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Creating Search Engine Friendly Web Sites

by Cyndalie of AdultChamber

New and experienced webmasters, spend 5 minutes reading this article and I guarantee you will not only learn something new, you will walk away with information that will help you improve the websites you already have, as well as pick up a few key factors to help you create even more efficient and profitable web sites in the future. Honestly, if most of us didn’t live by "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again", more than half of us would not be here.  We can both learn from our experiences and build on them one improvement at a time, or we can settle for what we know.  With search engine marketing it’s either grow or be grown over.  Let’s get started.

This article is about how search engine marketing and web design have a complimentary relationship and when combined correctly, will offer long term success in not only search engine ranking, but in selling customers as well.  "2 birds, 1 stone" is my philosophy. Call me lazy, but I just like to get as much done with as minimal labor as possible; planning ahead and getting it right the first time.  As we all know, doing things the smart way gives us more time for the things we enjoy. 

I will outline a few key factors that come into play when placing your marketer, your webmaster, and your designer in bed together under your direction.  It may also possibly help you recognize how experienced and learned an Internet professional may be before hiring them for the job, or adding them to your team.

HTML Web Sites

There are basic HTML factors to keep in mind when attempting to develop a search engine friendly site.  Not only does the site need to be fast loading, it should uphold a professional look and feel with a solid mixture of web graphics and textual content.   Search engines primarily scan your page from left to right, top to bottom.  Often, HTML web site are designed with graphics at the top, left, and bottom of the page with text in nested tables.  Where text should be placed on a page is often an indexing factor. 

Most preferred is to blend or integrate a line or two of text before any images appear on the page.  Using <H1>  - <H5> image header font is a SEO basic rule, but not as important today as it was 3 years ago.  8-10 pt. font (Arial, Verdana) works just as well, no more than 30 words in sentence form (similar to your Meta Title and Description); if you can pull it off in this area.  Search engines cannot read images or text within heavily nested tables (4 or more deep). They are looking for evenly distributed textual content throughout the page and code to index. 

If your pages start with a graphic header there are image ‘optimization’ factors that come into play to help you overcome this obstacle.   Designers who use Adobe ImageReady to slice up their designs for HTML format are going to hate me.  If you are used to your images being name index_02.jpg, sorry!  A great marketing tip for designers is to name your images keyword rich file names. For example rather than logo.jpg, try naming it XXX-Sex-Pics-Logo.jpg (or whatever is relevant and on topic with the site).  Combining this with using Alt Tags to describe the images (especially if they are links) is just what search engines are looking for.  Feel free to top it off with a title tag and you end up with something like <img src="xxx-sex-pics-logo.jpg" alt="Welcome to XXX pics of sex online" title="Logo for XXX Sex Pics">.  All these tags should be kept short and the more phrases you can use with certain keyword combinations per image/element the better.

Finally, a good tip for any web designer/marketer is to name each page of the site a relevant keyword or keyword phrase when developing the site.  If one tour page addresses photos call it "tour-xxx-pics.html", if the second tour page addresses video clips call it "tour-xxx-mpegs.html".  You get the idea, just keep in mind that hyphens ( - ) and underscores ( _ ) between words helps separate the words and makes it easier for the search engines to recognize.  Naming pages keywords/phrases also helps build link relevancy.  Just remember to be consistent with each page.

Frames Sites

No Frames! Oh, if were only that easy.  Sometimes you need frames and although it can be a pain to market a frames site in the search engines, it is far from impossible.  Here is a simple tip that is frequently overlooked.

A frameset page consists of a head section, a frameset section, a <body> that contains the <noframes> section and closure.  If your index or Main page is a frameset take a half of a second to copy the HTML of the body of your Main page into the <noframes> tags </noframes> of your frameset page.  Add Meta tags and other optimization tricks found here, and it is ready for submission. 

