Chapter 3: Search Engine
Optimization and Site
Maintenance
In This Chapter
Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Seeing the benefits of ethical SEO
Improving search engine rankings with HTML
Submitting a URL to search engines
Improving visibility and accessibility with a site map
Performing site maintenance
Keeping your site up to date
Y
our site is up and running — give yourself a giant pat on the back, take
a deep breath, and get ready to do a few more things to make the most
out of all your hard work. Although additional work is not an absolute
requirement, you can apply a handful of other useful techniques to
your site to make it even more search engine and visitor
friendly. As an added benefit, when you do the tasks out-
lined in this chapter, your design services will be more
valuable to your clients and can help you stand out
from the competition.
This chapter explains several Search Engine
Optimization (SEO) techniques that can help make
your site more search engine friendly. In addition,
you find out why every site should include an
HTML Site Map page and how to create one. As a
final note, the end of this chapter shows you how to
perform regular Web site maintenance and suggests
ways to help you keep your site content fresh and up
to date.
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Understanding Search Engine Optimization
594
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to any techniques applied to the
code and/or content of a Web page that assists with the indexing of a site by
search engines and the improvement of the site’s ranking order within them.
Because search engines often rely on computerized “bots” to crawl the Web
and develop and maintain their indexes, many of the SEO concepts can be
easily implemented by thinking strategically about the site’s content, title
tags, meta tags, page structure, and accessibility coding. When the site has
been “optimized” for search engines, the site’s URL can be submitted to
search engines, which itself can help visitors find the site and improve the
site’s ranking within the search engine results.
Depending on your (or your client’s) budget, you can do a range of things to
increase both Web traffic and conversion rates. Traffic refers to the number
of visitors to a site, while a conversion rate is the percentage of those Web
visitors who actually complete a valid sale or other online transaction.
If you have somewhat of a budget, spending money on pay-per-click adver-
tising can be very useful and profitable. Pay-per-click Internet advertising, or
paid placement, is a method of site promotion whereby the advertiser (you)
bids on the keywords or key phrases you think will be used by potential site
visitors and then pays a fee anytime a visitor clicks an advertising link that
leads back to the advertiser’s site. Google offers the perhaps the most well-
known pay-per-click service, Google AdWords, which displays your adver-
tised URLs along the top or right edge in the Sponsored Links areas of the
Google Search Results pages, like the example shown in Figure 3-1.
Additionally, if you are selling any products or services, conversion rates
have been known to increase when a site does everything it can to easily
facilitate a sale, such as having clearly labeled Add XXX Product to Cart but-
tons, making the checkout process easy to use, making clearly defined ship-
ping and return policies available to visitors, and offering excellent
customer service and sales support.
On the other hand, if you have no money set aside for marketing, it would
be really smart for you to take a little time to make the site more search
engine friendly. The more you know about SEO, the more valuable your
services can be to your Web clients, whom often will want to rely on your
knowledge and expertise to guide them through (or completely handle
for them) the process of getting their site listed on search engines and
attracting more visitors.
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