars
Keyword meta tags are useless
Google does not use keyword meta tags AT ALL (nor do other major search engines).
Nofollow should be used on paid links
Paid links should use the no follow attribute. “In order to prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use
nofollow on such links.”
There is no “duplicate content penalty”
“Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a
duplicate content penalty.”
Basically, unless your scraping content from other sites without adding value to it, you need not worry about it.
What you should do:
- ensure that only one domain has the content (avoid the same content on multiple domains and subdomains – unless of course they are meant for different audience…see below)
- if you want to force Google to consider a specific version of your content as the primary version use canonicalization. But this will not influence the page ranking, it will merely ensure that one version is considered the most important.
Pick a good url structure for international sites
For our purposes, the subdomain url structure is best:
de.example.com. This keeps the same domain for all visitors while allowing easy separation of server and code infrastructure.
And again, don’t worry about duplicate content: international sites can have the same or similar content as long as they are serving different visitors in different regions.
Code quality and validity is important
It is important to have standards-based, good quality code on your site. Validity of HTML and CSS is taken into account and is seen as a measure of quality.
Page speed is important
Aside from content, page speed is one of the best measures of quality that Google can use to assess a site. As such, it is very important to optimize sites and to follow the best-practices and suggestions that speed analytics sites give you. There’s a lot, so instead of listing what to do, I’ll link a few of these tools: