Design A Spider Friendly Site!

by Matt Colyer

To be successful in the search engines it's important to design your web site with the spiders in mind. Using the latest in web page design is not generally the best way to go. Spiders don't view web pages like humans do, they must read the HTML in the page to see what it's about. Below you will find tips on how to best design your web site with search engines in mind.

Do not use frames at all. Some search engines cannot spider web pages with frames at all. For the other search engines that can, they can have problems spidering it and sometimes they too can't index the web page. Do not only use image's to link out. You should always use text links to link out to important content on your web site. Spiders can follow image links, but like text links more though.

Use external JavaScript files instead of using Java Script code in the HTML document, using Java Script in the HTML document will make the page size much larger. Using an external Java Script file to do the job will reduce page size and make it easier for both spiders and browsers to download the page. Using Cascading Style Sheets can reduce page size and making the download time much faster in most cases. It will allow the spider to index your web page faster and can help your ranking.

Avoid using web page creators such as FrontPage, Dreamweaver or a WYSIWYG editor. Software such as that will often times add scripting code that is not needed, making the page larger than it needed to be and making it harder to crawl. It will also add code that can't be read by the search engines, causing the spider not to index the page or not index the whole web page. It is better to use standard HTML. Adding code that they can't read or have a hard time to read can lead to major problems with your ranking.

Try not to use Flash when possible. Flash cannot be read by the search engines to date and will cause download time to slow a bit. If you do decide to use Flash anyway, make sure you add text to the web page, so the search engines have something to read and find out what your web page is about. It will also allow your visitors to have something to read while the Flash file loads. Also don't use Flash as a way of navigation, as I said before spiders cannot read Flash.

It's important to add a site map to your web site. Not only will this make it easier for internet surfers to get around your web site, but it will also allow spiders to find your site's content easier and index your web page sooner. The site map should contain text links and not image links.

I highly suggest that you look at your web page with a Lynx browser because this is similar to how search engines will view your web page. There are other tools on the internet that will allow you to view your web page without a Lynx browser, but see a web page just like it, so you may want to check those out as well.

About the Author: Matt Colyer is the owner of He also is a php, CGI and ASP developer.


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