Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Having a great visual website does not eliminate the need for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your web site may have great optical appeal but search engine spiders don't care about looks. Search engine spiders want a well-organized and well-connected web site with rich content and informative descriptions of each page. Let’s take a good look at some issues you need to be aware of to assure your web pages are optimized correctly.
Meta Tags are the first thing a search engine spider sees when coming into your web page. Always be sure to have a descriptive title tag unique to that page telling exactly what someone could expect to find if they visited the page. Then you will want to have an expanded description tag. Expand on your title using some similar words but in more detail. Again, be sure it's unique to that page. Finally, have a keyword tag that contains in order of importance the keywords people would search for when looking for your site and words that are listed in the content text of that particular page. Try to stay away from a lot of extra meta tags like Author, Content, etc. unless you really need them. They sometimes will confuse the search spiders and cause them to incorrectly list your site.
After looking over your meta tags they will move onto the first few lines of text on your page. They will look for similarities between your meta tags and the words used in these first couple sentences. A good thing to remember is to always state the page's purpose in this text and or use some type of titling system at the top of your content. The first few sentences on the page, however you present them, should contain some of the exact same words you used in your meta tags. A search spider will then review the rest of your content to measure the keyword weight of the document in reference to your meta keyword tag. Be sure to use a good ratio of your keywords in your content and or be sure to reflect the most important words from your content into your keyword tag.
Once they have looked over one of your pages they will want to look around the rest of your site by following your links. Make the links obvious and plentiful to them by giving more than one way to get to your other pages. First, you should have your main navigation of text or image links on the left side or top of your page. Then add a second list of text links at the very bottom of the page, all in text only, to mirror what every other main navigation your site uses. Additionally, you can add a few links spread around the body of your page either with photos or in the text of your content.
Lastly, you can add to the search spider's enjoyment of your web site by adding alternate text into your image tags. A search spider cannot see what the images are on your site but it can read the names of them and the alternate text that you place into the tags. By doing this you are giving more content for the spider to review as it goes through your site. The same idea would apply to making text into images. This is not a good idea. Always try to put any viewed text for your site into coded text and never into an image just because it may look better. You will be taking away content from your web page. A masthead that needs to be in an image placed next to a company logo works fine but be sure to use the "alt" attribute in your image tags.
Having an optimized web page can make a huge difference in the way search engines list your site over others. If your web pages are search engine optimized, or SEO, then your web site will have a huge advantage over your competition.