Key visitors to your commercial pages include web robots that crawl the internet and catalogue your content. Having proper HTML source code, plus the right combination of text and graphic presentation, is just one secret to success. The proper code may mean higher robot ratings, and the "look" is equally important. Once a new prospect finds your website, you have 5 seconds to get them to stay.
As a small business website owner, you may have asked: "Why don't we get any hits?". Did you know web pages can load and appear correct with improper or deprecated HTML code? A browser may ignore your mistakes, and display what it thinks you meant, and it may look great. Web robots may not be as forgiving.
Following is a list of 8 basic elements for good search engine placement that need to be considered in your design and website promotion. For details on code issues from the worldwide authority, visit the World Wide Web Consortium to view DOCTYPE and other quality standards.
1. DOCTYPE Statement
2. Page Title
3. Proper HTML Code
4. META Description
5. META KeyWords
6. First Paragraph of the Home Page
7. An Extra Page of Just LINKS
8. Backlinks (Links to your pages)
These 8 key items are either missing or poorly designed in 85% of all websites. Some search engines may only list the other 15% in their directories. In other words, as few as 15% of the 6 billion web pages online ever make it into some search engines. Even worse, there are mistakes that may result in your page being blacklisted, and the search engine web crawlers may never come back to see if it's corrected. This could explain why you "never get any hits".
Websites can be simple and professional without using fancy software to create your pages. Veteran programmers hand code and many create the HTML in Notepad. Web authors who choose to use flash, frames or the latest software may be losing a significant portion of new visitors (customers) because the visitor may lack the technology or newest version of browsers. If they are turned off and leave without giving your site a fair viewing, it could mean lost profits.
Most designers use pre-packaged software to create web pages. If the software leaves out any of the key elements, the code is hidden, and you'll never know your site was not optimised for search engines. The designer may not know, or care, about these items as long as the page looks attractive. Note: Search engine algorithms vary by company, so some elements such as "an extra page of links".
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