ss_blog_claim=73b1cd073bba6e6518705e046b696b7d Build Search Engine Friendly Websites

Friday, December 05, 2008

Build Search Engine Friendly Websites

Websites that use frames cause search engines nightmares. Why? Frames are an old fashioned way to place two HTML files on one screen and the search engine will try to index both the "menu" frame and the "content" frame. If you are developing or have a website currently running with frames, it is in your best interests to get with the times and start using CSS (cascading style sheets) as soon as possible.
Database-driven websites (aka PHP and mySQL) tend to face similar problems depending on what you are using. Wordpress, for example, has relatively few problems with this because there are plugins available to optimize your posts and your archive to work with search engines like Google. Ironically, some of the most expensive content management systems which I will not mention here can leave your links in forms such as which are unfortunately unreadable to most search engines. To work around this, rename those files to something interpretable such as "pastarecipes.html". Or, you could purchase or download software that automatically renames these unreadable filenames into something that works better for Google and other search engines.
Search engines love footer links, sitemaps, blogs, and XML feeds. They love footer links because it is easier to crawl your menu links by doing so. From a human perspective, it makes the user experience better as well because you give them the option of using that menu instead of scrolling all the way up to the back of the page. Sitemaps are dessert for search engines, especially Google. XML feeds and blogs generally get extra attention (like with Google's PageRank) because of the frequently updated content.
Flash and multimedia like it are not interpreted by Google. Search engines read text, title tags, and meta tag code. They do not crawl the text in your graphic logo, and they cannot extract text written in Flash. Therefore, if you must run a Flash dominant website, do yourself a favor and find a way to add HTML text to it, optimize your meta tag keywords, and make sure your title has 3-4 of your best keywords in it. Otherwise, you are at a severe disadvantage. Notice, even though Flash is a wonderful technology to utilize, most companies prefer XML or HTML? That is because of the importance of SEO (search engine optimization).
There is a 0.01% chance a splash page will ever benefit you. A splash page typically is a graphic-intensive billboard that acts as your website's front page and requires your user to "Click Here" to enter the actual website. One, you are requiring users to perform an extra step to see any relevant content which immediately cuts your visitors in half. Second, search engines will end up crawling your index.html page and finding your splash page with no keywords to crawl because you have no text.
Go to or check out webmaster's support at Google in creating a sitemap for your website. They are easy, free, and provides a huge boost in making your website search engine friendly. Sitemaps, fortunately, allow search engines to crawl not only static pages but the database-driven ones as well.


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