A few years back I’ve done a lot of research on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and it was hard work sifting out the good info between all the crap. But through a recent post on the Sitepoint Blog I went on a research journey again.

One of the things I found out is that Google itself is much more helpful nowadays than it has been before. Though they are still silent on what “signals” they rank, they are opening up and even helping us.

One of the new ‘goodies’ are microformats (or Rich Snippets n google’s webmaster blog). Essentially they are a way to use a certain HTML markup (with tags, classes and rel attributes) to tell search engines a bit more about a specific thing you’re saying. The common examples are hcard (person/buisness card), hcalendar, hreview and hatom (blogging). I found this ‘Getting Started with Microformats‘ to be quite useful.

For those using also WordPress: I checked my wordpress and it’s default team for the rel=tag attribute, and was happy to find it implemented in the get_the_term_list() function (which  the get_the_tag_list() uses). However the tags cloud doesn’t seem to include it, so I manually added it in /wp-include/category-template.php (line 715). If you use a custom theme you should also check it.

Another interesting thing was to see how Google has developed their image search in the past years. You have probably already noticed how images.google.com looks ‘different’, but if you want to know the developer side to it you can check out this article. Also I got hooked for an evening to the Google Image Labler, which is actually doing nothing for us developers, but still a fun way help Google out with tagging their images (although I doubt it’s very useful considering the way people play this ‘game’ – ‘white/black/tree/guy/girl’ anyone?)

Of course there’s a shitload more information out there, but as many things seemed familiar I didn’t dive too deep into it. If you’re less lazy than me you can start at the Google SEO Help site. Oh and for me it was good advice to remember again that using a lot of JavaScript, Flash and images to replace well-written texts is not doing a lot of good for your page ranking.

If you’re using WordPress I can strongly recommend Yoast’s SEO Blog Post.