One of the trickiest yet most important aspects of web design is search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Regardless of how much time and effort you put into perfecting your website if you rank poorly in search engines it will likely fail. Although the finer points of SEO should be left to a professional there are many things the average web developer can do to boost their position in sites like Google or Yahoo. Here’s what we recommend…
Acquire Quality Backlinks: Many experts will tell you that backlinking is one of the most crucial elements of SEO when maintaining a strong long term ranking. Search engines interpret any website linking to yours as a “vote” for your web page when evaluating its importance. When approaching other companies for link exchanges try to target sites with similar or complimentary content to yours. Attaining links with similar subject matter will carry more weight than simply random links.
Proper Keyword Selection: It is important to research in advance what keywords or phrases people are most likely to use when searching for you on the web. Online resources such as Google AdWords will help you determine which keywords are most popular and sought after as it relates to your business. Also pay attention to your competitor’s websites (those who rank highly in search engines) and try to incorporate the keywords they consider most valuable.
Write Quality Content: One of the first rules of SEO is “content is king” meaning the written portion of your website plays a critical role in your search engine success. Make sure all your copy is written professionally and error free while also including your most important keywords and phrases. Don’t overuse keywords however, keep it to a reasonable amount (about 5-15% is recommended) or risk penalties for “spamming” or unethical SEO practices.
Use ALT Tags for All Your Images: Alt tags are descriptive tags used to name any graphics or images found on your website. Search engines can’t read images therefore they rely on ALT tags to decipher their meaning. Be sure to use ALT tags for all of your webpage graphics and include your major keywords wherever appropriate. Remember that ALT tags are sometimes visible in your browser so make sure you use names that accurately reflects the image at hand.
Frequently Update Your Website: It may sound simple but making a conscious effort to update your website regularly will keep you active in search engines so you don’t drop due to inactivity. Search engines are always looking for fresh content and frequently monitor how often any changes or updates have been made on your site. It Try to update your website at least once a week and even more than that if your schedule permits.
Include Keywords In Title Tags: Your title tags are the first place search engines look when going through each page of your website. Make sure all titles contain your most important keywords or phrases as you believe users will look for them in a web search. Also don’t give every page of your website the same name. Each should have their own unique description based on the most important content of that particlar page.
Give Each Page of Your Website an SEO Friendly Name: The file name you choose to give each page of your website is just as important as the title itself. For instance if your house cleaning website has a category called “services” you are better naming the page home-cleaning-services.html rather than simply services.html. Give each page a file name that tries to include your most important keywords as it relates to that particular page.
Header Tags: Search engines look specifically for header tags when scrolling through your website believing that headers contain more important information than simply regular text. Don’t just bold your headers, make the effort to take the next step and use proper header tags in your HTML code. As is the rule make your top keywords and phrases are written into your headers wherever possible.
Domain Name Selection: Choosing the proper domain name is one of the easiest yet most overlooked ways to get listed quickly in search engines. It’s more effective to pick a domain that not only includes your company name but also the product or service you provide. For example a book store named Benjamins will get better results using [http://www.benjaminsbookstore.com] rather than simply http://www.benjamins.com. Make sure you domain name clearly illustrates who you are and what you do for better results.