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Building A New Website In PHP

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New website owners and existing website owners alike consistently make a very common, yet extremely costly mistake.

They find a web designer first and then an SEO second. Unfortunately, these entrepreneurs do not realize that literally every single thing that goes into building a new website will impact your SEO campaign. They commonly funnel thousands of dollars into a brand new website, only to find out that there are a lot of areas that must be rebuilt in order to have an optimum SEO campaign.

I will identify 6 major areas of concern, in hopes that even a small percentage of these website owners will come across this document at the right time, which is BEFORE they begin to develop their website.

1) Domain name registration & hosting. Make sure that when you register your website’s address that you register it for at least 5 years. Sites that register their site for a short amount of time send up a red flag at Google, who end up thinking that site site has been registered short-term in the hopes of helping another website, that is owned by the same person/company, to rank well by linking to it. When choosing your domain name, do not choose a URL that is riddled with hyphens between all your keywords. It is more important that you target this to your visitors than to the search engines.

2) Creating static URL’s. This is one of the most overlooked yet important things that you can do to ensure that your SEO campaign is a success. By eliminating dynamic parameters within your website’s URLs, you are ensuring that search engine bots will have no problems indexing all of your pages. Creating static URL’s can be accomplished by using the mod rewrite command in the .htaccess file in the root folder of your server. Here is an example of a dynamic URL (which you want to avoid), and a static URL (which you want):

Dynamic: http://www.yoursite.com/listings.php?ref=22
Static: http://www.yoursite.com/listings/22.html

Make sure that any potential programmer or designer that you hire understands that this will be a full requirement of the job.

3) Editing the head tag. There are three areas in the head tag that you will want to be able to either edit yourself or have your SEO edit. They are the page title, the description meta tag and the keywords meta tag. Having control over these for each of your top level pages (all the pages linked to from your home page), will be critical to your websites success in the search engines. You definitely do not want these to be the same on every page (they must be unique and reflect the nature of the content on the given page). For other pages that will be created in high volumes, you will want to make sure that there is a variable string (your web designer/programmer will understand what this is) in place for each of the three areas in question, so that they will automatically be filled with content that is the right length and reflects the content on the given page.

Again, make sure that your designer/programmer understands that this is a requirement of the job.

4) Clean, simple code. Ideally you want to define all aesthetic properties that different types of text on your site are going to have in a separate CSS file. This means that you want to avoid using as many tags as possible, especially font, size and color tags. You also want to avoid creating PHP scripts that are either two long, and contain a lot of unnecessary steps, or ones that rely heavily on javascript. It is best to avoid using javascript as much as possible.

Remember, the most important thing your site can be doing is making it easy for search engine bots to easy scroll through the code of your website and follow all the links that it finds. When there is unnecessary code and script on your site, it makes it a lot harder for them, thus hurting your SEO campaign.

Make sure that whoever is helping you build your site understands that there job is to output the cleanest, simplest code possible. If you have any questions about this or don’t understand it, it is best to talk to an SEO expert about it, to ensure that it is done properly.

5) Ensuring that visible written content is editable. The writing within the body of your site is one of the most important areas for you or your Optimizer to help your site increase it’s rankings. Ensuring that either of you can edit it at your own convenience is extremely critical to the entire SEO campaign. This because from time to time search engine algorithms will change, and that might mean that a strategy that was implemented in the past might not suffice, so you must be able to change it to keep up with the most up to date SEO techniques.

6) Site structure. Considering the nature of PHP, your site will most likely (and should) be created by a series of includes that puts all of the pieces of a given page together. You want to ensure that the layout and placement of graphics and navigational links within these includes is strategically correct. Remember, you don’t want to have to pay someone to go back and redo this, so it is critical to get it right the first time.

If you are unfamiliar with a lot of the information that I presented in this article, it is probably in your best interest to at the very least, consult with an SEO or SEO company during the entire design process. A good SEO will be very comfortable working with you and your design team to ensure that the end product will be one that will last you a long time, and will go a long way in helping your site generate revenue online.

Bobby Heard is the Vice-President of Abalone Designs (www.abalone.ca), which offers Search Engine Optimization at affordable prices.

Building A New Website In PHP
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