Building a search engine friendly site can seem like a daunting task, but there are some parts of search engine optimization process that are quite simple and quickly done. These seemingly simple tasks can make a big difference in the results you get in your efforts to attain top search engine positions. If you are in the process of building a new site take a look at the easily done optimization points explained below, and if you already have a site, you can use this list as a way to check your site.
1. Name your files properly. Just as it is important to put keywords in your metatags and in the copy of your site, it is also very helpful to have keywords in the names of the files. If have a website for the Electronic Widgets Company, your “About Us” page could have the file name “aboutus.html” but then you would not have any keywords in it. It would be better to have “electronic-widgets-aboutus.html” or “about-electronic-widgets.html”. If you make a sub-directory also make sure that its name incorporates an important keyword. Never make a file such as “page1.hml” or “page2.html”, you are throwing away an opportunity to place your keyword.
Some people carry this point to the nth degree and choose a long domain name with many keywords put together. I don’t think you need to do this, as these kinds of domain names are difficult to remember. However if you are building a secondary domain, one that is content-rich and designed to get traffic which is then directed to another site, you can opt for a keyword-rich domain name.
2. Put your keywords in hyperlinks. Another important place for keywords is in the hyperlinks which lead to other pages on your website. If you have a navigation bar at the top or the left that is made of gif or jpeg images, you can add a text navigation bar at the bottom of the page and make sure that your keywords are in these text links. So, instead of having a text link that says “resources” it could better be written as “electronic widget resources”. Similarly whenever you find a place within the written text of the page where you can highlight a keyword and link it to another part of the site, take this opportunity. You can even make a hyperlink that jumps to a bookmark on the same page.
3. Make sure you have your own domain name. It is more difficult to promote an interior portion of a site, than the main domain name. It only costs from $8.00-15.00 to get a domain name, and your own webspace can be obtained for as little as $100 per year. So, if you already have a site, but want to start a completely different product line, start a new site with a new domain name rather than set up a subdirectory of an existing site, or , worse, use a free site.
4. Check to see that your are emphasizing the right keywords. While keyword research is a large task, and maybe doesn't qualify as a little thing, it will not take you very long to visit this url (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion ) and see if people are really searching for what you are talking about. Take a look, and modify your web copy to reflect the actual searches that people make for your products.
5. Use the alt tag for images. Here is another opportunity to place your keywords. Search engines cannot “see pictures” or graphic files. Whenever you have a graphic image you have the option of adding alt text. This alt text will be visible when surfers put their mouse over the images, but more importantly it will be visible to search engines. So instead of just having a photo of a widget, you can put a description with your important keywords. If you have a navigation bar with images, you can put descriptive text for each navigation item.
6. Make sure that you have a title tag for each page. This may seem like an obvious point, but have you ever reached a web page which had a title, visible in the blue strip at the top of the browser, that said "new page" or "untitled page"? In this case the person building the site forgot to put in the title tag. These kinds of pages are usually found on the inner pages of a web site, a place where many people, mistakenly, pay less attention. So check all of your pages, make sure that there is a title tag, and make sure that your keywords are in the title tag.
Taking advantage of these search engine optimization opportunities will not take you much time or cost you much money, but your gain in a better position in search engine results will be well worth your effort.
Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor, and social worker. He has been working on the Internet since 1995 and is the proprietor of A1-Optimization, http://www.a1-optimization.com, a firm providing search engine optimization, copywriting, reciprocal linking, and other web promotion services. He publishes a monthly ezine, A1-Web Promotion Tips, available at http://www.a1-optimization.com/newsletter.html