If you are going to invest your time and your money to have a website designed, you want to make sure that you will be getting a site that is search engine friendly. Having a website that incorporates all the information you want potential clients to see and one that is aesthetically pleasing is a waste of your time and money if users can’t find it. And, if users can’t find you, it means that the search engines either can’t find you or you are not ranking high enough to make your site relevant.
In order for a website to be search engine friendly, it must be optimized by an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professional and it must be monitored regularly in order to keep up with constantly changing algorithms, updates to content, etc. There are some common errors that can occur if a website is not designed with SEO in mind. One such issue is when your site contains broken links. This is the result of having a hypertext reference leading to a document that does not exist. When a spider is reading your site and comes across such a link, it simply turns around and goes back home and never gets to finish checking out the rest of the site. This can result in your site not being added to search engines’ databases.
Another common error that occurs is in formatting HTML source codes. It’s important that all your site pages are tested with different browsers so that you can actually view the source code, ensuring that they are working properly. One solution is to use an HTML validator to make sure each page meets W3C standards. One of the things that many website owners fail to pay enough attention to is in selecting the best title for their site. Keywords and phrases must appear in your title but care must also be taken to make sure that the title itself is not too long. A good rule of thumb is to keep the title to 50 characters or less.
Two additional areas that warrant consideration are “mouse-overs” and “alt-text” which we will cover in an upcoming blog. Remember that if you want your website to be seen by as many relevant users as possible and not just for the short-term, it must be optimized; not just at launch time but over the long-term and always with search engines in mind.