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Your website acts as a well-trained, highly efficient salesperson; it creates value for your customers, manages relationships, and relays customer and market information back to you. The only difference between a website and a salesperson is the fact that it does not get tired, doesn’t require a sick day or a weekend off, or a pay rise. However, you’ll need to design your website for SEO before it can deliver all these benefits and many more.
So, the question becomes, how do you design your site for SEO? Here is how you do it.
On-site search engine optimization consists of strategies that you have control over. These strategies determine how search engines (like Google, Yahoo and Bing) crawl and understand your content. They include:
- Performing keyword research, choosing the best keywords (and key phrases), and utilizing them appropriately throughout the pages
- Using header tags, title tags, meta description tags, and image alt tags correctly
- Creating user- and search-engine-optimized URL structures
- Designing a user-friendly site that’s easy to navigate
- Creating an internal link structure and information design that facilitates the crawling process and also enhances user experience
- Coming up with high-quality and relevant content that captures, informs, and calls on readers to do a specific action
- Using different kinds of content including lists, text, videos, and images
- Designing a responsive website that can fit in any screen, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, phone, or desktop
- Creating a visually appealing site with a consistent look and feel, and one that represents your brand
Create Indexable Content
Ensure that your content is in HTML text format. Flash files, Java applets, images, and all content that doesn’t feature text are often devalued or ignored by search engine crawlers, even today. But if you demand visual display styles or greater formatting, then you may:
- Provide alt text for images
- Provide a transcript for audio and video content
- Supplement Flash or Java plug-in
- Supplement search boxes
Create Crawlable Link Structures
Search engines also need links to craw to content. Crawlable link structures allow the crawlers to find every page on a site. At its most basic, the link contains a start of link tag, link referral location, visible/anchor text of link, and a closure of link tag, and that’s what the search engines understand. A search engine may not access your pages if you have:
- Submission-required forms
- Links leading to pages blocked by robot.txt
- Frames of iframes
- Links in Java, Flash or other plug-ins
- Links on pages with hundreds or thousands of links
Keyword Use and Targeting
Search engines use keywords to locate relevant information. As they crawl and index the content on different websites, they monitor the pages and index them based on the keywords. If you want your web page to rank for the word “car”, you should ensure that the word “car” is included in the content. Be careful not to stuff your content with keywords; this will only do more harm than good.
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