Creating and launching a website is only the first step towards marketing your services and products online. Getting the site indexed by search engines is the next step. But the toughest step is making your website search engine friendly and conducive to achieving ranking in top five or results when people search for your products or services. Here are some tips to make your website search engine friendly.
After you have purchased your domain, designed and created your website and launched it, the website needs to be known to Search engines. Just launching a website is not enough. Search engines will not know about your website unless you create a sitemap and submit the sitemap in your Google Webmaster account. A sitemap is like a roadmap for Search engines and informs the spiders about the pages in your site. You must also create a robots.txt file to inform search engines which pages of your site you do not want to be indexed and crawled.
These steps are essential to get your website indexed and known to Search engines. But is this enough? Will your website start receiving visitors and will you get sales? There is more to just designing, launching, and getting a site indexed. Your website needs to be search engine and user friendly. This is essential or your website will remain a non-entity forever and just one of the billions of websites out there on the Internet. What you need to make your website stand out in the top of Search engine results are the following guidelines.
Fast and Reliable Hosting
Before you launched your website, you must have purchased webhosting space for your website. Most probably it will be the same company from which you purchased your domain. But it may also be the case that your domain registrar and your hosting provider are different. In any case, if you have already purchased your hosting space, you must keep a watch and ensure that your website never has a downtime. What this means is that your website should ideally never be unavailable due to hosting server issues. This creates problems not just for users, but also for Search engines when they come to index the website.
If you encounter problems with speed and downtime, you should research and find a reliable hosting provider whose servers are fast enough to display your website quickly so as not to irritate users visiting your site. Slow loading websites are a very big irritant and visitors are prone to moving on to other websites while your site is still loading. Latest research has shown that almost 50% of users expected a site to load in five seconds and users tend to abandon a website if it does not load within 8 seconds. If downtime occurs rarely, it is acceptable, but if it occurs regularly, then it would be best to change your hosting service company.
Rewrite Dynamic URLs
Many online stores, websites, blogs, and forums have a common problem – dynamic URLs. What exactly are dynamic URLs? Most people will not understand what a dynamic URL is, unless they are from the IT field. A dynamic URL looks something like this – www.ABC.com/?item=23456 or even more complex and longer such as this – www.ABC.com/forums/member.php?u=9750&vmid=1033#vmessage1033
These URLS do not specify or indicate to the user where it leads to. But a simple URL for a page like this – www.ABC.com/xyz.html, indicates to the user which page it leads to. The problem with dynamic and complex URLs is that neither the user, nor the Search engine robots can understand which page the URL leads to. It is better to have short URLs and keywords in page names to identify for the user and search engine bots what the page is about. This is better for SEO and ranking in search engines too. A URL such as www.ABC.com/cottondresses.html immediately indicates to the user and search engines that the URL leads to the cotton dresses page.
But what can you do if your site has already been launched? Will you need to redesign the website? No, there is a simpler solution to this dilemma. There is a file called .htaccess on your web server. It is a plain text file and you can use it for many tricks with your web server. You can modify the .htaccess file by opening it in notepad and rewrite dynamic URLs. Then when a user or search engine robot visits your website, this file gets a command to show a page URL that is user and search engine friendly. This strategy is the same as hiding your real face behind a mask.
Suppose your website has a URL like this – http://www.myshop.com/showgood.php?category=34&good=146
This URL can be rewritten as
But rewriting a .htaccess file is not easy and requires some expertise. Do not try it yourself if you do not understand coding. And besides that, it is your webmasters job to do this. If you do not have a webmaster, then search for someone who specializes in rewriting a .htaccess file for you. Rewriting the dynamic URLs will certainly help your website achieve better rankings in the long run as the website pages are recrawled by search engine bots. Remember – Small changes make a big difference.
There are numerous such tips and tricks that you can implement for a better website experience for users and for search engines.
About the Author
Sunil Punjabi is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD, MCTS) and has been involved with providing Microsoft Certification training, Web Design and Web Development, and is currently providing Professional SEO Services for Top Google rankings for clients in USA, UK, Australia, and India