Designing a Spider-Friendly Webpage

Make Your Points Early And Well Human visitors want to see your most important content at the top of the page, highlighted if necessary with color and header tags. But realize that spiders see the page differently than human visitors. Search engine spiders look at your content and assume that:

  • Earlier content is more important than what’s farther down on the page.
  • Text contained in header tags is more important than other text.
  • Links and header tags that contain keywords matching the META tag keywords are more important than those that don’t.

Put Your Content On Top
Even if visitors see your content on top of the page in their browsers, spiders might not find it if your HTML code is poorly written. If so, your best keywords and keyword phrases may be the last thing the spider reads.

Some design techniques that work great for human visitors leave spiders out in the cold. Make them more spider-friendly like this:

  • External JavaScript files: Complex JavaScript code inserted in the document’s HEAD tag takes up a huge amount of space. Use an external JavaScript file to reduce page size or place your JavaScript code at the bottom of the page whenever possible.
  • External Cascading Style Sheets: Use style sheets to reduce bloated code and decrease download time. Style sheets eliminate extraneous HTML code, so the spider can get straight to your content.
  • Levels of navigation: Flatter is better, so try to design your site with as few levels as possible. That means no splash pages!
  • A well-designed and structured home page: Keep your home page short, but make it content-rich. Reference major topics and include important keywords, then link them to keyword-rich 2nd and 3rd-level pages for more information.

Create meta tags. Creating meta tags is the next step toward successful search engine optimization. Meta tags are designed to give search engine spider in idea about your website before it actually crawls the body of the page itself. Meta data gives the spider title of your page, short description and the keywords that are relevant to that page. Notice that the word “page” is used here; spiders look at each page of your website separately. Here are some examples and explanations on meta tags:

  • DESCRIPTION – that’s the description of your page. It should be 1-2 sentences and should make sense because search engines like Google use it when displaying your listing, along with title tag.
  • KEYWORDS – that’s the keywords that relate to your website. Make sure you put keywords that have been used in the body of you page. If you put keywords that are nowhere to be found on your page some search engines might penalize for it and filter out your website.

Titles and Headings
Your page title and headings are important for keyword optimization, but they also assist spiders to interpret your site. It’s one of the first indicators a search engine will use as relevance for your content.

Updates and Changes
Tell the spiders when you make changes: using XML sitemaps, keep the search engines informed when you update your site. If you change your site to a new name or move pages around, you need to let the search engines know about it or you’ll lose any existing benefit you had from your old pages.

You can use redirects instructions to web browsers and search engine spiders about where to go when a page has changed, and these can be temporary or permanent. Ask your server administrator about redirects.

Server Performance
Like humans, spiders have a certain level of tolerance with how long they’ll wait for a web site to respond before moving on. There are many other (more important) reasons to have a fast-loading site, but poor performance will hurt crawlability.

If you’re interested in looking at your site through the eyes of a spider, turn off JavaScript, images and styles in your browser’s preferences, and you’ll have a fair idea.

Build Incoming Links
In the eyes of a search engine, if a web site is prepared to link to another site, it’s a sign that the web site is credible. What’s more, the text used for the link has to have some relevance: if a popular horse stud site links to your horse blankets site using the anchor text, “great horse blankets,” then your site gains popularity and some added relevance for that keyword. The more incoming links you have pointing to your web site, the greater your overall site ranking will be.

These days, some links are more equal than others. In the case of Google, an inbound link from a high-ranking web site will have more significance than many links from low-ranking web sites.

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