Designing Your Web Site to Maximize Traffic
Designing your site to maximize traffic from search engines is not a difficult task but it does require you to think ahead and plan your SEO strategy carefully. If you have not yet built your web site and are still in initial planning stages then you may have an easier time of it. If you already have an existing web site, then you may need to take time to read up on these SEO strategies and make some changes to incorporate them into your web site.
I will discuss 13 ways in which you can improve on your existing web site or boost a brand new web site into stratosphere of high rankings. These are NOT SEO tricks but rather tried, tested, ethical and true methods that we know to work effectively. We all know that in reality there are no real SEO tricks. True success is achieved through hard work, research and implementation of a thorough and complete SEO strategy.
Without further ado here is a checklist of important items to consider and implement into your SEO strategy.
Using Style Guidelines Effectively
If you are using CSS style commands, do not include them within your actual web page source code. You don't want search engine spiders to have to wade through 100 lines of unreadable code before they reach your actual content. Instead, place your style guidelines into a separate CSS file and call them with a single line of code from within your <head> and </head> tags by using following code:
<link rel="stylesheet" href="replace-with-style-file-name.css">
Primary Keyword Layout
Examine your web site from a source code point of view and ensure that your primary keywords or phrases will be spidered first. When search engine spiders read your page they read source code just like we would read a book from left to right - top to bottom. We know that search engines place higher relevancy on keywords and phrases which appear closer to top of a page so it stands to reason that if you've got a large table full of graphics appearing at top of your source code before your primary keywords, then you can achieve higher rankings by adjusting your layout and placing a well written search engine optimized paragraph above that table full of graphics.
Spiderable Text Present on Each Page
Many times I have seen some very pretty web sites, but their chances of ranking high for any relevant keywords have been dashed by use of only graphics and very little or no text on pages. It is very important to your SEO strategy that you make sure that you've taken time to write some quality textual content for your pages. Don't write nonsensical text filled with blatant sp@m. Instead, take a few extra minutes and write 4-5 quality paragraphs which clearly explain theme of your site and particular page youre writing for.
Proper Use of robots.txt File
On several occasions I have performed an analysis of a client's web site only to discover that they had inadvertently blocked spider access to their web site by incorrectly formatting their robots.txt file. It is critical that you know what you're doing when you use a robots.txt file. If you are unsure of correct syntax when modifying or creating a robots.txt file, I recommend you not use a robots.txt file at all. This may sound counterproductive, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Accidentally blocking spiders can result in a loss of all your rankings. It would almost be like starting over again to repair damage. For help on correctly formatting your robots.txt file, visit robotstxt.org.
Dead Links and 404 Errors
If you are not checking for broken links on your web site, then you should start immediately and make this a part of your SEO strategy. You can never be 100% sure of your link integrity, especially when your site has 100, or more, pages. Aside from losing potential customers into a vortex of 404 errors, you risk more than that from a search engine perspective. When a search engine spider visits your web site and finds broken links, impression left is that your site is not regularly maintained and updated. Not much is known about how engines view this, but your crawl status may be assigned a low priority by visiting search engine spiders. In other words, spiders may not visit your site as frequently as they visit sites with 100% link integrity. So make sure you download some link checking software and begin a regular schedule of verifying your link structure.