Designing Search Engine Friendly Web Sites
Build it and they will come. That might have worked in 1995 when the Web was
new, but today that's a fallacy. With an estimated 43 million Web sites
competing against yours, if you don't promote it, no one will come.
Outlined below are some tasks to add to your marketing checklist. I will begin
with the most obvious - you wouldn't believe how many people don't think of these
things! - and will finish with some more advanced techniques that really work.
Getting listed in the major search engines is important, but do not fool
yourself, it is not the "be all." How many times have you conducted a search
and ended up with over a million results? If your site is listed at 999,000,
how many people do you think will visit? If you rely only on the search
engines for your customers to find you, they probably won't.
That being said, there are some things you should do before you submit your
Web site to the search engines. To make your site competitive, you need to
"optimize" your Web pages. What does that mean? It means making your pages
"search engine friendly."
Although meta tags do not weigh that heavily anymore in search engine rankings,
they are still important. The two tags that must be included in each of your
Web pages are:
Description Meta Tag: Summarize your Web page using lots of keywords.
This tag is very important, because many of the engines will use it to summarize
your site in search results. (Note: The recommended number of characters for the
description meta tag is 150.)
Keywords Meta Tag: Because of abuse by unscrupulous Webmasters, the keyword
tag doesn't play as big a role as it did in the past. To avoid being penalized
(e.g., banned), there are some rules you must heed. For example, do not repeat
keywords more than three times and avoid using the refresh tag as most engines
view it as spam. (Note: The recommended number of characters for keywords is
874--of course, this number varies according to the search engine in question.)
I highly recommend taking the time to research the meta tags of your competition.
Don't steal their tags; just look to see what they're doing to get ranked where
they are. It is best to use phrases versus individual keywords.
What phrases do you think your visitors will use to find you? I think this is
an excellent activity for a brainstorming session with your peers, employees, and
friends, better yet, your customers. Once you start showing up in the search engines,
reexamine your tags to see if you can tweak them to rank higher.
For an excellent overview on meta tags, visit:
For help choosing the right keywords, visit: Wordtracker