See, the problem with frames sites and search engines is that you cannot optimize each page as its own and submit it to the search engines.  If individual pages are indexed "out of frames" the user will not be able to navigate.  Some webmasters combat this with an "Out of Frames?" link at the foot of each page.  Others, who want to make each page of their site with content viable in the search engines, will use a bit more complex of technique.  This works well also if you want to direct visitors to a specific page within your frames site.

Let’s say each ‘main’ page of your frameset has the extension ".htm".  Create a top frame that shows the header/navigation, call it "TOP_frame.htm".  Your bottom frame will always be the main ".htm" page.  Now you can create an individual frameset for each page that shows the .htm page in the main section.  Then you copy and paste the content from the body of the .htm page into the <noframes> tags and save the new frameset as .html using the same primary page name as the .htm, and finish optimizing the frameset page for submission. 

Here is a working example: (Out of frames) (In frames, still navigational, and marketable)

The code for an invisible frame set is:

<!-- Meta Tags; Title, Description, Keywords, Etcà


<frameset framespacing="0" border="false" rows="*,0" frameborder="0">

  <frame name="main" src="TOP_FRAME.HTM" scrolling="1">

  <frame name="footer" scrolling="no" noresize target="main"  src="MAIN_PAGE.HTM">

<!—Copy and paste content from main page here à





This technique at least allows you to create a marketable form of each page of your site to draw visitors in as well as provide a URL to direct visitors to a specific page within your frame set.  Another advantage is that you still only have one page to update/maintain any changes, the .htm format.

Flash Sites

If search engines ranked sites on design, we would be seeing many Flash site coming up in the top ten.  The fact is, you don’t see many Flash sites with high ranking at all.  Are Flash sites worse than frames when it comes to being search engine friendly?

Sites with Flash introductions and navigation panels are becoming increasingly popular.  Although Flash can be really cool, an inexperienced designer can set your site up to be so un-marketable, it may lose all chances of getting indexed at all.  Sites with Flash Intro’s often "redirect" after the movie is played.  How this redirect functions can have a huge impact on how search engines view your site.  If the redirect is "timed" using a Meta refresh tag or JavaScript you are asking for trouble.  However, since search engines can’t read or index what goes on inside a flash movie, if the Flash intro is programmed to redirect after playing once, the effect is not so bad.  Having a "Skip Intro" text link (hopefully more descriptive text like "If you wish to skip the [keyword] introduction, please enter our [keyword] site here") creates a path that search engines spiders can follow to the inside of your site.

In Macromedia’s Dreamweaver there are behaviors you can implement to auto detect whether the visitor is Flash enabled or enabled with other necessary plug-ins.  Advanced designers use this technique to serve users the correct version or design dependant upon their browser settings and installed plug-ins.  Does this have the same adverse affects as a Java or Meta refresh?  Honestly, this has not been experimented with enough to say yes or no.  All I can suggest is that if the page is optimized well, it will rank well.  The search engines do not create rules to keep honest sites out. 

As far optimizing a page with a Flash intro, follow the same advice for HTML sites above.  The biggest problem with sites that have a Flash intro as an index page is the lack of content for search engines to index, spiders treat Flash movies just like an image.  This is where Layers of Advantage come into play.  You can hide text if you’re smart enough to know what works, but why break known rules when you can make up your own?  Creating a layer, implementing relevant content, and moving the layer out of view on the page allow you to have "invisible" content that search engines can read, and you can even include links for them to spider!

Overall the most important things to keep in mind with any type of site design is to take a glance at the code and look for indexable keyword/text content throughout the code of the page.  The more content rich pages you have of your site that is navigational and marketable in the search engines, the better your chances of ranking for keywords relevant to each page.

The tight relationship between marketing and web design is an intricate balance.  But with the right ideas in mind, and awareness how every decision, such as naming an image or page can have helpful effects, you can come up with an extremely marketable and versatile design that your visitors will enjoy and be able to find time and time again.

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