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There are some no brainers too: Web sites with abnormal amounts of hyperlinks, bold or italicized text, improper use of heading, alt, or comment tags can also expect to see low rankings.
5. Choosing a Domain Name. The golden rule to web development of any kind is to keep your visitors in mind above all else - even search engine optimization. When choosing a domain name, one should pick either your business name (if you have a high-profile business name such as Chapters or Coca-Cola) or a brief description of your products. Domain names can always help with search engine optimization, as it is another area of your web site that important keywords can appear. Forget about long-winded domains such as www.number-one-best-books-on-earth.com as no one will ever remember it and it will be hard to print on business cards or in ads.
If you need to change your domain name for any reason you obviously don't want to lose existing rankings. An easy way to do this, and one that is currently supported by most search engines, is 301 redirect. It allows you to keep your existing rankings for your old domain name, while forwarding visitors to your new web site instantly.
6. Using Frames. Don't use frames. Frames are a thing of 90's (and in Internet world that is eons ago) and are not even supported by some search engines. The search engines that are able to index your site through frames will most likely frown upon them. Whatever you are trying to accomplish by using frames can usually be done with help of PHP includes or CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Some browsers are not frames-compatible, so there is danger of some visitors not being able to see your site at all. Bookmarking of individual pages within a frame becomes difficult without lengthly scripts being written.
7. Update Your Information. Not only does information printed two or three years ago look badly on your organization when it is read by a visitor, it is also looked down upon by search engines. Web sites that continuously update and grow their web sites usually experience higher rankings than stagnant sites. When trick to SEO is offering visitors most relevant information, you can bet that age of web pages is taken into consideration by search engines. Consider creating a section of your site devoted to news within your organization, or have a constantly updated resources area.
Many shortfalls of web sites can easily be attributed to designers who just don't keep user or search engines in mind. Search engine algorithms are quickly improving to try and list most user-friendly sites higher, given that content and link popularity are there to back it up. So first and foremost, know your target market and make your web site work for them before focusing on search engine optimization. If you build it (properly), they will come.
Copyright John Metzler of Abalone Designs, November 2004. This article may be freely distributed if credit is given to the author. Abalone Designs is a family-run Search Engine Optimization firm in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Visit www.abalone.ca for a free personalized analysis of your web site.