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Getting your website found – SEO, Google, Yahoo and Bing

Posted by Computer Friendly Associates, Inc. (CFA) on October 9th, 2009 — in Blog, Business Solutions, Website Design + Development

SEO is a popular acronym which stands for “search engine optimization”. If you want people to find your website in popular search tools like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, then it is important to apply the right techniques to achieve that goal. 

Google remains the most popular search tool. Recently, Microsoft launched Bing in an attempt to compete with Google. There are many others, and doing well in any search service is helpful. Each search engine has its own method for finding and ranking websites, and these methods change periodically.

Design your website using all of the following tips:

Relevant information
Include text using key words and phrases that your ideal customer will use to look for you online. Make your web page text informative about your key phrases. Detailed information about a key phrase makes the page more relevant to your site visitors and to searchbots.

Note: Searchbots ignore text inside graphics. This includes all graphics, even all the text inside a flash-based website. For your graphics, include an HTML “alt” tag to contain keywords.

Update your website frequently
Searchbots analyze how often you update your website. Websites with frequently updated information improve their ranking in search engines. Having an integrated blog on your website can be especially helpful.

Key words as headings
Have primary key phrases as headings in your web page. Searchbots rank larger text higher than smaller text.

Internal links
Design your website to have multiple pages. On each page include a menu of links to your other web pages. Easy site navigation enables search spiders to crawl to each page of your site. Internal links to relevant information containing keywords helps your website’s ranking.

Incoming links
Get your website listed and linked on other relevant and valuable websites. One reason why website services like Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc. are popular is because they are external web pages you can use to promote your main website.

Meta Tags
Include a “keywords” tag of a list (about 50) of your most desirable keywords and search phrases. Also, include a “description” tag of a short description (about 250 characters) that fully describes your website. Be sure to include your most important key word phrases in the description. Information about your target customer can be included in the description.

Title Tags
The text you use for each page’s “title” tag can significantly impact the website’s ranking, so be sure to include keywords.

Frames are bad
Websites that use html frames generally experience difficulties with search engines. If you want a frame-based website to do better in searches, you need to restructure the website to not use frames.

Sitemaps are good
It your website has many pages, then include a separate page to be a sitemap for your visitors. The sitemap is a page devoted to displaying links to each of the website’s other pages. Also, include a “sitemap.xml”, which is an XML file in your website’s root directory specifically for the purpose of assisting searchbots to correctly index your website. This website – http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ - is an excellent resource for easily creating an effective sitemal.xml file.

Considerations about programming well for SEO
Flash: Websites designed in Flash rarely rank highly in search engines. It is fine to include Flash objects in a traditional HTML web page or have your Flash appear in separate windows.

If your site uses coding languages (e.g. javascript, Java, ASP, CGI, etc.) or Flash, be aware of the impact your code has on searchbots. In some cases we may need to program specifically with SEO in mind.

Database programming: Searchbots do not necessarily analyze web page HTML code generated from a database. You can work around this by saving the generated code in a separate file when database updates occur. Use a “server-side include” statement to incorporate the latest saved file into your web page.