SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Information Technology Resources

by Jayaram V

Following suggestions may help you make your website search engine friendly.

1. Design: Ensure that design issues do not prevent the search engines from ranking your site. Some of the common problems with design that may interfere with the way the search engines work are:

  • Use of frames and layers and http calls,
  • Dynamic display of data,
  • Dynamic use of urls and page executions to display pages. For example Google advises you not to use "&id=" as a parameter in your URLs as they would not include such pages in their index.
  • Use of flash menus, and image maps (hot keys) for navigation,
  • Use of client side (javascripts) and server side programs, Database and SQL scripts for navigation and other functions.
  • Use of session ids or parameters that would prevent the search bots from crawling through your site.

2. Keywords: Select right keywords, that are specific and appropriate for your site. Much better if the keywords are found in the body tag of the page you are optimizing. Do some bench mark studies to see what keywords are being used by other websites that are similar to yours in content. Imagine what search words users might enter in the search engines to get the content that is similar to what you are providing and use the same phrases as your keywords. Find the right mix and balance of keywords, neither more nor less (max about 1000 characters) and do not use the same keyword more than once.

3. Title: Limit the title length to a few words or about 75 characters (including the spaces). Use in your title one or two keywords from the page keyword meta-tag.

4. Page content: Technically this is the content you provide in the body tag and what your site visitors get to see on each page. From optimization point of view, what you provide in the body tag of the web page is as important as the meta tags and the title of the page. Make sure that there are at least 200 to 300 words in your body tag and that some of the keywords used in the meta tag are also found the body tag.

5. Meta tags: Use appropriate meta tags in addition to the keyword meta tag. Meta tags help the robots to decide how to index your site and they are usually the first lines in a page to be read by them. So use meta tags generously in each page. Make sure that you will use at least the <description>, <robots>, <author>, <language>, <revisit-after>meta tags. The description tag is very important. It should have some of the keywords you use for the page and reflect the summary of the information in the body tag. It length should be around 250 characters including space.

6. Robots text file: Create a robots text file preferably with a notepad (with .txt file suffix) and place it in the root folder of your website. A robots text file usually contains directions to be followed by the robots especially what directories and files on your site to be indexed or not indexed. This small text file with a few lines of code is important because whenever robots visit your site to index your site they will look for this file for general directions. If you want to know how to create robots text file and what directions you need to provide please follow the link provided here.

7. Images: From a search engine point of view, each image in your page is a file by itself and when they come across image tags in a page during indexing they index the images separately. Search engines like Google now a days index images separately and provide an option to the users to search for graphics exclusively. It is therefore important that you provide appropriate information about each image in the 'alt' tag. The following example shows how you can do it:

<img src="mysitelogo.gif" width="25" height="25" alt="my website name/logo">

(in some version the image file tag has be closed with a closing tag)

8. Miscellaneous suggestions: In addition to the above keep in mind the following do's and don'ts.

  • Avoid using multiple pages with the same title and description.
  • Do not use hidden messages using the same colored font as the background in the page to trick the search engines.
  • Do not repeat the keywords and titles in the same page. Also use only one meta tag for all your keywords.
  • Use relevant keywords and phrases.

8. Take the help of experts. If you are really serious about your site ranking take the help of experts in the field. By paying a small fees to them, you may be saving yourselves a lot of time and effort. The experts know how to optimize your site with a few tricks and can really help you take your site to the next level. This is especially advisable if you are running an ecommerce website and looking for more traffic to your site. There are many services who can do this. For example Yahoo's Search Submit Pro can give you the tools to fine-tune your search marketing strategy. Yahoo's Search Submit Pro lets you create titles and descriptions that are displayed as algorithmic search result listings. The program can automatically generate result listings that best match user queries. You can update the information frequently, independent of changes to your Web site. Find out how

Other Important Aspects of Search Engine Optimization

1.Improve the download time of your website by optimizing your graphics and layout for each web page. Remember that your website will be more legible and visually appealing, if you use commonly used fonts and browser safe colors in your web pages.

2. Not all the browsers show your website in the same manner. For example several font types, colors, frames and scripts do not work or may not work as expected in some browsers. Not knowing the difference is to keep your website incompatible, invisible or annoyingly disturbing to many site visitors and may discourage them from visiting your website once again. Browser compatibility is therefore an important aspect of website creation and development.

3. Learn more about the finer aspects of website promotion and maintenance such as the custom pages for errors, using favicon icon repairing broken links etc. Also do not create programs that may expose your website to unauthorized intrusions. Use the freely available programs from other sources for your guest books, submission forms, email programs etc.

4. Follow the rules of submission sincerely. Many search engines are very strict about the code of conduct and debar a website permanently if they find that unfair methods are used to enhance a website popularity. Do not submit the site to the same search engine more than once in a month, unless you have strong reasons to do so, such as addition of new information or new web pages. Do not place hidden meta tags in your web pages. In your enthusiasm to make your website popular, do not use unfair means.

5. Update your site frequently. Check for the not found list from your site statistics to mend the broken links regularly.

6. Be careful with the content you display. If the content is hostile, anti social or or intended to hurt the sentiments of others, your website may be excluded from listing by several search engines.

7. Develop affiliations, partnerships and reciprocal links. The more links you can generate for your website through other websites, the more popular your website will become and eventually get the attention of major search engines.

5. Check how site will do in a text browser like Lynx, because this is how the search engine spiders would view your site. You can view website in a lynx browser from here

In the end remember that hard work pays. Patience has its own rewards. If you do not have money to spend, there is no need for despair. Use alternative means and cost effective methods to improve your website and make it more meaningful and useful to your visitors. Remember ultimately it is the quality of your web pages that matter.

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