We recently went through every SEO and web design client we have had in the last couple of years to see what was working for them and what wasn’t working for them. The results were not too surprising, but we had to do it to see for ourselves what was working and what wasn’t for our clients.
First we looked at our biggest successes. We have quite a few clients with first page placement in the Google search results for their main key words. We took ten of those clients and did an analysis of what was working for them.
Of the ten clients we looked at, all ten of them also had great rankings at Yahoo and MSN for the same keywords. What that means: standard SEO aimed primarily at Google rubs off on Yahoo and MSN. You don’t need to do anything special just for them.
Only 2 of the 10 we looked at have completely valid HTML code. So the validity of the HTML code seems to make no difference for SEO purposes.
Of the 10 sites, 5 have fully valid CSS code. Again, this factor doesn’t appear to make a big difference.
Of the 10, 9 have an optimized site map (using links that have title attributes on all the links, and where the links to the pages contain the key words as the underlined text. So this factor (title attributes in site maps) does appear to help with the SEO
Much more to come on this analysis, including what doesn’t appear to work any more.