Web site Design – Designing for Spiders.

Internet search engines account for a large percentage of visitors to your site. By observing a few commonsense rules in the design of your web site you can make the most of this form of marketing.

First thing is we we always recommend that our clients don’t rely on search engine generated traffic to make their web site worthwhile, search engines are too fickle to be relied upon, let me tell you why.

There are 1,000’s of different search engines. Although only a few account for the lions share of the market it’s not unusual to come across someone using a search engine we’ve never heard of.

The different search engines, in an effort to offer better results, use different criteria to categorise web sites. Google, for example uses over 100 criteria to categorise each web site. To complicate things further search engines regularly alter the way in which they categorise web sites. All of this will help you see why ranking consistently high on search engine results is a moving feast.

What is the answer? Well, if you ask a hundred web designers you’ll probably get 100 different responses. Our advice is to design in a reasonable balance of search engine optimisation techniques rather than struggle with constant optimisation to the nth degree.

We suggest you start by doing the easiest and most standard things, that is, work out the best text for your front page (around two hundred words) and image “ALT” tags, using your selected key words and phrases where ever possible,.

These key words and phrases must be based around common terms that your target audience would use to find a company like yours. If you have a product or service that is very common online then you are best to try for key words a bit left of centre. Statistics prove that 80% of people do not go past the first page of search engine results, with an average search giving you more than 100,000 results (10,000 pages of results) the chances of coming up on the first result page using the most likely search terms are slim.

To further differentiate you in searches you should, if your business operates a specific geographic area (i.e. is not worldwide), use place names in your site wording, i.e. Australia, Melbourne, Fitzroy, or even all the capital cities in the geographic area you service.

Other key factors in getting and maintaining a reasonable showing in search engines is to regularly alter and add content and new pages, seek reciprocal links to web pages that offer quality content which is similar to or compliments yours.

If all the above sounds like a lot to learn, it is. There is now an industry developed around search engine optimisation of web sites and many people earn large amounts of money by getting their clients web sites into the top position for desired keywords.