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Friday, September 24, 2010

SEO concepts of Design

Design Concepts of SEO

Rule One: Design It for Humans

Search engines are engineered to find information that humans want. This means the best way to make your website accessible is to design it for humans. Your mission as a web designer is not to make fancy or animated designs, but rather to find a solution to a problem. Your job is to provide users with a site that is easy to navigate and is chock full of information that they are looking for. If you can accomplish this, then the search engines will inevitably find you.

Rule Two: The Importance of Good Title Tags

Every page in your website should include a title with a description of what that page is about. A total of 60 characters work best. The title tag should contain some of your keywords. It is important to remember this tells the search engines what your site is about, and it is also used as the link that shows up in the search results on Google, so use a compelling title that gives users a clear reason to click on it.

Rule Three: Alt Text on Images Make a Difference

All images on your website should have alt tags or alternative text. Alt tags are used to describe the image when the server can not find the image for which it is looking. Text will display, thus giving you a description of the image.  Also, Google will look to see that you have added the alt tags in your images so that blind visitors will still have access to your content. Google will rank your site higher for keeping it accessible to people with disabilities. Another side benefit is that alt tags can increase your keyword density.

Rule Four: Ignore Most Meta Tags

Back in the old days, meta tags were the key to SEO. All one had to do was put in a bunch of meta keywords and you would rank for the chosen keywords in no time. Nowadays Google does not give any relevance to meta keywords, however some smaller search engines do. The meta description is used to provide the text under the title link in search results by many search engines so you want to write a good meta description that accurately describes your site and uses some keywords. Make sure if you do decide to use meta keywords that you only use words that are actually represented on that page. If you do decide to use meta keywords that are not on the page; this could be viewed as spamming by the search engines!

Rule Five: Have a Site Map

You will want to have 2 different types of sites maps. One is an html page listing all the pages on your website. This serves as a type of "table of contents" for the user. This becomes increasingly important as your website becomes more elaborate. The second type of site map is an xml site map. The xml sitemap is an coded site map that makes it easier for the search engine spiders to index all the pages of your website. Go to Google Webmaster Tools to register your XML sitemap.

Rule Six: Use Relevant Keywords

Use a few different keywords and phrases that describe what your website is about. Use these and other related keywords, but only when it is natural to do so. Be careful not to over-do your keyword density or this could be viewed as spamming by Google. A good rule of thumb is to write the content like you are writing for human beings and not for search engines. For best optimization results use them in headlines, links and the general copy of the website.

Rule Seven: Focus on Content

Users searching the web aren't searching for design and graphics. They search for content and they are hungry for it.  If your site does not have the content for which users are searching, then no one will look at it. Or if they do, they won't stay very long.  Each page should begin with a relevant h1 tag as well as contain one of your keywords in the heading. The first paragraph should be a summary of the rest of the page and the first few sentences should also contain some of your keywords.

Rule Eight: Keep your Code Clean

It's best to code your sites in a text editor such as notepad and learn proper html or xhtml. Websites created by WSYWIG HTML programs (What you see is what you get) , produce an enormous amount of code, bloat and deprecated code. What this implies is that search engines may avoid these sites created by the WSYWIG HTML programs, depending on the amount of errors. It's best to use xhtml and CSS to determine the look and feel of the site. Use UL for untitled lists, p for paragraphs, h tags for heads and subhead, strong for bolded text and don't overuse div tags.

Rule Nine:  Your Home Page is the Most Important Page

This is the most important page of your website and the key to your site being found in the search engines. Your home pages should easily summarize the rest of your website and be easy to understand. Studies have shown that you have about 10 seconds to grab the users attention and keep then on your site. Your home page should have keywords in the title, heading, first few sentences of the first paragraph if possible, and alt tags in images on the home pages. You should also continue to use keywords in the rest of the content on the home page whenever it is natural to do so.

Rule Ten: Relevant Links Have Meaning

Search engines pay much attention to the links on your site and the words that you use in them. You should not use words such as "click here" or "for more information"Instead, the link text should describe where the link will take the visitor. For example, if your site is about SEO in Houston you would use something like "Houston SEO" or "Houton search engine marketing".  The more relevant the links on your page, the more findable your website will become in the search results. If your website is about CSS website design, a link explaining the concept of (Cascading Style Sheets), for example, will boost your search engine rankings, whereas a link to a picture of your dog will not.


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