Prepare your Meta tags

carre.gif (660bytes) Include all the important Meta tags on all pages.
Keywords, Description and Title tags should be included as a minimum, and each should be set to focus on the content of the specific page, remaining where possible within the 'theme' of the site. Add 'robot instruction' tags indicating which pages should be indexed by the search engines and which should not .

If you have pages that detract from the overall theme of the site, use the robot exclusion tag -META NAME -robots - content -noindex,nofollow - within the opening -HEAD - -/HEAD -, to exclude search engines from visiting those pages.

Avoid using 'Meta Refresh' tags that automatically direct the viewer to a different page. If you must use 'refresh' set the time to a minimum of 15 seconds, or use the robot exclusion tag described above .

carre.gif (660bytes)
Design a navigation structure that allows search engines to crawl the important content pages from the home page.
This can be done easily using transparent image files and setting them as hyperlinks. Remember that using Java, Flash software or 'Frames' to facilitate navigation, can often present a 'closed door' to search engines, preventing key areas of your site from being indexed.

Use the alt-image attribute and name images descriptively. Some search engines read the alt text and it can help, though marginally.

Name pages using keywords. Instead of 'page2.html' use 'american-ginseng.html', if your site is about herbal products.

If your site uses 'Frames' there are important techniques to consider. Many search engines cannot navigate through the Framed section of a site, unless the Frames are prepared in a specific way. As a minimum, ensure your designer includes a detailed description about your business, products or services on the 'noframes' page, and ask her/him to research specific information about Frames and search engines.

If the site design uses dynamic content pages as with ASP, consider designing additional pages that use static HTML. Having an 'about us' page in HTML is always a good strategy when using dynamic content or 'active server pages'.

If your designer is using Macromedia Flash software, to enhance the visual appearance of the site, make sure that your descriptive text is not created within 'movie' files. This is true for text within any kind of image file, the search engines cannot read it. Consider having two paths through the site 'Flash' and 'non-Flash'.

Ensure your site has a good deal of descriptive content. This is the most important aspect for search engines and also for your visitors. Content-rich sites invariably far much better than those with minimal text content. These are some of the basics to consider when designing or re-designing your web site.

Careful design and consideration to the basics is often enough to secure good page rankings with some of the leading engines.

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