Basic SEO for All Websites

I worked on fifteen websites last week. That’s not counting the websites I take care of an ongoing basis, either, but fifteen websites needing to be written, rewritten, or optimized.

If you know me IRL, then you may know this, because it came up a lot in conversation, like this:

“Have you graded our papers?”
“I’m working on fifteen websites.”

“How’s the Brahms coming?”
“I’m working on fifteen websites.”

“What’s for dinner?”
“I’m working on fifteen websites.”

Fifteen websites is a lot to work on at once. Busy is good, of course, and I’m not complaining. I got drafts of all of them turned in, and quite a few of them have gotten their final polishing and tweaking, and some have actually launched. I enjoyed them all.

But working with that kind of volume caused me to notice something.

You are of course special, unique, and completely different from everyone else. So is your website. No two of those websites needed exactly the same treatment, and no two got the same strategy, structure, or wording.

But there are some things that need to be done for all websites.

  • Check to see how people use your website before you make final decisions about planned changes. If you have Google Analytics, use that data. If not, or if for some reason that data isn’t sufficient, then test the site.
  • Check your navigation and make sure that you have a reasonable number of options on your navigation bar, and that they link in reasonable ways.
  • Look at the source code for the page and make sure you have titles, descriptions, and alt tags for all your pages. Whether you believe that meta keywords are good for search or not, the source code is still a handy place to store them, so you’ll remember to use them.
  • Make sure the major search engines know about your website. Here are their links:

After you do these five things, there are plenty of other things that will benefit your particular website. But every site needs these five things.


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