keyboard with SEO highlighted

Search engine optimization used to be a META tag, now it’s a lot more methodical.

Let’s be honest. No search engine matters more than Google. And in a land where Google rules supreme, you have to learn to play by their rules. Fortunately the rules they’ve created aren’t evil, but there’s a reason that entire companies exist for SEO…because it’s very challenging to do correctly.

As of this writing, there’s still a ton we’re doing here at Enplug on our current website to make it Google-friendly. Here’s 7 things we’ve learned (many the hard way) that can save you trouble:

1) Use an HTML/CSS framework so you can focus on the important things
It’s standard to want to create your own awesome website from the ground-up. If you’re a web developer, you dream of clean HTML and sexy SASS files. But there’s a reason great frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation exist. Unless you have a reason not to use a framework, you should start there and focus on content, content, content.

2) Design a solid website structure and be concise
People are very aware of their time and aren’t going to read an essay about your website. Your website must be simple, structured, and compelling. Wireframe each page and break it down into segments. Try to truly ignore the fact that you know everything about your company – the rest of the world has to learn it.

3) If you’re redirecting somewhere use a 301 or 302 via htaccess. Everything else is sketchy.
Google doesn’t like in-page redirects such as PHP Header. If you need to redirect somewhere upon initial visit of your website, use .htaccess to do a simple 301 (permanent) or 302 (temporary). Great tutorial here

4) Submit a sitemap XML file
This is a simple one, but often times forgotten. Google has a list of XML Generators here. Takes 5 minutes

5) Create a blog
Create a company blog and write interesting and relevant posts. Make sure to have the URLs structured so keywords are in it. By default, blogs like WordPress use, which isn’t good for google rankings. Make sure to change it.

6) The first sentence on each page is likely what Google will use
Keep in mind that the first sentence on each page, <h1> tag or not, is likely to be what Google registers as most important. Your first sentence should be carefully crafted.

7) Google knows a good website
This is the most important one. Google knows if people found what they were looking for when visiting your site, so developing compelling content that gets them to stay is crucial.