Website SEO Step #1
In a previous forum post I outlined the basic process of website SEO [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization%5D. There is a logical series of SEO steps or stages that any website will benefit from. Each stage improves on the previous step and increases SEO and your website’s position on the search engine result page (SERP) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SERP%5D. This posting will outline the first stage in improving the SEO of your website and increasing the number of prospective customers coming to you from search engines.
To perform well any structure requires good design and sound building techniques. This structure is hidden underneath the styling (looks) and contents. No matter how good a structure looks if the framework is not correct it will not perform. The number one requirement in building strong website SEO and marketing results is having a well designed and well built core website structure.
Websites are no different than a building. If the foundation is not solid it becomes more and more difficult to make additions and improvements. Performing SEO on a website is similar to building a multi-story building. If the first floor is not built with the capacitity for upwards growth it will quickly require reinforcement (or reconstruction) or risk collapse. The cost of fixing a website with poor core structure can far exceed the cost of the original website!
A quality constructed website communicates to the search engines that the website will work well when it is displayed to the SEARCH ENGINE’S customers. Search engines such as Google are in the business of providing information. They are technically using your website to make money. The better the quality of your website the more willing search engines are to push it to their customers. The higher your website is rated the higher it is placed on the SERP and the more people it is displayed to.
Good SEO requires correctly constructed webpages with no programming errors. SEO also needs a page structure that can be edited or added to without causing what programmers call ‘spaghetti code’. Websites built with poor initial structure quickly becomes a programming nightmare that is very costly to work on and keep running. When search engines find a poorly programmed, error ridden website they immediately assign it a low ranking and push it to the bottom of the SERP.
One of the first things a search engine does when assessing a website for indexing [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_%28search_engine%29%5D is to look at the basic building blocks of the website:
* correct HTML programming (html validation),
* correct style sheet (CSS) programming (CSS validation),
* version of HTML doctype (current or obsolete programming techniques),
* layout and structure of website,
* page naming,
* internal page linking,
* broken or dead links.
If the website pages do not validate and are riddled with errors the website is pushed to the bottom of the SERP pile (now you know why some websites are stuck on page 53…). Some search engines have an index “sandbox” where they place websites that have problems. These websites are held there and checked periodically to see if the errors are corrected. If not they are not included in the search engine database (search index) and largely ignored. If the website is not in the index there is no way for anyone to find it and your website has become a total waste of money with no ROI.
To check your website Google provides a fabulous free tool called Webmaster Tools which reports any errors it finds. This tool is combined with their other free tool called Goggle Analytics.
Next post I’ll look at meta tags and website content.
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