By Barry Fenning

If your visitors like your Web site, there is a very good likelihood that the search engines will, too. Here are the last 5 tips from Barry Fenning, that focus on how to develop your site with your visitors in mind, and also effectively conduct search engine optimization.

6. Descriptively label your links and images (aka, the “anchor text”)
This technique is both common sense and good practice. Saying “click here” is not enough to help visitors understand what they’re going to find once they click through. Be as descriptive as possible with every text and graphical link on your site. When writing your anchor text and alt attributes, you can almost always describe the page you’re pointing to by using its main keyword phrase. That is an important factor that search engines take into account when it comes to ranking your Web pages.

7. Make sure your site is spider-friendly
Your site may look fantastic. You and your Web designer may be talented graphic designers who can make Flash and JavaScript dazzle your visitors with a show that would put Michael Flatley and his River Dance to shame. However, if your site contains Flash and JavaScript, it’s important to know that search engine spiders have difficulty reading this code (or appreciating the effort you put into the design). The way around this is to provide navigation alternatives such as static links and a site map to allow the spiders crawl deep within your Web site and index the pages within their results. Overuse of Flash, JavaScript, and images can also lead to your Web pages’ being very slow to download. If these file types are used sparingly, your visitors and search engines will appreciate your efforts a lot more.

8. Create fresh content
When you are optimizing your site properly, you will see a trend. If you are doing something that benefits your site’s visitors, then the search engines will reward you for it. Blogs and forums are effective and easy ways of adding new information to your site on a regular basis. However, if your only purpose of setting up a blog or a forum is for better search engine rankings, then there really is no point in doing it. Only add a forum if it contributes something beneficial to your site and if you have the traffic to make it interactive enough for visitors to return to it. And, only add a blog if you have something of interest to say on a regular basis. Once you have your blog and/or forum up and running, you should optimize them with the same professionalism you do with any other page on your site.

9. Do not think that you can trick search engines
As noted before, if you are benefiting your visitors, then the search engines will reward you for it. If you try to trick the search engines by hiding keyword phrases, joining link farms, or any other sneaky practice, your sites will be removed from the search engines. (And you will also have to spend more time cleaning up your site before they will accept you back in.)

10. Offer something unique
If your Web site offers something that is unique and interesting to your target market and it is properly optimized (by applying all of the techniques listed above), you will not only rank well within the major search engines but also get the added benefit of people linking to your site in forums, blogs, and through other sites. That will send your site more visitors and create more inbound links, which will help it rank higher.

Remember, it’s human visitors that you are trying to impress, not search engine robots.

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