Creating a website solution that fits the needs of the company while meeting or exceeding the expectations of search engines and users is challenging. The first steps in understanding how to build a search engine friendly site is to design a site for the user first and the search engines second.
The search engines crawl and match your site/pages with search terms that the users need to have their problem solved and/or find value in the content. Design a site that is an extension of your corporate identity, is easily navigated and speaks to your target in their terms. Sites that are easy to navigate increase the user experience and promote repeat visits.
9 Tips For Building A Search Friendly Site
- URL’s. Simple, user-friendly, relevant and structured URL’s describe the page to the search engines and users, are easily found and easily linked by other external pages.
- Title Tags. Create unique and precise title tags for each page. The title tags are an indication to the search engines and users what the content on the page is about. Each page is unique in its content and needs to be showcased. Pages that contain the same title tag are confusing to the search engine spiders and also to readers thereby increasing the click-off rates.
- Meta Descriptions. As with title tags, each page needs its own meta description. The meta descriptions need to contain keywords as the snippet beneath your page title in the search results many times is pulled from the meta description. Create sentences or a combination of words that accurately describes the page.
- Paragraph Headers. Headers are the H1 to H6 tags that stand above the paragraphs or at the top of the page to tell what is to come below. An outline of sorts. Not all H1 to H6 need to be used. Good rule: use headers if the content immediately beneath warrants an introduction.
- Navigation. The navigation needs to be created in a manner that makes sense and guides users through the pages. Be sure to have the most important pages in the navigation bar and pages that support the main page in the sub-menu. Take time to go through the navigation to make sure that it makes sense and users will go through the site in the sequence desired.
- Content. Content should be the main focus of the site and properly maintained. The saying that content is king holds true as content that is not updated or additional pages added to support the main page goes stale and the the search limit the frequency to which they crawl and index the pages. Feed them fresh new content through new pages or a blog. Keep the search engines coming back as well as users.
- Internal Links. Search engines navigate through your site via pages and links. Users seeking content that matches their query will visit the other pages that are linked to the page that was provided in their search results when seeking further information, clarification or navigating through to purchase. Each page on your website should be reachable through one link.
- Anchor Text. Anchor text is one of the most important SEO factors due to the weight on the quality and quantity of the external links. The anchor text that is associated with links to your site provides topic authority for matched search terms. The most common mistake is having a sentence “For more information, click here” as the hyperlinked “click here” becomes the anchor text. Link to the most relevant word(s) that describes the content/topic on the page being linked to.
- Images. Avoid an overabundance of images as they are not as easily read despite having the text element in the Alt tag. Of course this is unavoidable when it comes to products however be sure to ALT tag each image and have a precise description of the image.
Websites that are created with the end user in mind while paying close attention to the optimization and how it affects their rankings will garner greater results whether optimizing for Bing or Google.
Keyword research and remaining in tune to the industry terms as well as terms searched by users is crucial in obtaining higher rankings for terms that have ranked on pages 2 and 3. The better the content, the more sites that will trust it and want to link to it thus telling the search engines that the page is the authority and ensuring higher rankings. The higher the rankings, the more visitors and the more visitors, the increase in sales.
Organic SEO, good design and relevant authoritative content go hand in hand in attracting visitors to your site.