I had a conversation today with a guy about search engine friendly "stuff" and it made me want to post again about the importance of using a search engine friendly: CMS, design, Shopping Cart, Back End, Navigation (breadcrumbs) etc.
The problem this guy was having (besides no Google love, which is why he was talking to me) is that just about everything to do with his site was about as unfriendly to search engines as possible. There was hardly any navigation, no meta info, no title tags, unfriendly URL's and a hard cart to navigate.
He probably had over 3000 pages on this site, but only 3 were showing up on Google and two of them were supplemental results (and none of them were his homepage). He mentioned to me his site use to have a PR5 and in the last week dropped to a Zero (probably because of the recent update going on). Google is getting better with the way they crawl sites and want them to be as perfect as possible and this could be some reasons for the "spank".
Areas of improvement:
- Title tags on all pages (as many as possible, realizing that some pages inside a shopping cart will just not allow)
- Meta Descriptions (not a huge factor anymore, but leaving out could be another strike against you that you don't need)
- Meta Keywords (again, you don't want another strike for not having them)
- Breadcrumbs (Navigation) - Try to have a couple forms of navigation. Good for the crawlers and even better for visitors!
- Search Engine Friendly URL's
- Naming convention of pictures - make sure your builder will let you assign "alt tags" to your images.
- Naming files - If you have files to download etc. make sure that you name them with keywords associated to the page.
- Code - Clean up code, and if you are using a builder that generates "unfriendly code" then "drop it like its hot"!
- Site Maps - Implement an html site map, as well as a Google site map. Again if you do not have access to the "FTP" with your current builder it is not "search engine friendly" and you need to drop it!
Even just starting with these few bullet points, and doing everything you can to get Google know that you are making improvements will benefit your site tremendously! Just remember to look for "search engine friendly" info when finding designers, builders, shopping carts or anything else related to your site.