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Building a website can be overwhelming, here are some design tips to help keep you on the right path (or is that web?)
--- Designing a Frames-based web site
Frames may make the job of maintaining a big web site easy, but search engines hate them. Most search engines cannot find their way through them and end up indexing only the home page. Lose your frames right away. You will start getting positive improvements the moment you redesign your site without frames.
--- Having an all-Flash or graphic-only home page
This is another classic mistake. Many designers design web site home pages like brochures. A beautiful cover which has to be opened to read. But on the Internet every click takes away some prospects. Did they click your ENTER button or the Back button? Search engines need content to index. If you don't have words on the home page and only a Flash movie or an animated graphic, how will the search engines know what you do?
--- Not having a good title
A good title is critical for getting good search engine position and the most vital thing -- the click-through. With the title, you are always walking a tightrope. You need a title with your most important keyword near the beginning but it should still appeal to the human reading the results.
--- Hosting your site with a FREE host
Don't do it. It takes away all your credibility. Most of the search engines don't even index web sites on free hosts. Even if they do, they rank them quite low.
--- Stuffing lots of keywords in the keywords tag
Do you have a keywords tag that lists all the words related to your product in a big long series? This is a certain recipe to invite negative points. Put only the 2-3 most important keywords in there. Here's a quick test - don't put any term in the keyword tag if it doesn't appear at least once in the body copy.
--- Not having any outgoing links
Do you know why the Internet is called the Web? Because the web sites link to each other. If you only have incoming links and no outbound links, it's not appreciated by the search engines as it violates the basic structure of the Web. Because some people try to conerve PageRank (a proprietary index used by Google to measure link popularity), they avoid having any outbound links. This is one big myth. You can get very good points if you have some outbound links with keyword-rich anchor text and preferably keyword-rich target URL also.
--- Insisting on session variables and cookies to show information
Session variables are used extensively by ecommerce-enabled sites. This is to trace the path used by the visitor. Shopping cart and various other application also benefit by using session variables. However it should be possible to visit the various information related and sales pages without needing to have session variables. Since search engine spiders don't index cookies, they can't index your pages properly if the navigation requires cookies and session variables.
--- Regularly submitting your site to the search engines
"We will submit your site to the top 250,000 search engines every month for only $29.95." Who has not seen these ads or received Spam with similar messages? And which are those 250,000 search engines? There are only a handful of top search engines worth bothering about. For some sites if you resubmit while you are waiting to be indexed, you entry is pushed to the end of the queue. So you can resubmit regularly and never get indexed!
--- Optimizing for more than 2 or 3 search terms
It is virtually impossible to optimize a page for more than 2-3 keywords without diluting everything. Don't try to work on more than 3 phrases on one page. Split. Get similar phrases together and work on those in this page. Take 2 or 3 out of the other phrases and develop a new page with entirely new copy. Remember, you cannot just copy the same page and squeeze these new phrases in there. It will look very funny to the visitor.
Author: http://www.JamesBurchill.com - James is a freelance writer and consultant
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