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To get your site cataloged as high as possible on the search engines, you want your site to be optimized. Spiders like clean sites to catalog. The don’t respond well to coding errors, poorly written copy, missing meta tags and Flash driven design.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of removing as many of these roadblocks as possible so spiders can accurately catalog your site and improve your rankings.

Following are some of the issues that should be addressed when you optimize your site for search engines:

1. Design problems – To maximize your chances of getting cataloged properly, try to avoid the use of frames (several web pages combined to make one), Flash (while they may contain text, spiders can’t read it) or lots of JavaScript in navigation (this is the language that makes buttons change when you move a mouse over them). There are a multitude of smaller issues in design that affect SEO but these are the primary ones.

2. Keywords – Integrating keywords into your copy is essential to a good placement. When writing the copy, think in terms of words your visitor will use to find you. For example, if you are selling “gift baskets”, don’t just use those two words in your copy. Add specifics such as “baby shower gift baskets”, “wedding gifts” and other more descriptive terms. Get into the mind of the visitor and try to use the words they would use to find your site. This will help you get your site into the right search engine results. If you’re too general, your site runs the risk of being ranked farther down as it is competing with too many other sites that are using the same keywords. More on this in a minute!

3. Title tag – When designing your site, don’t overlook the Title for each page. This is the description that appears on the top of the browser window and lets visitors know where they are. Don’t just put “Welcome to XXX” up there. Use it to market your services. 50 to 80 characters are optimal. Use it to create a great marketing message that describes your business, services and products. Play with the possibilities. Create different titles for each page on your site. Don’t just use the same one over and over again. Place the keywords at the beginning of the title tag since some search engines may only show half the characters in the results.

4. Content – As they say, content is king on the Internet. Not only do visitors like well-written copy on a site, but search engines do too. They read the site in much the same way as a human being; only they are looking for keyword phrases. Fill your site with as much useful content as possible. Add in tutorials, how-to articles, and other information you can incorporate keywords into.