Is Your Website Search Engine Friendly?
Search Engine Friendly Websites
Posted by Adam Hayes
If your website isn't search engine friendly, your website is not earning you enough money. Far too many web designers are actually graphic designers claiming to be website designers. Unfortunately, they know nothing (ok... maybe next to nothing) about how search engines work and what is necessary to make a website search engine friendly.
There are three main ways to drive traffic to your website:
- Search Engines:
Popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN drive much of the traffic on the world wide web. I even know some people that believe that Google is the internet. Getting good placement in each of these search engines is critical to maintaining a high ROI from your website.
- Integrated Marketing:
Interlinking all of your marketing materials to provide a consistent look and feel while allowing every piece of marketing material to support and enhance all other marketing materials in your arsenal. This includes driving people to your website from T.V. commercials, brochures, business cards, etc. and from your website to more free pamphlets, sales people, etc.
- Compelling Visual Content:
Everyone on the web is looking for compelling content and every website has what AHFX calls "compelling visual content" factor. This CVC factor can drive people to sites just because of how well designed, entertaining, and informational a site is. For example, JKRowling.com has a high CVC factor. Although the main site is completely Flash (which is not search engine friendly), it entertains and provides the information in such an exciting way that people go back again and again. Unfortunately, these websites must be spread from person to person by people that "just can't wait" to tell someone about this great find.
Although you might be doing #2 and shooting for #3, you have to start somewhere. Somehow you have to get your website out to your customers. By optimizing your site for targeted keywords, you can make Google, Yahoo, and MSN part of your sales force. Case in point, AH Digital FX Studios recently created a site for a company that makes custom western saddles. We had specific keywords that we wanted to target and integrated those directly into our search engine friendly website. Within a few weeks of submitting to the search engines, this company had good search engine placement for its keywords and was receiving orders for saddles.
Here is a basic checklist to see if your website is search engine friendly:
- Does your homepage load fast?
- Are all headings text instead of images?
- Is your home page under 50k including images?
- Do you use H1 and H2 tags near the top of your page with the keywords for that page?
- Do each of your pages have a page specific title?
- Does each page have its own specific keyword and description meta tags?
- Do you have proper coding and well formed HTML?
- Do you appropriately use CSS?
- Do you have other content (such as images or text), behind all objects that are not search engine friendly (for example flash movies)?
- Do you use alternate text and title tags for your images?
- Do you use FrontPage (If you do, have you gotten rid of all the bloated code that FrontPage vomits out as HTML code?
If you answered yes to all of these, then you are probably on your way to a search engine friendly site. However, if you answered no to any of these, there is room for improvement in the fundamentals, let alone the search engine specific optimization that could help make your site a selling machine.
For a "search engine friendly" assessment of your current website, please contact us for a free critique.
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