At Heppiness Web Design Bolton, search engine friendliness isn’t an add on, an optional extra or an after thought. Every web site is built to be accessible, indexable and readable by Google, Bing, Yahoo and all other major search engines, based on your key phrases. Why?
Because there’s no point building a web site that nobody can find.
But what makes a web site search engine friendly?
let them in
All search engines send out spiders and bots to crawl the web looking for new web sites, new pages and changes to existing sites and pages.
Their job is to read the words on a web page, note where these words are on the page and to find links within that page to follow them to the next page. This process is known as crawling.
By using a file called robots.txt you can direct all spiders or specific spiders to files and directories within your site structure. You can also ask spiders not to visit certain file and directories.
The key is to ensure that all files and directories that contain customer facing site content are allowing the spiders access. An incorrectly written robots.txt could block all spiders from accessing your site, resulting in your site not being indexed.
help the spiders
Once a spider lands on your site, you want it to find every page and post. We have already said that the spider will find and follow links within your page, you can therefore help a spider by having a clear and structured navigational system, created using html hyperlinks. All pages should be accessible by following a family tree style structure from the homepage, with no orphaned pages.
You can also help them by providing a html sitemap that is linked from your homepage and an XML sitemap that is referenced in your robots.txt.
XML site maps should also be submitted to the major search engines using their webmaster tools or submission functions.
The very best site maps are dynamic and update whenever a new page or post is added to your site. These can in turn ping the search engines with your new content.
Before any content is created a keyword analysis of your services, products and/or subject should be undertaken. The aim here is to find out how your potential visitors search for whatever it is you offer.
Your keywords should then reflect the most used search terms for your offerings.
As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indices. If you want your page to rank in search results for the phrase “tree” it makes sense to ensure the word “tree” is part of the indexable content.
As mentioned above, search engine spiders read the words that make up your web page. It therefore follows that your most important content should be in HTML text format. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content are often ignored or devalued by search engine spiders.
You can however add extra text information to non-text content. Images should be supplemented with html alt tags, Flash or Java plug-in contained content should be supplemented with text on the page and video & audio content should have an accompanying transcript in order to be indexed by the engines.
on page content
Spiders not only look for words, they look at where these words are positioned. There are key areas of every web page that offer the chance to boost your keyword indexing for a that page:
- Use the keyword in the title tag at least once. Try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
- Once prominently near the top of the page.
- At least 2-3 times, including variations, in the body copy on the page – sometimes a few more if there’s a lot of text content.
- At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page.
- Once in the URL.
- At least once in the meta description tag.
Whilst it is important that your keywords are used in this way, you must ensure that the content remains readable in the way it would be spoken. Do not “stuff” keywords in to your content for the sake of keywords.
The above explanation is just the tip of the iceberg when considering a long term campaign of search engine optimisation, but it is the starting point of it all.
At Heppiness Web Design we build all sites on the above “search engine friendly” template to give your site the best possible start to it’s life on the web. Our tried and tested format ensure that:
- Your site is accessible to search engine spiders.
- Search engine spiders can find all the pages in your site.
- Search engine spiders can read your content.
- Your keywords are targeted to your customers searches.
- Your pages are optimised for your keywords.
Call Matthew on 0771 227 6607 to discuss your Heppiness Web Site.