1. Don’t use session IDs in URLs. It sounds like a good idea on the surface, an easy way to track customer information, but here’s the problem. Each time a spider crawls the site, a new URL with session ID is created. The spider now has two, or three or more URLs all showing duplicate content. Go back to Go, do not collect $200. Don’t confuse this with pages that may have a couple GET variables in them; avoid that when you can, but just avoid having your pages containing session IDs.
2. Choose a reputable web host. The most potent negative ranking factor is server accessibility. If your server, located in Timbuktu, is inaccessible to spiders, it’s inaccessible to visitors. Down time soon becomes down and out time.
3. Avoid duplicate content. Googlebots employ filters to detect duplicate content. Now, if you opt to post some syndicated articles, you’re providing a service to visitors. However, a bot will recognize that content (it’s already appeared on 400 sites) and you’ll see a drop in traffic rank.
4. Jettison low-quality links. Google assesses the character of your site by the company you keep so keep good company by unlinking from (1) links farms, (2) sites with absolutely no quality content and (3) otherwise low-quality sites; e.g. FFA (free for all) sites.
5. Avoid any kind of links deception. Googlebots aren’t smart, but they can detect some paid links and a variety of links scams, including generated links. If a Googlebot suspects links fraud, your site may be penalized and sent to the basement or banned altogether.
6. Avoid a log-in before visitors and bots access “the good stuff.” Log-ins can easily confuse a bot who won’t be able to access quality content hidden behind a log in. Even though users with Google toolbars will be unknowingly suggesting new URLs to be crawled as they surf about, having teasers for the content your monetizing by subscription will help your SEO.
7. Avoid using frames. Horizontal and vertical framesets frameset are commonly used by designers to present more than one page of a site on the screen at the same time. However, frames are also bot traps. They can get in but they can’t get out, making it impossible for them to index a site – at all! Tell your developer to look at using iframes if possible or absolutely necessary.
8. Avoid duplicate title/meta tags. Title/meta tags are a valuable resource for site owners to expand access points to a site. Using title tags ensures that more pages are indexed and listed in Google’s SERPs as distinct links. All good. Unfortunately, too many duplicate title tags on pages in which the content topic hasn’t changed, is redundant and a waste of the bots time. Use tag your pages uniquely and judiciously.
9. Do not keyword stuff. Even though search engines no longer give much weight to keyword tags, keyword stuffing continues. Select 20 to 30 keywords – top-tier and long-tail – and focus on them. Keep keyword density in body text at no more than 3%. The old 5% rule still led to on-site gibberish – obviously these figures vary by competitive landscape.
10. Do not let quality slip – even for a day. Spiders crawl sites with greater frequency and sophistication and index updates are common as changes to a site are implemented. During periods of construction, be sure to keep spiders out of staging areas that have yet to be completed nofollow or block with robots. These works-in-progress may cost you points in the ranking sweepstakes.