SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engines’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
SEO has been the buzz word for quite a long time and if you are new to developing websites, you are wondering about its power too I guess. Well yes SEO is a main factor when it comes to taking a website to its full potential, and SEO can be a hectic job, marketing your website, advertising stuffs and what not that you never thought you would do. But wait! SEO is not only about making thousands of back links, leaving link backs to n number of websites and hoping that it will get you Google’s (or any other search engines) attention. If you are doing so, you are doing it wrong. Because you missed it from the ground level SEO starts from when you actually start creating a website. A poorly engineered website will perform bad when it is compared to a good engineered website. A site that has been given a lot of care when at the basic level will be easier not only to search engines but also to yourself when you are making changes to the design. So its your part to take those steps because your SEO expert wont be making changes to your code and design. So how actually do you make a website search engine friendly? We discuss some points that can be taken care of.
- Clean that mark up
Well this could be one thing. Though Google’s site itself is invalid according to W3C markup validator, but a properly structured and a valid markup can make up for good characters in Search Engines. Regularly check your website while working on it for the validation. Its always good to have a standard compliant product. It actually makes easier for search engines to read and browsers to load, else browsers try to correct it themselves and significant load time is lost. Believe me clients and Search engines love faster loading websites.
- Proper use of Tags
Proper use of HTML tags is another important factor. Tags are specifically made to characterize the content of the website, and when proper tags are used, engines know where to look for what content. Say for example you should only have one H1 tag in a page, and with good keywords that you want your site to come up for. Other sub headings can be given H2 tags and you can give as many H2 tags as you want.
- Use Alt attribute
The alt attribute should be used to describe an image, do not spam it with keywords that have nothing to do with the image. You need to do this because search engines can not read images and identify the context of image with its alt attribute. But spamming it with keywords can cause it to be ranked irrelevant and eventually de-ranked.
- Master your ROBOTS
A robot when not mastered well can lead to serious consequences as has been portrayed in several Hollywood movies, and same is the case for robots.txt . For those who do not know what a robots.txt is, It is a text file that tells the search engines what files to access and what not to. You obviously do not want your admin panel or config files or any other files whose data are information to be indexed easily by search engines. So when creating a robot file, take into consideration as to what you want the search engines to access and what not.
- Do not “Click Here”
Anchor links are also of great importance when considered for a optimized site. Any anchor links with just “Click Here” can be painful for your sites impression. A description of what is to be followed can be a good example of having a link on. Say instead of “Click Here” use “Read the full story here” or something that is more relevant.
- SEO Friendly URL
URLs have been and always will be an important factor for search engines to determine your pages importance. A SE Optimized URL lets search engines know that the page is not a dynamic page, and also will help find keywords. So instead of having a url look like ” http://example.com/page.php?id=2 ” which gives no idea to Search engines as to what the page contains, and instead says to the engine that this is a dynamic page and can change at anytime, you can have a url like “http://example.com/cooking/how-to-make-a-cake ” which suggests that the page is static and has some information that is related to how a cake is prepared.
- Design for Human not Machine
After all this discussion on how to make a website readable to machine, we come with a point to make website for Human and not machines. Why? Because after all its human who will visit your website and if it has nothing to do with their interest, a great search engine rank would mean nothing. While you prepare contents, put some sense on them so that human can relate to it, instead of just randomly inserting keywords for the sake of search engines. A paragraph with susceptible high use of keywords is not what search engine thinks is a good article, but a good amount of keywords and other useful information make great content and website.
These are the basic few points that one could take care as a developer/designer point of view, though they do not make to all of SEO.