Web Designing With Search Engine Optimisation In Mind
Is submitting to search engines an exact science? Well yes and no. Different search Engines use different techniques to rank web pages, so depending on which search engine you are trying to target, the result will and usually vary. There are millions upon millions of web pages out there, all competing for the prestigious top search engine rankings. Getting your site to the top of the pile can be a long and frustrating battle.
The major players in the search engine world, like Google, Yahoo, Alta-vista and Lycos, all have their own systems for indexing and ranking, so what might be great for one of them, may not be so great for another. As there are millions of web pages competing for the top rankings, there are also lots of companies out there promising to make your site achieve top spot. Lets just stop and think for a minute. As with all business's in life, you will have your reputable ones, and then you will have the opposite. Can they really achieve what they say they can? We are not doubting that there are a lot of professional companies out there who could do such that, but if you do choose to go down that road, we think you should do your research and choose carefully. There are lot of companies offering to submit web designs to thousands of search engines, but realistically, it is the major search engines you should be interested in.
So how can you get your web site in the higher rankings of the major search engines? That is the million dollar question that everyone wants to know and would like to be done yesterday. The answer is not that easy, but then again it is not impossible.
First of all, consider the field your site is competing in. Obviously the first thing you should be looking at are the sites which are ranked highly. What are they doing that you are not? Take a look at their web site. Are they graphically intense. Do they use frames and so on and so on. Viewing other sites which are top of the pile for your chosen subject will give you an indication of how the search engine indexes and ranks and what criteria it uses.
Now, lets take a look at your site. Keep in the back of your mind what you have learnt from looking at other web designs. How does your compare?
Content within your web design. Has your site sufficient content? Search engines love content. This might be hard to achieve if your web site is just a few pages and is of brochure style. Is the content on your site relevant to the overall criteria of your site?
Inbound and outbound links in your web design structure
Do you have links on your site and do other sites link to yours? Certainly Google will look at this when ranking your site. Google uses a page ranking algorithm and judges the importance of your site with the amount of inbound and outbound links. If you do not have any links, or very little, you will not achieve a high page ranking score, thus affecting your overall ranking.
Graphically intense web design?
Take a look at how you are using graphics on your site. A graphically intense web site results in longer download times and bandwidth consumption. Another downside to using graphics, especially for buttons that link to your pages and other sites, is that search engines don't really see them. If you are going to use graphics for buttons and links, try and make sure that you use text links somewhere on your pages. That way, the search engine spiders or robots will be able to follow your sites link structure. Another good practise to adopt is to always use the alt tag for your images.
Web designing using frames
Try and avoid frames if you can as search engines do have trouble with framed pages. In our opinion, unless you are really sure of what you are doing, leave frames alone and look for an alternative way of designing web pages for your site.
Utilising meta tags in your web design
Although strictly speaking it is not a meta tag, it is certainly the most important part of your web page. The Title! Having a well written and descriptive title is crucial to search engine optimisation. Google displays a maximum of 66 characters from the Title in their search results. Try and write a title that will catch the eye of the surfer, whilst utilising keywords.
Meta keywords are used by search engine spiders or robots to index your page, so think about the audience you are trying to target. Think of words you would enter into search engines to find a site similar to the yours. Think of other combinations of words. Are you targeting the specific area in which you live? If so, make sure you put your location into the meta keywords. Have a look at the example below:
<meta name="keywords" content="web design, derby, east midlands ">
In our example, this is something which could relate to our site, so be creative and think about keywords that could tell the search engines what your site is about. Do not repeat the same words though and most importantly, ensure that these words you use as keywords, actually appear in the main body of your content. Do not put words that are not in your page content!
The meta description tag is also very important and is used by search engines to inform users what your site is all about. For example:
<meta name="description" content="GeoGeo Web Design. Derby based web designers covering all areas of the East and West Midlands.">
The text within the meta tag description will be displayed under the title in the search engine ranking, so it is important to be descriptive. We recommend that you use a maximum of 155 characters for the description of your page. A well written description is certainly 100% better than just keyword stuffing.
Although this article is not an exhaustive explanation to search engine submission and search engine optimisation, hopefully you will understand a little more of the complexities of search engines. It is no easy fête to get you web design to the top of the pile, but it is achievable. We will let you know when we achieve it for ours ;-)