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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Web Design Tips


Site Text

Pages with more information - up to a point - tend to rank better with search engines. Try to stay between 200 and 800 words per page. Re-evaluate your site text at least once every six months no matter where your website is currently ranked. Even if your website is ranked number one, you still need to continue to improve your website. Why? Because if you aren't moving forward, you're moving backward. Other websites will emulate your website to improve their rankings. Be patient and methodical in you pursuit of improved rankings. Don't panic if rankings don't improve overnight because they won't. It can take as long as six months to reap the benefits of site improvements. The worst thing you can do is make changes to a website without understanding the impact of the modifications. Pursue search engine optimization with realistic expectations and dogged persistance.

IP Address

Each website should have its own unique ip address. If you are using a shared host, make sure your website's ip address is unique. Search engines sometimes block websites that attempt to manipulate rankings. If your website is hosted on a shared server that only utilizes one ip address for all the websites on that server and a website using that address is blocked, then your website will be blocked as well.

Frames

Some major search engines will not list a website that utilizes frames. Creating standard HTML non-frame companion pages that are search engine friendly will get you around this roadblock. Also, provide relevant text containing keywords on your FRAMESET page between NOFRAME tags for search engines to parse. It isn't uncommon for search engines that do index frame websites to link to individual, non-relevant frames. To avoid displaying individual frames, provide JS in each frame to call the parent frame when a child frame is selected.  (e.g. if (top == self) self.location.href = "default.asp";)

Bleeding-Edge Technology

Search engines, like browsers, are usually behind the technology curve. Lowest common denominator programming guarantees the greatest exposure to search engines.

Images, Banners, Scrolling Text, and Marquees

Always provide ALT text with images and banners. Most search engines will recognise and catalog scrolling text and marquees, but constant movement on your website may prove distracting and reduce the amount of time a user will stay on your website. Unless you have a very specific need for scrolling text or marquees, it's best not to include them on your website.

URLs

Page names should reflect the content of the page. Keep page names a reasonable length and avoid the use of special characters unless they are part of your keyword. URLs are a great place to showcase keywords. If you utilize a subdomain structure, subdomain names should also reflect your selected keywords.

Page Links

At a minimum, link each page on your website back to your home page. Some search engines weight the page based on the depth level within the website. (e.g. Root level pages are considered more relevant to the website by search engines than pages in subsequent levels.) Create a site map page to help search engines find your content and post a link to it on your home page. Dynamic websites that don't hardcode page links should always provide a site map.

Link Colors

Search engines read tags and don't care what color you use to define the link unless you make the link transparent to the user. A transparent link occurs when the color used for the link is the same color as the background. Most search engines have the ability to recognise a transparent link and will lower your page ranking for their use. Definitely not worth the risk!


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