There are many aspects in regards to search engine optimisation. There are on-page procedures such as optimising meta tags, titles, page copy, urls, alt tags and the like. We also know that another important aspect is off-page seo whereby a lot of time and effort is put in in order to obtain quality inbound links to your site. This normally takes the shape of directory submission, article writing and submission, competition analysis, social media marketing and blogging to name a few.
These are all crucial elements of search engine optimisation and are a major part of any seo specialists daily chors.
One element of SEO that can be easily overlooked is the building of a web site that is not only "user friendly" but also "search friendly". By "search friendly" we mean that the search engines can crawl and spider your site unimpeded which will enable it to extract all of your content and in turn index it within the search engines database. After all, what use is getting thousands of inbound one way links to your site, if your site is not user or search friendly?
There are a number of things worth considering when building a user and search engine friendly web site. They are:
1. Use as much text as possible in the form of HTML - Search engines love plain text. They are not able to read images, video files, audio files or flash, so try to not use too much of these in your site design.
Another thing to consider is that some sites make users log in in order to view certain content or use a form to find content. Both of these are bad. Spiders/crawlers do not know how to log in to your site or fill out a form in order to find your content. So if you want your content to be indexed by the search engines, stay away from this. If you MUST do this, try to produce a snippet of the content to entice users to log in. That way the spider at least has something to chew on.
2. Make your urls understandable - This means creating urls such as www.mysite.com/how-to-bring-up-your-children.html and NOT www.mysite.com/children/article-09876R-YTUR-4tr.html. As you can see the first url is not only "user friendly" but is also "search engine friendly" meaning that the search engines read more meaning and relevance into this url than the second one. Dont forget also that if you were to copy the second url into an email, your signature or post on a blog etc it wouldn't be totally clear where the link was going. This cannot be said for the first url.
3. Structure your site well - This means making your site as flat as possible. Instead of structuring your site in way that means a user has to click 10 times before reaching their target make the content a maximum of 4 clicks away or less.
4. Design your site for users NOT search engines - As much as possible treat the search engines as if they were human beings manually scouring your site for content to index. If it is easy for humans to find what they are looking for on your site, logic says that the spiders will also find what they are looking for and index it. The more "speedbumps" you put in the way of spiders, the slower your site will be crawled and indexed (if at all).
5. Content is king - One of my favorite expressions which is so true. Great content has many benefits, after all, its what we are all after, even the search engines. The search engines job is to find "relevant" search data. When the search engine starts dishing out "irrelevant" results, thats the time when it is going to become out of favour with web users who will move onto another engine.
Having great site content has many benefits such as if your content is good and original, people will want to link to it and your site, so its a good way of building natural links which is something that google likes. If you write good genuine creative content on your topic you will start to become an authority in your chosen field meaning more links and brand/site awareness.
The more content you have the more opportunity you will have of inserting your keywords making it look as natural as possible to the search engines. Although keyword density is no longer a major factor with search engines, it is something that needs to be done.
Well, thats the end of this article with some tips on making your site not only "user friendly" but just as importantly "search friendly". It is something that can be easily overlooked especially as gaining backlinks is viewed as THE most important SEO practice at the moment.
Overlook it at your peril!!
Until next time...