Top 10 Search Engine Friendly Website Check List
For Better and not for Worse, these points could improve the search engine friendliness of a website.
- Splash Pages. A splash page could have a damaging effect to the search engine friendliness of website because it essentially is the most important page on a website as an entry point. A splash page often has very little useful content and splash pages are often built using Adobe’s Flash which Search Engines can’t index. Recommendation – remove Splash pages.
- Flash Pages. This continues from the first point. If a website is completely done in Flash, good luck getting your website indexed. The bottom line, search engine crawlers can’t read graphics. Recommendation – use flash sparingly on a page with a mix of HTML and Flash.
- Framed pages – Frames are not are being used as much in websites compared to 5 to 10 years ago but its still worth mentioning. If your website is currently using frames, sorry to break the bad news but a redesign may be in order. Search Engine crawlers have trouble indexing a Framed website. Recommendation – Use the Noframes tag for a replacement page inside your framed page. This will allow the crawlers to navigate to index the pages that are not currently framed. This is a temporary fix until a redesign is completed using Cascading Style Sheets.
- Menus– Menu links should be text based with the keyword in the menu anchor text linking to the page that the keyword is about. For example, a website about computers could have a heading of Computer Brand with linked sub menu items to specific make of computer:
- Dell XPS Desktop Computers
- Windows 7 64 bit, XPS 520 Desktop Computer
- Windows 7 64 bit, XPS 420 Desktop Computer
- Windows 7 32 bit, XPS 300 Desktop Computer
Do not use Flash menus because of the same reason in point 2 even though they may add pizazz to a website. Recommendation – Text – based menus and sub menus.
- Keywords on the page – It’s important to have the keywords or the key phrase at the beginning somewhere in the first sentence of the page content. This allows the Search Engine Crawlers a certain relevancy that reflects the Title and back links pointing to the page.
- HTML Sitemap – A full sitemap with a link on every page to the sitemap would boost your website’s visibility. It should allow easy access for a crawler and visitor to enter from any point on the website.
- Google Webmaster Tools and XML Site Map – There are many positive reasons for placing a Google site map on your server for Googlebot to index. It will help identify any problems indexing your website, server issues, malicious stuff known as malware, number of links pointing back to your site, impressions or clicks for keywords and many more features. It is quite impressive how much information a webmaster can get from Google’s webmaster tools. Recommendation – Install Google’s sitemap for every website on the server.
- Use of H1 to H4 Header tags – Search Engine Friendly pages means good use of H1 to H4 Tags. The H1 is considered the most important SEO header tag at the top identifying the Title of the page with H1 being used only once on the page. It’s important to note that the Search Engine Spiders need a progression of header tags and should not jump. For example, it should be H1 and H2, not H1 to H3. You can still have successions of the same header tag. e.g. H1, H2, H2, H3. Header Tags can contain the targeted keywords, but must be relevant to the page, and not too long.
- Title and Description Meta Tags – The Title tag is considered the most important meta tag within the Header portion of the page because Google and other search engines use the title tag as the heading for each website listing. It’s important to have a good title tag that is 65 characters or less, relevant to the page, accurate and compelling enough to get a click from the user. Google only displays 65 or less characters from the meta tag but if you go over 65 it doesn’t matter. The targeted keywords should also be included in the title tag which will also boost search engine ranking based on the relevance of the page to the keywords. The Description meta tag, although not as important to search engine rankings, is extremely important from a user perspective. The description should be a compelling and draws the readers attention with the important keywords in the description copy. It’s important to mention that Google and other engines will bold the keywords in the description of a listing when the user types the matched keywords. It’s also important to note, Google will start writing their own description of this important meta tag if it is missing. The maximum number of characters for a description should be kept between 150 – 160 characters.
- Search Engine Friendly URLs– Content Management Systems such as Joomla are notorious with unfriendly urls when the SEO features built into it are turned off (usually by default). As an example, a url such as http://www.mydomain.com/products.php?id=2334&ar=541233.
A good url would be http://www.mydomain.com/products/dellcomputers/XPS510/. The first example also applies to e commerce systems that are not SEO optimized for more search engine friendly url’s like the second example. Keep the Search Engine Friendly url to a minimum length such as 3 sub directories since search engine crawlers would stop indexing a website, if there are too many sub directories per url.
To Summarize… It is important to understand how a Search Engine crawler indexes web pages. Some of the points range from easy fixes such as correcting the H1 – H4 Tags to more difficult corrections such as setting up of Search Engine Friendly URLs that may require a web developer to implement. If want a more detailed examination of your website, check us out for our website audit service, contact us at our form here.