Web Development and Design – Search Engine Visibility

Search engine traffic is vital to any website; without it, chances are the site will never fulfill its marketing functions. It is essential that the search engine can see the entire publicly visible website, index it fully and consider it relevant for its chosen keywords.URLs, alt tags, title tags and Meta tags all describe a website and its pages to search engine spiders. Let’s discuss each one of these in detail.


URLs indicate your location on the web. URLs should be as brief and descriptive as possible. This may mean that URLs require server side rewriting so as to cope with dynamic parameters in URLs. More than two dynamic parameters in a URL increase the risk that the URL may not be crawled. If not crawled, the search engine would not even index the content on the site.Also, URLs can make great anchor text, if another site is linking to yours and they just use the URL, the search engine will do a better job of knowing what the page is about if you have a descriptive URL.

Alt Tags

Since search engines read text, not images, descriptive tags are the only way to tell them what images are, but these are still essentially for users.Text readers for browsers will also read out these tags to tell the user what is there. Meaningful descriptions certainly sound a lot better than “image 1” etc.

Title Attribute

Just as you can have the alt tag on an image, similarly you can have a title attribute on almost any HTML element – most commonly on a link. It’s normally used to describe the element, or what the link is about. As this is text, it will be read by search engine spiders.

Title Tags

Title tags which appear on the top bar of the browser are used by search engines to determine the content of that page. They are also often used by search engines as the link text on the search engines result page, therefore targeted title tags help to drive clickthrough rates. Title tags should be clear and concise. Title tags are also used when bookmarking a web page.    Meta Tags

Meta tags are where the copywriter can fill in information about a web page. These tags are not normally seen by users. Meta tags were used extensively by search engine spiders in the past, but since so many people used this to try to manipulate search results, they are now less important. Meta data now act to provide content and relevancy rather than higher rankings. SEO is about doing as much as you can perfectly, which is why Meta is still important.Note that if search engine cannot see the text on the webpage, it means that they cannot crawl and index that page.

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