Since I published my post on why you should use iWeb for building and running a business related iWeb site I have received several e-mails from people telling me how wrong I am and how poor iWeb is for SEO. This shocked me a little so I did a bit of investigation.
When I first started using iWeb this time last year I would have probably agreed with you, but 12 month on I am writing this post to say ‘No, iWeb does do SEO
And my basis for this argument is that over the years that I have been tinkering with web design I have used many of the popular applications available to a web designer. I admit I started with (ahem) MS Word but that was back in 1997 when the Internet was still in its infancy. I went on to (ahem once again) MS Frontpage as well as Dreamweaver in various versions. I had a play with a trial of Adobe’s Go Live as well as MS Sharepoint Designer and MS Expression Web. When I was playing about with the idea of All About iWeb I tried Blogger and TypePad before settling on WordPress.
I even run an intranet site at work now which I hand code in Notepad because our computer system is so archaic and security is really tied down.
According to Google’s Search Engine Starters Optimization Guide there is a short list of things you need to concentrate on to get your site appearing higher in Google. They are:
- Well written page title tags.
- Well written description tags.
- Good URL structure.
- Easy navigation.
- A sitemap.
- Quality content.
- Proper use of anchor text.
- Proper use of the header tags.
- Proper naming convention for images.
And that’s it. But bear in mind that this list applies to all web designers not just iWeb users. The reason I feel the majority of iWeb users think that iWeb is not very SEO friendly is through lack of education.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not calling iWeb users stupid , far from it (I use iWeb too!!) it’s just that iWeb is not aimed at professional web designers as a rule. Instead it is aimed at someone who may be venturing in to the world of web design for the first time, or just someone who wants to share the family photos on line with a few friends and neighbors. If that is you then why would you want to be interested in SEO?
It stands to reason that as the number of Mac users has increased then so have the number of iWeb users. This brings with it an increasing number of people venturing on to the Internet and finding how easy it is to design and set up a web-site for the first time. In turn these users want to take their iWeb sites a step or 2 further and look to increase their SEO skills; but wait! How do they do it in iWeb? There is no drag n drop solution like there is for a photo page or a blog.
That’s where software manufacturers like Rage or web sites this one come in. Looking at the list above from Google let’s go through the list and compare iWeb with some of the more popular methods of web design I mentioned above.
Well written page title tags – These are taken either from the file/page name directly or can be added to the code by hand; in iWeb it is the same; taken from the name you give to your page or you can use Rage
Well written description tags – As above, these have to manually added in the code or there is a built in ‘form’ which will add them directly to the head section of the page. In iWeb you have to add via the.
Good URL Structure – This depends entirely on how you name your pages and the folders those pages go into, but they should be relevant to the page’s content. The same applies to iWeb; make the page names relevant.
Easy navigation – Navigation has to be built manually or using a menu builder application (sometimes built into the web design application). iWeb has the default nav-bar but it’s not that good for SEO so design your own navigation in iWeb using a text-box and shapes.
A sitemap – Everybody with any sense in web design goes to the SEO experts and uses the Google Webmaster Tools to build their sitemap. Have you got an account?
Quality content – This is the key to good SEO placement and everybody is in the same boat no matter what web design application you use. If your content is full of keywords that are applicable to your site you will climb the search engines.
Proper use of anchor text – Once again everybody is in the same boat. Stop using the ‘click here’ at the end of a sentence phrase to link to other posts or pages; make the anchor text describe where the link is going.
Proper use of header tags – As I mentioned in my post earlier this month use the header tags to bring attention to your content but don’t go overboard. Not everything on your page is h1.
Proper naming convention for images – This also applies to every web designer, give your images and photos relevant (perhaps even keyword rich) titles. How many times have you uploaded ‘IMG194628.jpg’? That does you no good at all. Give your images names that describe it.
So you can see from that explanation, we all start from the same blank canvas when it comes to SEO. You get out of it what you put it in to it and as long as you do the work (as any other web designer would) there is no reason why you can’t have a high ranking iWeb site.
Are you happy with your iWeb site’s SEO? What have you done to improve it? Leave a comment and let us know.