When it comes to optimizing your site for search and the search engines, it's important not to overcomplicate your design and technical approach with things such as Flash, Java, frames and dynamically built Web sites.

Here are 11 tips for design that works:

The title tag is critical

The title tag is the single most important piece of content for people who search.

  1. Keep it short: Don't have more than 60 characters (with spaces), which is roughly 8-10 words.

  2. Lead with the most important "careword" for that particular page. Always start off with what is specific about the page and move to what is general. Many Web sites begin their title with their brand or organization name, and then follow with what is unique about the page. (This is a very common mistake, so check out your own site.)

The description tag is recommended

The description tag is not nearly as important as the title. However, it does have some value. Write it as a summary and keep it under 30 words. It should be written in a compelling, clear manner.

Light pages and lean, quality HTML

The less HTML code you have, the better, as it makes it easier and faster for the search engine to index your page. Aim for a total page weight of 50 KB for any page (that's including graphics). Certainly, anything over 100 KB is going to be slow, and some search engines don't like pages that are over 100 KB.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern (gerry@gerrymcgovern.com) is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.