Internet marketing and Web design are two separate disciplines which work together. A designer makes a site that is easy to navigate and appealing to the visitor; Internet marketing is what brings the visitor to the site. That’s not to say that one is more important than the other, or that a Web Designer doesn’t know SEO (or vice versa). The fact is that people are not going to find your company just because your site is on the Internet. You need to do a little work to make that happen. The good news is that as long as you know a little basic HTML, you can do some of this work without consulting a Web designer.
1. Use text and HTML. Search engines can’t read images (other than alt tags), and therefore cannot index them. Likewise, search engines can’t index Flash. They need text and HTML in order to index your site. So keep that in mind before you shell out a million dollars on a Flash-only Web design. While you’re at it, make sure all of your HTML works, too. Google (and other search engines) don’t like sites that are full of deprecated tags or broken HTML.
2. Make sure you use the tag. The title tag is so important when it comes to optimizing your HTML for SEO. The title tag needs include keywords that are relevant to your Web site or business. If you look at mine, it says “Social Networking, Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing and More | Andrea Caruso Online”. This tells the search engine that these keywords are relevant to my site, as well as what my site’s name is. The title tag is very important. Don’t ignore it!
3. Alt tags on images. Since search engines cannot “read” a picture, use of alt tags on images is really, really important because it gives the search engine a description of the picture (and therefore can index the image – especially good for Google Image Search). Want to be ranked for “baby photograph”? If you put an image on your site of a baby, make sure you include “alt=baby photograph” in your img tag.
4. Bold and italics. Use the and tags around content related to your site that you think is important for search engines to index. Search engines assume that since you’re using these tags to emphasize certain text, that the words or phrases you’re emphasizing are important, so it will in turn place emphasis on them in their indexing process.
5. Abandon the “click here”. Just like the and tags, the anchor text you use for a link is seen as emphasized by search engines. So don’t ever link to an internal page with a link that says, “click here”! For example, if you’re linking to a page about really cool cars, say something like, “more about really cool cars”.
There are a lot more ways to optimize your site for search engines by cleaning up your HTML code, but I don’t claim to have a Web design degree so I can’t delve too much further into it. Check out the Related Reading for more tips.