A website is nothing if its not optimized. The role of SEO experts begins when the website is being built and continues on till much after it is ready. Early SEO interventions will go a long way in maximizing the potential of all SEO tools/elements/techniques used to optimize the site for the search engines.
Lets take a look at the SEO elements that come into play during website development. By ensuring that they are used in the right manner, you will be improving its chances of getting higher ranking on SERPs.
The structure of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) has a big impact on how search engines look at your website as a whole. The structure should have no special characters, parameters, capitalization or space. A meaningful URL is one that uses dashes instead of underscores and gives an idea what the page is all about.
For e.g. for the About Us page, the URL should be www.DOMAIN-NAME.com/about-us
For any website that offers info about certain product/s, the URL should be www.DOMAIN-NAME.com/Product-Name
Typically, a URL structure shouldnt contain any special character or query strings, but at times, especially, if its a dynamic website you might consider using numbers and special characters, in order to rewrite the URL. But even in such cases its best to avoid them.
And there is one unwritten rule about URL structure that must be followed without fail Do not end URL with digits.
Alt And Title Tags
ALT and TITLE attributes can be added easily to the website code. ALT tags are an alternative text description for images. These tags are displayed before the image is loaded onto the major browsers.
While naming images its important to be specific so dont use something like image1.jpg if your image is an iPhone, name it iPhone.jpg instead.
The TITLE attribute can be used for most page elements, but SEO professionals usually ensure that it used for important structural HTML elements like links, tables etc. Their versatility means the text in the Title tags is looked upon by many search engine rankings algorithms as page content.
If you are using both attributes for an image then, keeping the keyword in both attributes will be a big plus. For e.g. in the case of the iPhone image, the attributes should be alt=iPhone, Title=iPhone.
Its also important to note that you shouldnt use the same ALT and TITLE tags for two or more images on the same page.
Other than their usability quotient, sitemaps are also a great hit with search engines. They allow search engines to quickly go through the site and index it. While making your sitemap, its important that you create it from the root level and not place it within subfolders or directories and link to it from your homepage.
With a sitemap, your reliance on external links to bring search engines to your site goes down considerably. As search engines keep improving upon their sitemap indexing algorithms, having a well-defined sitemap is an advantage that you cant very well do without.
SEO experts use header tags to integrate keywords onto the web pages, but what many of them forget is that a header tag is one of the easiest ways of structuring content so that search engines and visitors get a clear idea about the content of the web page. <H1> is the most important header tag followed by <H2>, <H3>, <H4>, <H5>, etc. It is the <H1> tag that is primarily used by search engines to evaluate the relevancy of the web page. They believe if anything is important enough to be put in the largest text on a web page, it must be relevant.
Navigation And Footer Links
Lets take footer links first. The footer is the bottom of the page and links appearing at the bottom of the page are footer links. SEO experts use footer links to run their internal SEO link structure. The thinking is very simple. The footer remains the same for each page, so for every page of the website you will be able to attract the same backlinks. While most experts will tell you that the use of footer links is long past its sell by date, there is no doubt that Google still pays attention to how these links are used. So, your link must contain words/keywords that are relevant to the page content.
A successfully optimized website is a coming together of diverse SEO aspects whose potential is leveraged in the right manner. And as can be seen, it must be done when the website is being built. The SEO needs to fit in very nicely into the general design of the website.
Mark Spencer has more than 5 years of hands-on experience in SEO industry. He currently works for PLAVEB, a leading Web Design Company based in Los Angeles, California.