I am seeing a large number of new websites here in Vietnam, including my own, talking about SEO, aka search engine optimization. Many are offering services to help your optimize your website. Be weary of these sites, you can learn how to ‘optimize’ your website yourself.
The key is not to build a SEO website, instead, change your terminology. The important key here is to build an ‘accessible’ website that meets ‘web standards’. If you can build an accessible website that validates XHTML and CSS (hence meeting web standards), guess what, you will have a so-called SEO website.
To validate as XHTML, you will have to follow certain guidelines that abided by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In short, some of the things the W3C requires for XHTML is that you add alt and title elements to your images and hyperlinks tags. You should also add abbr and acronym elements for abbreviations and acronyms, respectfully. By adding the alt elements to images, you are helping make your website more accessbile to ALL internet surfers including those with hearing and visual disabilities. If you have time, you try adding the longdesc element to which contains a full description of images.
These are actually the ‘keywords’ you here SEO pundits talk about it all the time. I know what I am talking about too. My websites tend to do very well in Google, MSN and Yahoo. I never hired anyone or used any software to get my websites ranked so well. I just design my websites to be more accessible by abiding with XHTML and CSS W3C guidelines.
SaigonNezumi.com was not validating as XHTML with my new template until I fix some mistakes in the code. My Amerasian Foundation website has been in the top spot on Google for nearly 5 years now. The original website validated as XHTML 1.1, now it is running on WordPress but still validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
If you need help making your website more accessible, read this book online by Joe Clark:
If you want to learn more how to develop a website that meets current web standards, I recommend the following resources by Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer:
After I move into my new house/office in a couple months, I plan to spend more time working designing more accessible websites. WordPress makes it easy for the new guys but I really want to see if I can design a nice site with Django.
In the meantime, if you really want to spend money trying to figure out how to ‘optimize’ your website, give me a call. You can waste your money on buying me a cafe sua da for advice 🙂