What is the best way to design a website for Google, MSN and Yahoo? What do the search engines look for when ranking a site? The hierarchy and navigation of a website is important to the search engines. Building your site using the techniques described in this article will enhance your sites visibility and exposure.

How to Design a Website for the Search Engines

Here are some points to consider when designing a website:

1. Page Content
Most recently Google is looking for exact keyword phrases in a websites text.
In the past it would look at the text on the index page and put keywords together, even if they were in different paragraphs. Google still does this, but now is putting more relevance on exact keyword phrases, rather than putting keywords together separately.
Example: If a website is selling 'checks', it should have exact keyword phrases in the text for all its related services:
'business checks'
'order business checks'
'deluxe checks'
'designer checks'

* On your website pages, the text should be informational and tell your visitors what your site is all about.
* Make sure your text contains your keywords and phrases, but don't make it hard for your visitors to read.....stuffing keywords into the text, just for the sake of higher rankings, will not do you much good for your visitors, if the text doesn't flow well.
* Conventional wisdom calls for around 250 words of text on the index (opening) page, in order to insert our needed keywords. Its not so important how much text. What is important is that you need enough text in order to insert all your important keyword phrases, without the text sounding 'spammy'.
* Search engines (Google especially) love information. This means that the more info you offer your visitors, the better you may rank. If Google sees that you are offering your visitors helpful information, they will reward you for it. Write some articles and create a page for each article (your articles should be about different aspects of your services, offering information on each). This will allow the search engines to read the article and index the information. Many .pdf files are images, which search engines won't index well. Convert it into HTML, and they will.
* Not only does Google like information, but other websites will link to you, if your site offers information that their visitors would be interested in. More links means a higher rank in the search engines.
* Create separate pages with information. Example: If you have a hotel website, create a page about local attractions. If your service is real estate, then have articles on 'How to Obtain a Home Mortgage' or 'Home Inspection Tips'. Not only will Google love you, but so will visitors to your site.
* Don't use promotional language in your text like 'we're the best' or 'the number 1 real estate service in the USA!'......just reading that last sentence makes me ill. Your visitors aren't stupid, don't treat them like they are. Not only will it displease your audience, but it won't help with the search engines either. Do you think a search engine spider cares that you're service is the 'absolute best service ever offered on the planet'? Nope.
* Be sure to use good text on all your pages.......the major search engines love text and will see ALL the text on your site, not just the index (index) page. Google is trying to 'figure out' what your site is about. It will look at the whole site to do this. So, if one of your main keyword phrases is 'laser printed business checks', you should have a page devoted just to that.
* The key to good website rankings is to take advantage of the many keywords that relate to the services you offer, not just a few, and create pages for them.

2. Create a separate page for the many types of services you offer
Example: You have a website that sells autographs.
On the main page, have links to your major categories of autographs.
One link would be for 'Celebrity Autographs' one for 'Sports Autographs' etc.
Now, a visitor who is interested in sport autographs, will click on this link which will take him to the main page for 'Sports Autographs'. Now, break up the 'sports autographs' page with more links....
'Baseball Autographs'
'Football Autographs' etc.
Click on the 'Baseball Autographs' link, which will take you to a page about baseball autographs, or even just about baseball in general. Now, have links to each individual player......
'Sandy Koufax Autographs' etc.
This now allows you to use many more keywords to be found with in the search engines. For instance, you can now use keywords associated with baseball: baseball autographs, baseball signatures, baseball memorabilia etc.
Take it a step further with each individual player, who has an entire page devoted to him: 'Sandy Koufax Autographs' etc. Have information about Sandy Koufax on the page, such as pitching record, batting average, etc.
Now, not only will you be listed higher for 'Sandy Koufax Autographs', but also for just 'Sandy Koufax'. This will allow you to pull in visitors who are interested in Sandy Koufax, who will come to your site for information, and end up purchasing his autograph, even if this wasn't the visitors original intention.

3. The bigger the website the better.... It's simple, the more pages your website has, the more keywords and phrases you can use. The major search engines will index all of your pages (for the most part).

4. What pages won't a search engine 'see'?
It is best to build a website in a language search engines can understand. Basic HTML is a great way to go. Websites built in flash or frames are tougher for the search engines to 'see'. However, there are ways to make them see, even with sites that are built in flash or frames.....it's just not the most effective way to build a site for the search engines. If you have a site that takes all its information from a database on your server, the search engines likely will still 'see' the information. The problem can come from how the information is accessed, and how each dynamic page is 'built' from the database. If you are using a content management system, does it allow you to use different metas on different dynamically generated pages?
Example: You have a website that sells tickets.
Since the tickets you sell are for shows and events that are constantly changing, your webmaster probably will build you a site that is dependent on pulling information from a database. Search engine spiders have gotten a lot better at 'seeing' information from these types of websites. Still, I recommend that for every 'dynamic' or database driven service on your site, you also create a basic HTML page for the same.
For instance, you may have a new comedy show coming to town that you want to sell tickets for. Just like the above example on autographs, you should create different pages and sections on each individual type of show. Have a link for 'Music Tickets', then a link for each type of music and create a separate page for that......like 'Rock and Roll Tickets', 'Country Music Tickets' etc..... all with their own separate page. Now, you have created a way for the search engines to 'see' that your website not only sells tickets, but also what types of tickets, down to the last detail. You will now find yourself listed in the search engines for a multitude of ticket related keywords.

Author's Bio: 

John Aschoff has 7 years experience in Website Promotion and search engine optimization services. SEO services include social media optimization, link building, internet reputation management, webpage content writing, press release and article writing and publishing.