Do Search Engines Like Your Website?

The Basics of SEO Friendly Websites

Search engines have a very specific way they assess the value of your website content and ultimately determine the ranking of your website. So-called “spiders” — little computer bots that crawl your webpages — look for text in HTML format. Flash files, images, java applets and other graphic features are either ignored or actually penalized by these spiders. In order for these design features to be “seen” by search engines, here are a few tips:

• Use alt text for images
• Add text to Flash or Java plugins
• Provide transcripts along with video or audio features
• Supplement features like search boxes with menus or crawlable hyperlinks

To view your website as search engines do, there are plenty of online resources like Google’s cache, the MozBar extension, or SEO-browser.com. By running your website through one of these tools, you will see what search engines see, and more importantly, what they don’t see. If you see a barren wasteland that is void of text, here are a few tips to start building your site the right way for effective SEO:

Structuring Links for SEO

In order to obtain high search engine rankings, a search engine must be able to access all of your pages. Spiders find your webpages by following the breadcrumbs you lay out for them in your website structure. If your home page has clear links to pages B and E, but not to pages C and D, pages C and D are considered orphan pages. Even if pages C and D pages contain great content and keywords, but these crawlers have no way of reaching them, they won’t even know these pages exist.

Here are a few of the most common reasons why a page is not reachable:

• The page is protected by a submission form, password protection or some other barrier
• Using JavaScript for links
• Using links that point to blocked pages
• Embedding links in Flash, Java or other plugins
• Over-linking

Watch Your Keywords

Keywords are a major component in search engine algorithms. Search engines use the structure, spelling, and punctuation of keywords and keyword phrases to determine the relevancy of a page to a search. When we enter a search term or keyword phrase into a web-based search engine, that search engine retrieves relevant pages in a fraction of a second based on pages it has already crawled and indexed.
The best way to ensure your page is optimized is to ensure you are using your keywords in titles, text and metadata. The more specific your keywords and phrases, the greater changes you have of achieving a higher ranking and gain a leg up on the competition.

It is important to note, however, that keyword abuse or “stuffing” can actually do more harm than good, so it is important to strike just the right balance between staying relevant with your content and stuffing it. While search engines don’t read exactly like humans, they are getting much closer, so it is important to make sure your text flows naturally.

Here are some tips to consider when using your keywords:

DO use your keyword…

• In the title tag
• Close to the beginning of your page text
• 2-3 times throughout the body copy
• Once in the alt attribute of an image used on the page
• In the URL
• In the meta description tag

DO NOT…

• Use keywords in links that point to pages off-site
• Duplicate keywords on multiple pages of your site
• Duplicate content
• Overuse your keyword

These tips just scratch the surface of making sure your site is search engine friendly. There are a number of other factors to consider in optimizing your site depending on the specific features you want to house on your website. For a free audit and assessment of your site’s SEO, contact E Seo Branding today!