In the previous edition of my Beginner’s Guide to SEO, I discussed how to determine your SEO objectives, and how to ensure your website hits its target audience. In this week’s edition, the fourth in the series, I’m going to talk you through the process of developing an SEO friendly website.
A lot of people are of the belief that simply because the site exists, it can be found in the search engines. Unless you’re in the know, that’s not a ridiculous thing to believe, but it is incorrect.
To get your site recognised by the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing, the content of the site must be converted into HTML text. Images and other non-text content is seemingly non-existent in the eyes of search engine crawlers, but there is a more advanced way of getting them noticed.
For example, images in formats such as JPEG or PNG, can be assigned what are known as “alt attributes” which let the crawlers know that the content is slightly different to standard text, giving them a description of what the images is showing in text form.
Building link structures that crawlers can easily navigate is a must for website developers, allowing search engines to discover the site and pages. If a site hides their links away – a common practice – then the crawlers find it difficult to navigate the website. Consequently, this makes it difficult to have their site indexed.
In the opinion of the search engines, those pages might as well not exist. The content can be great, the keywords spot-on and you could spend thousands on marketing campaigns, but it would all be a total waste if the crawlers can’t actually get to the pages.
The diagram below, courtesy of SEOMoz, aims to show the problems crawlers can have. This shows a website that has a good link structure, visible to the crawlers from page one of the site. They can see that the second and third pages exist, however, pages four, five and six cannot reach them because there are no direct, crawlable links to them. They might as well not be there.
There are a number of common reasons for why these pages may be unreachable. For instance, links in submission-required forms such as surveys will be invisible, and search engines will only look at around 100 links on a page. If yours has more, the engines may think your page is trying to spam its way into the public consciousness.
As mentioned in a previous edition of the Beginner’s Guide – The Key Part of an SEO Strategy – keywords are very important, and making sure that your keyword is part of the indexable content is essential.
As the search engines crawl and index the contents of pages, they keep track of those in keyword-based indices. As a result, they store all the pages in many smaller databases – as opposed to one huge one for the whole Internet – each focused on a specific keyword or phrase, making it quicker and easier to retrieve the data.
In summary, the key to success in SEO is a search engine-friendly website. The content, images, links and keywords are all essential parts – underestimate them at your peril!
For the next part of my Beginner’s Guide to SEO, check back to the Zazzle Media website next week. Or, if you can’t wait that long – follow me on Twitter @Zazzle_Chris or @zazzlemedia for all of our SEO news.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog- this blog was written by Chris White, a Content Executive at Zazzle Media.