Whether you are aware of it or not, not all websites are search engine friendly… And it’s more prevalent than you think! There are many websites out there that are either outdated, written by code-hoarding designers that haven’t bothered to update their web development skills in the last decade, or just plain missing important search engine friendly code altogether. You might be saying, “Why would this make a website less search engine friendly?” Let me give you general examples of why!

A Decrepit, Jaded & Surly Website

NetscapeSome website owners believe it necessary to neither update the content of their website nor update the design and code. They just let it wither away into web antiquities. Ultimately, in the long run, this is a very bad choice. Websites should be thought of as being alive and needing some attention from time to time. Content should be kept fresh, so loyal visitors aren’t bored by seeing the same old content. Minor design changes are important too from time to time for the same reasons. And if you’re still rocking that website from 2001, chances are it was built with old clunky code that not only slows the website down but hinders how it’s indexed by search engines. In the long run, this can affect your search engine rankings. Plain and simple, neglected websites over time become jaded and surly just like your best friend’s neighbor’s decrepit grandmother who doesn’t bother answering the door for trick-or-treaters on Halloween anymore.

Beware of Underdeveloped Code-Hoarders

Like website owners that are guilty of neglecting their own websites, code-hoarders tend to be guilty of neglecting to update their web knowledge. I mean let’s face it, all web designers/developers know (or at least should) the web is a fast paced ever-changing realm of new and exciting web design features. Yet there are designers/developers out there that refuse to change and evolve. They get stuck, and build websites with unnecessary code-clutter, it bogs down the website so that it doesn’t perform as well as it would than if it were designed by someone who was writing light-weight code that is easily indexed.

So What’s Missing?

W3C Web SemanticsWeb designers should at least have some working knowledge of the semantic web and how to use meta-tags properly. Yet, it is surprising how many websites out there are missing aspects of both. Web semantics are probably the most important; they give your site clean structure that tells search engine robots what content is most important. This takes the guesswork away, so robots can index a site according to salient information. Sure it’s great to have a website that looks great, but if it’s not working for you and gaining you more viewers, then it might as well be pretty paper stuck in a filing cabinet.

Overall it really doesn’t take much to make a website search engine friendly – mostly just a little love and proper code. With a little knowledge and a little less neglect, a website will be well on its way to eventually gaining higher search rankings. Of course, there are other strategies involved with gaining higher search engine ranking, but we’ll save that for a later post.