Basic SEO Design and Development Tips

HTML Format

Your site must be using an HTML format. Most non-text content cannot be crawled by the search engines; although they are improving in this aspect it is best not to leave anything to chance. To check and see if your site is using HTML, simply copy a line of text from your site and paste it into your notepad, if it sticks it is HTML, if does not, it is not HTML.

Flash is Evil

Stay away from Flash or Java related plug-ins, the search engines will not see them and they most likely will slow your site down with cumbersome coding. Place your web address in SEO-browser.com and you can see what aspects of your site the search engines are indexing.

Crawlable Link Structure

Make sure your menu/navigation has a crawlable link structure. Each webpage should be linked from another page. If the pages are not linked from one to another and stand alone, the search engines will not see them. Keep the navigation in the order of importance. If your goal is to have visitors log-on to a webinar, it should be on the first page not buried deep within the site. Try not to go more than three pages deep, every page should be reachable by no more than three clicks. Utilize drop down menus and anchor texts if need be.

Avoid Frames

Try to avoid using frames or I-Frames. They are crawlable but search engines have a hard time organizing them. There are advanced ways of circumventing this but for our SEO purposes we’re keeping it basic.

Forms and Spam

Do not place anything you want searched on forms or surveys, Google and the rest will not index them, this includes links. Speaking of links, do not have more than 100 links per page. This is a roundabout number but anything above 100 the search engines may consider spam. You don’t want that.

HTML Site Map

Construct an HTML Site Map and place it in the footer of your website so it can be accessed through out the site. Not every webpage needs to be placed in this site map. It should correspond to the link structure of the menu navigation.

XML Site Index

Use an XML Site Map or site index to help web-crawlers analyze and index each webpage on your site. It depends on what content management system your using but this can be as easy as adding a simple plug-in, if not you can use this site map generator http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ It is strictly to help search engines organize the pages on your site and has no adverse or advantageous effects for the end user.

Site Speed

Site speed and upload time has become crucial to good SEO. This will be a hindrance as you add more content to your site. Be sure your coding is nice and tight and the java script is at the top. If your site takes more than two seconds to upload 75% to 80% of your visitors will click away. Also, the slower your site the less likely it will compete for ranking in the SERP’s. Google is big on speed now and you can check your site speed HERE, so obviate from flash and cumbersome add on’s, plug-ins and scripts. Avoid too much editing within your content management system and strip all word doc code using notepad or another HTML editor.

Images

Use alt-tags, titles and descriptions for all your images. When you upload images to your site be sure to accurately fill in these fields. Search engines read and index HTML, images are not HTML but the alt tags (alternative text), Title and descriptions are. This will help your images come up in relevant organic search. Make a habit of doing this for each image. I know it may be time consuming but images are holding more and more sway in SEO. Also, name the image file appropriately, the search engines may pick up the file name from time to time.