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Designing your website with Search Engine Optimization in Mind
By Abdulhayy Johnson

Principles of Web Design

When designing your initial website you might lookup some tips and tricks on Ken Petri's COMP 234 Web Site. I took his concepts in web design course once at Franklin University, I found his style to be more practical than most designers, he has many guidelines for good design and accessibility plus tons of examples and references. Examples and resources from Professor Ken Petri on best practices for good web design.

Choosing a Domain Name

If you’re still looking for a domain name then you should start planning your keywords from now. Always keep in mind that you’ll be better off choosing a domain name that contains one or more of you target keywords. It carries a lot of weight with the search engines. For domain name availability try using some of the free online services like Domain name search lookup that allows a wildcard search of all current, deleted and expired domains. Another service has free domain lookup services such as Reverse IP lookup tool, DNS Lookup Tool, and Whois lookup tool. For advanced users there is ZoneEdit which is a Free DNS Management service, and The Public DNS Service which provides Free stuff and articles on how DNS works. Another one is DynDNS offering mostly paid and some free services.

The Right Target Keywords

Once you have put some thought into your theme and determined what keywords you’ll be targeting it’s now time to work them into your website. The first place to put them is the most obvious, your meta tags. Although meta tags are not really useful any more (most search engines ignore them now) it’s still a basic rule and won’t cost you anything. For help with creating good meta tags try the Add Me! Meta-Tags Generator, a simple online form for creating your own customized meta tags.

Accessibility & Searchability

Once you’re ready to test your website for search engine accessibility you can run it by the Web Inspector. This free online service is basically a search engine preparation tool that will analyze your web pages for better search engine readiness. Try the Search Engine Preparation Tool then analyze the results to find out how you can tweak your website to make it more searchable.

Backlinks or Inbound Links

Back-links are of course a major concern for many new webmasters especially if your website is fairly new. The fact is that since Google developed their Pagerank system (see article below) webmasters everywhere have been competing to increase the number of inbound links to their website. The problem is that many of them don’t approach it the right way and end up generating more spam (or useless links) which can sometimes have the adverse affect on your Pagerank. There are plenty of great tools out there for free that will count and list all websites who are linking to you, one of them is the Link Popularity Tool.

Broken Links and Bad Code

It is important as well to be seen as a pro. Most professional web designers will be familiar with the World Wide Web Consortium and their standards. They are the official authority on web standards, make sure you are at least familiar with them. Their free online validator tool can help you test your HTML code for accessibility issues and errors. They also have a link checker to check your website for broken links. Keep in mind most major search engines will penalize your website (lower ranking) for having too many broken links.

Advertising & Self Promotion

If have a complete and wholesome website with some traffic and are ready increase that traffic by doing some marketing then you have many options, mostly options that will cost you something. Fist of all there advertising with Google by means of Google Ad-Words, this a paid service that will target specific text ads for a monthly budget that you determine. Microsoft has a complete package for new website promotion for a very reasonable one time fee, it’s called Microsoft bCentral's Submit It! – it’s a good choice if you’re just getting started. Also take a look at Monster Promotion for general information.

Relevant Links and Content

We all know keyword optimization is important. But another goal of a good web designer is to optimize your links on your website. Your outbound links should all be relevant to your theme, and to the topic of the particular page they are found on. Relevance is key when performing search engine optimization. Relevant links means the website you links to has similar content. To find relevant links you’ll have to do tons of research and be careful, there are plenty of spammers and junk services out there. Never pay for links, purchasing links will automatically disqualify you from major search engines. Try some of the free services like Monster Link Swap that will help you find and exchange reciprocal links with other websites that have similar content to yours.