Ultimate Freeway Pro SEO guide
Author: Bart de Vreede
Last update: 03-05-2013
First of all let me start by telling you there is good news!
Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. go through a continuous cycle of evolution based upon their current knowledge how they should work and how to produce the search results their users expect to see. For a long time high rankings only were possible for big companies paying others using agressive "black hat" SEO techniques or using link farms.
The good news I was telling you about earlier is that those days seem to be over!
Before we dive into Freeway Pro specific optimization, first let me start with a quote from Google's Matt Cutts at SXSW when he was asked the question about how large companies were able to muscle out “ma and pa websites” with aggressive optimization techniques. Cutts replied by saying this;
“What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.“
I think this quote has a LOT of important information in it.
First of all, if you focus mainly on SEO or exaggerate chance is you will get a penalty. The second, and for us most important thing is, build honest websites with unique content and be rewarded with a good ranking. Of course, the technical part still needs to be ok, but the main focus is on content.
Below are some basic Freeway Pro tips and tricks on how to improve the technical part of your website. I know it's a long read, but it will be worth it.
PLANNING. Planning ahead is the key to a successful website! Try to sketch your interface and a good place to start is to use a gridsystem like 960.gs. Websites built on a grid are much nicer to see and look more "tidy". I also offer a free Freeway Pro template based on the 960 Grid System. Next, do research, plan your content, write text, gather images and think of your naming syntaxes.
STRUCTURE. After that, think of what pages you need and the structure you want to use. Try not to give your site too much depth (levels). Search engines don't like too deep or difficult structures. Use good old fashioned pen and paper to sketch the structure.
URL. Very important to choose the right, descriptive name right from the start. Please read my article How to set the URL and Page Name in Freeway Pro.
DEDICATION & DENSITY. Try to dedicate a full page to one subject instead of throwing all you can think of on one page. Make sure this subject is visible in the file- and page name, header tags (h1, h2) and is used a couple of times in the paragraph text. Density is good, but stay within reasonable limits. You can also use Meta Tags to tell what you page is about, but Search Engines don't use them too much anymore. Read the next paragraph for more info.
META Description, Keywords, Language, Robots etc. Please read my article How to add metatags and keywords to your Freeway Pro site.
FONTS & TEXT. Very important is that you use selectable HTML text on your website! Please read my other article about Styling text in Freeway Pro.
INTERNAL LINKS. Use a footer or sitemap explaining the structure of your site to the visitor but also use internal links in smart places to make the navigation through your website as intuitive as possible.
EXTERNAL LINKS ON YOUR WEBSITE. Make a lot of links to other websites from your articles or content. For example if you use difficult words or anything else that possibly needs explanation link that word or sentence to a Wikipedia page. Good external links do help.
EXTERNAL LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE. If a lot of other quality websites contain links to your website or page, this probably is a good website or page also. Makes sense right?!
The other way around is if you use a link- or content farm or if your website or page is visible in the "dark part of the internet" this probably is not a site you want to be. Again, this makes sense.
The short version is that high quality links on other websites will help you get a better rank. So for example place your website's url and a description in your signature on high quality forums you visit. Remember, the quality of the backlinks to you are much more important than the quantity.
DEAD LINKS. Very important! Try to avoid dead links on your website. This will dramatically decrease the quality of your site and will not be appreciated by the search engines. Dead links are a big nono. So if you find one on my site please let me know!
SOCIAL MEDIA. These day's it's all about social media. But you can use this to your advantage. Make accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Delicious, etc. and place every article, update and link on these websites. If you are lucky people will start to Like or Retweet your messages creating some sort of hype or even better, become trending topic.
By the way, make sure you fill in a good description at your Twitter account. If this matches the content of your website, this will raise the credibility of your account for Search Engines.
SCRIPTS. Try not to use too much (Java)scripts, MOOtools, JQuery etc. on one page. At least not more than three per page. Also the standard Facebook and Google buttons come with scripts and are not the most optimised scripts. A script will slow your webpage down and (crawling) speed is one of those things search engines like. Read my article on how to use optimised Google +1 code.
IMAGES. Try not to use too many images on your page and if you do use images, try to make them as small as possible! Freeway Pro has some great features that can help you make your images smaller (compression). Just like the scripts, images slow down your webpage and will not be appreciated by the search engines.
Important, give your images a good descriptive name and give everything an image- or ALT tag so the Search Engine can "read" your images.
GOOGLE WEBMASTER. Make a free Google Webmaster account. This way you will have some extra options to help Google find and index your website.
Download the html file and upload this to the root of your website so Google can verify you are the owner of this website. After this go back to the Webmaster Tools and add your website like this: www.yourwebsitename.com and like this: yourwebsite.com. Tell Google Webmaster Tools at yourwebsitename.com that the preferred domain is www.yourwebsitename.com.
BING WEBMASTER. Just like Google, Microsoft's Bing is a big player. Go to Bing and make a free account. Add your website and put the BingSiteAuth.xml in the root of your website so Bing can verify you are the owner of this website.
SITEMAP. A sitemap is a very small file that will tell the bot or spider exactly what the structure of your website is and makes the crawling-process much easier and faster. It is proven a sitemap will dramatically improve the way search engines like your website. As told before, they like speed. In the most recent versions of Freeway Pro is a new action called Site Mapper action. I've also written a tutorial on how to use this action and will help you automatically generate and publish your sitemap. You can read the article here.
SPEED. The speed of your site is a thing Google takes in account. For that reason they offer a service called Sitespeed in their analytics pages. Don't use too much or too big images, compress/optimise your images, don't use too much scripts and take a decent webhosting account. Cheap ones put thousands of websites on one server and will have big effect on your speed and loading time. Pay a bit more for a quality hoster.
FRESH CONTENT. Make sure you put new content on your website on a regular basis. If your content gets updated hourly, daily or weekly this means that you have a very active website. Activity gets rewarded by paying you with a lot of visits from the crawlers.
As a lot of specialists and other articles say, SEO is about three things. Content, content and content. I totally agree with that.
I'm pretty sure there are people with other opinions about how to make the ultimate SEO friendly website, but in my experience this should do the trick just fine.
Maybe I forgot things or readers have additional tips. This article will be updated when there is more info.
So for now, happy Freeway Pro SEO'ing!
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Article tags: Freeway Pro, SEO, How to, Google, optimization, black hat, ultimate guide, search engine optimization, optimalization