Search engine tips to consider

by oneafrikan on April 21, 2006

I’ve been asked to provide some feedback on a search engine issue for a clients client, so I put some thoughts together (off the top of my head) and into an email then whisked it off.
Anyways, I thought that it would be worth putting here as well ‘cos you never can tell who would find it useful, or offer better comments!

1. You definitely need to be optimizing for search engines (SEO), especially if you are marketing your web site online and even more so if you expect to derive sales from your web site in the future.

2. Any SEO programme will take time, so make sure you’ve got a 3, 6, and 12 month plan in place.

3. The links on your web site should stay as consistent as possible so that they will work in the future, for both search engines as well as browsers. This can be accomplished by future proofing your web site with something like mod_rewrite, so that no matter how content is delivered the links will always stay the same, or by settling on a long term content management solution. This is especially true if you plan to have dynamic content such as news or press releases.

4. The basic things to cover are page titles, meta data for content that at least covers keywords, descriptions, page headings, page sub-headings, increased keyword densities that match some of the keywords in the keyword meta tag, site wide menus that are text based (and a site map!), and an external link strategy that links to other relevant sites if it makes sense.

5. Make sure that as much as possible the content for each of your pages is well structured, well written, and that all the elements mentioned in point 4 above are different too so that pages appear different to the SE’s. Remember that SE’s can’t see, so the underlying content and code needs to be different for each page as well as any visual elements.

6. Your web site code should be written using semantic markup that abstracts structure from presentation from any server side code or logic. In this instance it’s easier for SE’s to index, but also easier for you to maintain.

7. Keep up with the major search engine developments from time to time, by reading blogs and industry analyst commentary if possible.

8. Ask vendors to provide you with examples of the work they have done before, and the results they have achieved.

9. Remember that if a vendor allows you to choose keywords that are general to your industry, then you’re working with people who are either not going to be honest with you, or who aren’t as good as others are. For example, if you are a tech support company based in Chiswick, then keywords that are specific to your niche and location (100 people or less medium-size organisational IT and desktop support for the media industry in Chiswick) are going to be much more beneficial to you than general keywords like (IT and desktop support London).

Lemme know if that helps or what you think? ;-)

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