Web design for Search Engine Optimisation
How search engines work. For a website to appear in the first few pages of a search result the following needs to be happen:
- The website needs include the search words in the key areas of the page
- The search engine needs to rate the website page highly
The first step in ensuring your customers find your website is to prepare a list of words your customers are likely to use when searching for your product, service or information. The following guidelines should be observed when preparing this list:
- The more specific the words can be the better. General words will be competing with established sites and, thus, will appear lower down on the list of pages. If a general word is necessary in describing the product, service or information on a page, it should be combined with other keywords to form a key phrase. For example the phrase: "vocal skills online course".
- Searches are generally made for the plural rather than singular, for example: "vocal skills online courses" is a more common search than "vocal skills online course". However, where possible both the plural and the singular of keywords should be used.
- Include synonyms of your keywords in your list.
- Include common misspellings of your keywords in your list.
- Searches are generally made in lowercase rather than title case or uppercase words; however, most searches ignore the case of the keywords.
The keywords should be allocated across all pages of your website with the more important keywords or phases on the top level pages.
The keywords or phrases should be used in the key areas of the page.
In the HTML
The key words need to be used in the code as search engines use the code when indexing the site.
- The title tag is used on some search engine results page and will appear in bookmarks, and must be concise and descriptive.
- The meta description tag is supported by most search engines and should be used on all pages. It can be up to 200 characters long but only 10 to 15 of the words in the description tag will be used in the search engine results display.
- The meta keywords tag is supported by few search engines and will not promote a key word that is not used in the page.
- ALT tags for image (the text that appears on screen when images are switched off) are noted by some search engines while images without ALT tags are penalised by other search engines.
- The meta robots tag is supported by almost all search engines but only needs to be used if the page is NOT to be indexed. All other meta tags are ignored by the major search engines and should only be used for specialist search engine requirements where necessary.
In the page content
All key words and phrases visitors are likely to use in search engines should be used in:
- Page headings
- First paragraph of the page
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