Website Optimization Details: Being Search Engine Friendly

Scoring High in Search Engine Results

Getting a Website to Search Engine Friendly

To make your website search engine friendly means the website is developed to conform to the guidelines set out by the leading search engines, Google and Bing. These guidelines allow the ‘bots (website scanning code) to quickly and easily understand the nature of your website, the content on each of its pages, and to provide the search engine’s algorithms with the necessary information to rate the authoritativeness and value of your content for the search engine’s users.

To be search engine friendly, a website must:

  1. Be well constructed, with proper use of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, including:
    1. Unique page titles, single H1 header per page, and content organized in order of importance with other H headers (see Details: content architecture)
    2. Use server-side includes for headers, footers and menus to avoid mistakes (note: don't include page titles, meta description and keyword tags in included files, as these should all be page-specific)
    3. Use header tags, unordered lists and numbered lists to organize text, rather than older table layouts
  2. No 'orphan pages' with important content that can't be found by a search engine 'bot following your navigation structure
  3. Link your and names together, with 301 redirects or canonical tags
  4. Build an XML sitemap or have one created for your site
  5. Don't have important elements such as CSS and JavaScript files in folders hidden from the ‘bots by your robots.txt file, which may happen with sites created through content management systems, WordPress, Drupal and similar software
  6. Use relevant keywords in URLs, page titles, header tags (h1, h2, h3, etc), meta tags and within the text on each page
  7. Don't hide important information and keywords in images without proper alt tags, as search engine ‘bots can’t ‘see’ images
  8. Be fast - we cover page speed in another section (see Details: page speed), due to its importance to visitors, but Google and Bing prefer pages that download quickly
  9. Don't have important content within Flash files, as the ‘bots cannot read them
  10. Provide transcriptions of video and audio files, if the content should be indexed by the search engines
  11. Avoid duplicating content across multiple pages (although making individual pages no-index, nofollow and/or using canonical tags can avoid this problem)
  12. Be sure that important content is not linked from within Flash and JavaScript
  13. Avoid providing links in frames and iFrames (we suggest you avoid frames and iFrames completely)

We realize that for most small business website owners, the preceding is outside their expertise. That is why we offer review and monitoring programs at reasonable prices that most small businesses can afford. See our Services page.

Test or Have Your Site Tested Regularly

Depending on the time/money availability, test or have your site tested periodically to ensure that any changes have not damaged the search engine friendliness of your website. While we strongly recommend leaving testing and repairs to experts, you can test for errors through:

Have Your Site Monitored and Validated Regularly

Your site should be validated after every update, to ensure updates have not reduced the site's search engine friendliness. Your site should be constantly monitored so that any security issues are dealt with promptly (see Details: Website Security) and keep your site from being delisted by Google and Bing. You should also have continuous monitoring to protect your content against scraping and plagiarism and take action to prevent illegal ongoing use of your content (call us at 817.500.4501 to discuss your needs and receive a quote).


Google, "How Search Works",

Moz, "The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design and Development",

SearchEngineLand, "Twelve Simple Ways to Write Search-Friendly HTML Code" 5/30/08,

UsabilityGeek, "10 Guidelines for Writing Usable and SEO Friendly Content" 1/2/12,

Last updated: May, 2017