SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important component of your overall web strategy and you should be using several to build a find-able website. BUT… successful SEO depends on your understanding of the search engines, what they like to see and how they like to see it. There are many important factors to keep in mind as you build find-ability into your website design. This list is just a few of the more important ones that will really help you build points:
– Honest content and not trying to trick the search engines. Make sure your content is relevant and has value to your users.
– Content that is readily visible to spiders with nothing to block the full indexing of pages, such as old html and nested tables or content not placed properly.
– More content than code on your pages. If you are not up on things, html is old news. In fact, with older template and WYSIWYG created sites this can actually cost you in ranking (MS Front page for example). This is why your code writer is as important as your keywords. (See my article “You can’t separate the code from the SEO”).
– Keyword rich and valuable and meaningful content. This means content that is not “stuffed”.
– Content with a clear information hierarchy so spiders can tell what a page is about. Again this goes back to the code, the order and priority assigned to header tags for example.
– Content that loads quickly and easily for the spiders. This insures proper indexing. Bring your site up to standards using new CSS standards, and make sure your content is marked up correctly (bold keywords is an example).
– Clean meaningful URLs with keywords when possible. This works for people too.
– Back-links to your web site that are from reputable sources. Search engines use this to determine the credibility of your website. And back-linking counts really high toward your overall ranking.
When you look at these you can understand what the search engines want. They want us to give them plenty of clean, relevant, honest, high quality content. On the coding side we have coined a phrase for this: we call it “Search Engine Positive Code”. And as we build all this into our overall Asheville web design the benefits are more than just promoting SEO: there is accessibility.
For example most of the points listed are also part of the new accessibility standards. By building your website to meet these new standards you will broaden your overall audience. This includes users with disabilities and those using alternate devices like hand-helds. Placing content in the “alt” and “title” attributes, (a couple of the tags that aid accessibility) provides context and relevance to you website. This helps the engines understand your page and accurately connect searchers with your web site. Accessibility and find-ability overlap.
People and search engines both appreciate great content. When people find content useful they tend to evangelize and spread the word. They create links on their blogs and even talk about your content on discussion boards. Plus, those in-bound links not only bring more people to your website, they help build your reputation with the search engines. They evaluate your site’s reputation by the quality of the sites that link back to you. So it all strings together, good content, clean code, and back-links all blend to improve your find-ability, reputation, and search engine optimization.