For almost every e-Commerce site, search engines play an important role in generating and maximizing targeted web traffic. Unfortunately, many websites do poorly, or don't rank at all, with the search engines because they failed to take into account how search engines work.
Search-engine friendly web design is just as important as targeting the right keywords. One of the first rules of SEO is not to design your website in a way that prevents it from being indexed by the search engines.
Inflexible web design, overuse of advanced web technologies, and a poorly-designed site navigation system are a few of the common pitfalls you'll find with poor-ranking websites.
Web Design for the Search Engines
If the navigation menus of your website can't be crawled, you could be
preventing the search engines from "seeing" many areas of your website.
As a result, you could be losing out on other search engine rankings.
Having a text-based menu at the footer of every page, using the same targeted keywords principle, also works.
Sitemaps can be a great help in getting your website indexed because it gives a spider access to every webpage on your site. Adding a link to the sitemap on every webpage ensures easy access to the sitemap from wherever a spider enters your website.
A good HTML coding structure is the foundation for building an optimized web design. This means having a page layout that allows the spiders go to through the webpage and quickly establish what your site is about without getting bogged down with code.
The areas found between the <head></head> tags and the <body></body> tags
are the two most important areas of a webpage. Information placed in these
areas can make a big difference in your search engine rankings and the "friendliness"
of your website.
Because search engine spiders read code from left to right, top to bottom, it's important to have the following as close to the top of the page as possible:
- A page title, short description about the page using the appropriate targeted keywords.
- Your navigational menu or other navigational aids like breadcrumbs. Having a paragraph or two of relevant content appear before the menu is even better.
Placing this information close to the top provides the spiders and the search engines with text that matches the page title and backlinks.
Nothing can be worse for a website trying to improve itself than having a splash page for a home page. Reducing your most important page to an entry point with little or no relevant content greatly reduces your chances of ranking well.
If for some reason a splash pages is necessary, there are some things you can do to make it slightly more search-engine friendly:
- Add a paragraph or two of highly relevant content so that the spider can index it, and determine this the home page of your site.
- Add a text menu to the footer or a link to your sitemap so that the spider can access the rest of your website.
More on Search Friendly Websites
In the second
part of this article, we'll look at the Web technologies to avoid and/or
better manage in order to ensure your website's compatibility with the
In the meantime, learn what the major search engines look for in a website. Follow the links below to the web design guidelines laid out by the major search engines:
- Google's Webmaster Guidelines
- MSN Guidelines for Successful Indexing
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