So you’ve created a website or you’re redesigning it and you want to make sure you have a SEO friendly web design (SEO = Search Engine Optimization)? Great idea! A good web design is not only one that looks good but also one that is easy to navigate, loads fast, helps sell, and is easy to be found (SEO).
Designing a website starts with an idea, which turns into planning, which turns into the actual implementation. This may seem like a fairly simple endeavor, I mean there’s only 3 steps, right? Well, if it was that simple, everyone would have a really successful website. The key part to this is the planning to make sure all aspects of your site work together and not against each other. Just know that no matter what your topic or message is, there are many ways to bring in more traffic by using a few SEO friendly website design tips.
What Do Users Want?
When someone visits a particular website, they tend to have some basic expectations. These of course vary depending on the person, so we’re talking in a general sense about what is to be expected when one chooses to visit a particular website.
- The site should appear within a particular amount of time: 5 seconds or less.
- The site should be easy to navigate, so users can find what they are looking for.
- The site shouldn’t be overwhelming with lots of links and too much information and gadgets.
SEO Friendly Web Design Tips
- Avoid using Flash. Flash can not only cause the webpage to load slow, the text that appears in Flash images is not readable by search engines.
- Don’t Use Images for Text. Although adding some visually appealing fonts may sound like a great idea, know that many times this text was created. This means the text is not readable by search engines and doesn’t contribute to the optimization of your site. Solution? Visit Google Web Fonts, which is a new font directory offered by Google that allows you to use their collection of open source (readable!) fonts for free. These include very unique fonts that were previously only available using code or images.
- Site Speed. How fast a site loads is becoming more and more important these days, and directly influences just how long your visitors are willing to wait. Not only is this important to users but Google has also announced that it contributes to the ranking (or lack of ranking) of your website. Know that you have about eight seconds before your visitor decides they can’t wait anymore. Good web design will have it loading in less than 5 seconds.
- Keyword Placement. This is how you will be informing Google on what your website/page is all about. Inserting the keywords correctly is very important, with an emphasis on the following places: Title tag, Meta description, Website slogans, Navigation, Breadcrumb trails, H1, H2 and H3 tags, Bullet points, Alt text, Title attribute on links, the main website copy, Internal, links, Footer links, URL’s, File / folder names. Warning-be sure not to overdo it! Keyword stuffing is easily detectable by Google and more importantly your users.
- Social Media. Due to this fairly recent movement, social media can now play a large part of making your website SEO friendly. Be sure to present your website (company) as one that is available by providing the appropriate social networking buttons, i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. so that users are able to easily contact you, if necessary. Having mentions on social media sites can be seen as a positive factor when Google is deciding on your websites ranking.
There are a lot of aspects that go into making a website SEO friendly and successful implementation of those activities is key. The tips above should help you to at least get started.