Practical Web Programming

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Search Engine Friendly Design

If you want your website to be search engine friendly, you should focus on the design of each of your page. Make it as easy for them to crawl your site. Google, Yahoo and other search engines use bots or spiders to visit and index your website. They do not reveal when and how they crawl a site, it's their sort of business strategy. But when and how they do it, you should optimize your website's pages because you'll never know when they going to do it.

When optimizing your site, you should not only focus on the main page but rather all the pages of you site. This way you can maximize your potential to get listed in organic searches.

A search engine friendly design focuses on four areas, title tags, meta tags, main body text, and spider friendly navigation.

A) Title Tags
The title tag a short description of your page and can be seen as the caption of your page at top left corner. When making your title tag, your most important key word should go first. Don't use the same title for multiple webpage and make it no more than 60 characters of 6-12 words.

<title>Joel Badinas dot Com</title>

B.) Meta tag (Keyword and Description tags)
Meta tags are tags embedded in the HTML of your page, at the top just after the Title tags.

When writing your Meta Desciption tag, write it in sentence structure and should be 150 characters or below or 25-30 words. It must contain you most important keywords.

<meta name="Description" content="This blog is about my ramblings, make money online tips, programming stuffs, blogging tips, views and my everyday life"/>

When writing your Meta Keyword Tags, use keywords or phrases. It should be 100-250 characters in length. Start with your most important keywords or phrases and the proceed with the less important ones.

<meta name="Keyword" content="ramblings, make money online tips, programming stuffs, blogging tips, views, everyday life"/>

C.) Main Body Text
The main body text is the contents of your web pages. In the body text, scatter your keywords near the top of the page, be careful not to overdo it or else search engines might think you're spamming your contents with your keywords. 3 to 5 times of occurrence is considered fine. Use <h1> - <h5>, <b> tags to highlight those keywords.

To see a live example, visit my apple recipes page in my online recipe website. Notice how I highlight my keyword, apple recipes.

C.) Spider Friendly Navigation
The navigation in your website is the menus and URLs that leads to other pages in your website. When a search engine spider crawls your website, it will follow whatever URLs it will find in your website. If some of your URL isn't working, the spider can't access it and will lead to some of your pages not being crawled and indexed.


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