Search engine optimization (SEO) should play a major part in the planning of any website. The sooner you incorporate SEO into your website, the better.
All too often, people only think about SEO after they have built and launched their site. By then they would have lost a lot of SEO time and may have made decisions that are detrimental to their SEO efforts.
So what part does SEO play in the planning stage of a website?
Let’s quickly run through them now. You will find more in-depth information on each topic later on in the book.
Search engines do take into account keywords in the domain name. So I highly recommend registering a domain name containing your most important keywords. However it is also important that the domain name is memorable and brandable. Please avoid domain names like, “AAA1-Cheap-Domain-Names-Registrations.com.”
A website should be structured for optimum usability and linkability.
The usability of a website is essential to the success of a website. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if your visitors have problems or get frustrated trying to find the information they’re searching for. Typically, the usability of a website is managed by the web designer.
Linkability refers to the internal linking structure of a website. It is vitality important that webpages are linked in such a way that it maximizes the Google PageRank of each webpage, because the rankings of each page depend on it.
This is why I recommend employing search engine optimization strategies as soon as you start planning your website.
Search engine optimization should also play a major part in a website’s design. Let’s quickly look at each part of the web design process.
If you’re thinking of building a site that uses fancy multimedia special effects, such as Flash, you may like to reconsider.
Like I said earlier, search engines rely on the keywords in a site for categorization. Flash is mainly used for entertainment and lack content. As such search engines have decided not to index Flash files. This is why you rarely find Flash pages with minimal text, ranked high in the search engines.
Stick to basic HTML if you want to get top rankings. You can use other languages such as ASP and Cold Fusion, but make sure they are created using search engine friendly URLs and links.
Site navigation is one area that few web designers worry about, with regards to search engine optimization.
For example, some search engines don’t crawl deeper than the top two or three levels of a website. So unless you use SEO techniques to help the search engine spider go deeper than the top levels of your site, your lower level pages may never get indexed.
Search engine spiders that don't index more than the top 3 levels will not index pages starting with level 4 downwards.
The best way to getting all your pages indexed is to lead search engine spiders to all the major areas of your site. To do this, use a site map. Visit the “What Are Site Maps?”section for more information.