Friday, July 27, 2012

Designing Your Site For The Search Engines 1

When you design a website, it's easy to focus on what your visitors are going to see. What you have to realise, though, is that you're going to have another kind ofvisitor with a completely different agenda: they're not going to be looking at your pretty logo and they're not goingto be passing judgement on your background colour. What they're looking for is the content and structure of your page.
They're the search engine spiders, and they are in control of probably the largest section of your traffic. You need to please these spiders if you want your site to be successful. Here's how.
Make Your Structure Clear.
Resist the temptation to lay your page out in non-standard ways: you want it to be very clear to the search engine wherethe navigation is, where the content is, and where the headings are. As a rule, put navigation first in your page. Always use the heading tags (h1, h2, etc.) for headings and sub-headings.
Avoid using generic span and div tags and only making things clear to the user through CSS font sizes: instead, use every 'semantic' HTML tag that applies to your content. If you're quoting someone, use the blockquote tag; if you're posting program code, use the code tag. Search engines love this.
Keep Keywords Consistent.
It's not usually worth deliberately saturating your content with keywords in hope of a higher search ranking – the engines have pretty much wised up to this tactic – but do make sure that your keywords appear consistently when they occur naturally. For example, for these articles, I have stuck with 'website'throughout, as suddenly writing 'web site' instead would bring down my rankings.
HTML and Javascript.
It's worth noting that search engines read HTML, but they don't, in general, read Javascript. That means that using Javascript to insert text into your page isa bad idea if you want search engines to see the text.

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