There are more than 100 million sites available on the Internet today with a decent URL and site content. Starting a new website today seems hard. How can you compete with all the other sites and get the visitors turn to your site instead? To get your page highly ranked on various search engine sites there are actually a number of things you can do. Some of these are simple to implement and some others are something to think about when you design and develop websites. Tips like these are generally called SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization. We will go through a few of them and this will help search engine spiders to find your site, index it and making it a lot easier to find it.
2. Don’t use Flash or Images as content boxes
For the same reason a Flash menu is bad, having Flash as a content box is worthless. The web spider won’t be able to read and collect the content nor following the links. If you have a blog entry in a Flash box or in an image nothing will be recorded by the web spider. The same goes for a normal image, the web spider can’t translate the image and nothing will be scanned.
3. Always provide the ‘ALT’ attribute for images
Since the web spider can’t record text and links presented in an image it’s important to always provide the ALT attribute. The ALT attribute describes what the current image is all about making it possible for the web spider to record that. It is also possible to supply a ‘LONGDESC’ attribute if you have a longer text added in the image. These attributes will help you improve your rankings especially on the search sites searching for images.
4. Provide a Sitemap
If you ever have used the Google Webmaster Tools you know you can provide a sitemap to the Google web spider, have you ever thought of why? As I said in the beginning, the web spider will crawl your web pages, read and collect information and content plus follow all the links your web pages have, both external and internal. Having a sitemap pointing to all different pages your web site contains guaranties that the web spider will go through every one and scan them. Otherwise you can not be sure that all of your web pages will be included in the web spider scan.
5. Use descriptive anchor text
Way to often you enter sites with useful content and when you want to read the full review/text there is just a simple link saying ‘Read the full text’, ‘Learn more’ or ‘Click here’. Links in your web site is extremely important. You should think twice as hard when adding a link and make sure your anchor text is relevant and descriptive. Supply a line of text or a word which is important for this specific article/blog entry/text. You want visitors to find you based on this title or topic, not because many have clicked on your ‘Learn more’ link. Instead supply a link similar to ‘Learn more about SEO Tips’.
6. Avoid splash screens
It is very good if the web spider can gather as much information about your site as possible. Having a splash screen on your default main page with an image or Flash box saying ‘Enter’ is flat out bad. We know that web spiders can’t read Flash boxes and having an image with lots of text is also bad. If you have a Flash box on your splash screen the only thing the web spider will see is the first page, nothing more. Worst case you have nothing else on the page so the spider will see this as an empty site. Your default main page will be scanned a lot more frequently than the rest of your internal pages. Make sure you can reach all your important web pages from your default main page.
7. Avoid using the same title text
This is a simple tip. Give each and every web page a unique title with the most important keywords in it. When the title tag is scanned by the web spider it is saved as the main topic of your page. If don’t have unique title tags the spider will think every single page in your web site have the same topic. To make sure you have a unique title tag you should provide the most unique keyword at the beginning of the title.
8. Avoid keyword stuffing your title text
Since the web is always evolving it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what’s good and what’s bad. A few years ago keyword stuffing worked like a charm. You could add as many keyword as you wanted. Today you need to be careful with adding keywords. You don’t want to over do it. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t have the same word written many times, this will count as spam which is really bad.
9. Avoid changing the main root
The older your page is, the higher ranking it will get. By changing the main root when updating to a newer version of you web site is bad. Not only will you lose important back links but the foundation you have built up with the older root will be gone. Have as a rule to never change the main root.
10. Avoid overusing AJAX
AJAX is just as cool and fancy like Flash but sadly it’s impossible for the web spider to scan. The spider won’t be able to crawl nor index your web site and your web page might end up un-indexed. Since AJAX also is loaded dynamically you will never be able to send or post the current page with the current content to anyone else. AJAX is cool and should be used, just don’t overuse it.
11. Make your content interesting
You should always focus on your content on your web site. Try to get unique and useful content on your web site. Make sure to update it regularly and don’t delete posts you have done earlier. This will help you in the long run since interesting content brings more visitors via other links. Interesting content will bring back links, visitors and a lot of fun!
12. Try to avoid unfriendly URL’s
Ruby on Rails is a great example of how to create friendly URL’s from dynamically created URL’s. A unfriendly URL is something similar to this: yoururl.com/?game=88. A friendly version of that URL would be yoururl.com/game/88 or even yoururl.com/game/title-of-the-game. The URL is a perfect place to add some of those unique keyword that makes this specific page interesting. Overall the friendly URL’s look a lot better and they are good for you, your visitors and the web spider.
Okay folks! That’s 12 tips you can think about and see how you can use them! I really suggest you create a sitemap right away and include a link to that sitemap on your default main page. As always, your comments and suggestions is always welcome! Final note, these ideas and tips are not guarantying anything. They are ways of improving your search engine ranking.