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Top Three Critical Components for a Search Engine-Optimized Website

Everyone wants to know: How can I get my site on the top of the search engines? Although Google doesn’t publish their magical algorithm that will get you there, there are some well-known facts and strategies to keep in mind when designing or updating your website.

1. Accessibility

There are several different components that determine whether or not your site is accessible – and it’s not just about how easily your website can be found. Here are some things to look at:

• Broken Links- Check all links on your website regularly. Broken links can hurt you in two different ways. First, if a link leading viewers and search engine crawlers to another part of your website is broken, they cannot access the content. For viewers, this means receiving a very annoying error message. For search engines, this means the page may not get indexed. Second, some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gurus out there have said that having broken links on your site can actually reflect negatively on your site rankings in search engines. So check those links!

• File Size- Typically, websites larger than 150K are not fully cached or indexed by search engines. If you want to make sure your entire website can be indexed, keep it under 150K.
File size also reflects how fast your website runs, which leads me to…

• Website Speed (Downtime)- Make sure you are aware how fast your site runs. Not only can a slowly running site be annoying to visitors, but it also bothers search engines. Therefore, your site’s performance can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings.

2. Search-Friendly Text

There are several styles of text that cannot be indexed. Making the visible text on a page search-friendly isn’t complicated, but it is an issue that many sites struggle with. Text styles that cannot be indexed by search engines include: text in an image format such as jpg, png, pdf, gif, etc., text embedded in a macromedia flash file, text embedded in a java application, and text only accessible from a form submission (no true link).

Don’t worry; even if you do not understand all of these styles, your Webmaster will!

3. Title Tags & Meta Tags

Title tags are located at the very top of the browser and tell a visitor what website they are on. More importantly, they tell the visitor how that particular website is going to suit their needs. Meta tags are not as visible, but are also very important. All of these tags help search engines read your site. It is very important for all of these tags to be relevant and contain your top keywords.

One last piece of advice: Make sure you have a working and up-to-date sitemap on your website. Sitemaps help search engines understand the flow of a website and how the internal pages link together. This sitemap will help search engines crawl your website and index internal pages.

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