Once you have a web site, you want people to find it. Design your site with the search engines in mind, make it easy for them to index your site, and you will be rewarded with more visitors.
Don’t assume that your web designer is qualified to optimize your site. Many designers use Flash intros, Java Script navigation and text embedded in graphics. These may look cool, but they will make it difficult or impossible for search engines to read what is on your site.
Don’t pay $49 to get your site submitted to 4,000 search engines. Most search results are delivered by just a few search engines and directories: Google, Yahoo, Teoma and the new MSN search.
To find out if your site is in the search engines, go to a search site and search for your domain name, such as “www.mywebsite.com”. If it doesn’t show up, you can submit your site (look for a link to add a URL). However, the fastest way to get indexed is to get a link from a site already known to the search engines. Ask a friend or colleague to link to you from their site.
In ‘Search Engine Optimization for Dummies,’ (Wiley Publishing, Inc.) Peter Kent offers several quick tips to immediately make your site more search-engine-friendly.
Get rid of frames. Search engines will typically only see the frame and not the main content of the pages.
Maximize Meta tags. Meta tags are not displayed when a user views the site, but are read by the search engines. If you want to see the Meta tags on your site or any other, in your browser click on “View,” then “Source” or “Page Source.” The important tags are “TITLE” and “DESCRIPTION.” These tags will be used by the search engine to determine what the page is about, and some will display them in search results. Make sure both “TITLE” and “DESCRIPTION” reflect the content of each page and that they include important keywords. The “TITLE” tag should be just below the “HEAD” tag, with the “DESCRIPTION” tag just below it.
Use keywords throughout the page, making sure the most important keywords are near the top of the page. Many search engines give extra importance to keywords in headings, so use H tags. Search engines may also look at keywords in bold and italics, or in bulleted lists, as being especially important on the page.
Links to other pages within your site should be text (not images), and should include keywords, not simply, “Click here.” For example, “Click here for our catalog of discount office supplies.”
Keywords should be used multiple times on a page, but a particular word shouldn’t make up more than five to ten percent of all the words on a page.
Have a good navigation system with text links. A site map is useful to visitors and the search engines.
Search engine optimization is an ongoing process, but with just a few simple steps you can make your web site more visible.