Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 Tips For Designing an SEO Friendly Website


It’s not enough these days to design a beautiful, functional website that addresses your clients needs. If you truly want your client to reap the benefits of having an online presence, then SEO is a necessity. Search Engine Optimization is a method of improving the visibility of a website in search engines through organic search results, and is now a viable online marketing tool for a lot of businesses.
Through the following design practices you can improve a website’s SEO and ultimately their visibility. With these foundations in place, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing the website you spent hours designing (and developing) is now a top contender for search engine visibility. You may also find some of these tactics also go far in improving user experience as well.
6 Tips For Designing an SEO Friendly Website

Keywords

Keywords are an important part of any search engine optimization campaign. If you’re using the wrong keywords, search engines and your target market may never find you. It’s important when starting a website to first establish what the business objectives are. Do you want to target a local area, national or global? With this plan in place you can then build pages that target these specific keywords, or decide where these pages may go down the line once the foundation is built.
The process of creating
1. Create a list of potential keywords (i.e. words that are relevant but not overly used)
2. Input your proposed keywords into a keyword research tool (i.e. Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Wordstream, etc)
3. Finalize your keyword list based on research (Create a list of both broad and targeted keywords)
4. Prepare them for launch (typically go after 3-4 related keywords per page)

Keyword Placement

For a website to successfully integrate into Google you first must tell us what a particular page is about. It’s important to get keywords on the right position on the page, but don’t overdo it. Here are the best places:
  • Title tag
  • Meta description and keywords
  • 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

Search Engine Friendly Navigation

Having Search Engine Friendly Navigation basically means creating a structure that search engines can follow. A major culprit in search engines not being able to find a website is due to the links being images instead of text. So make sure you address this and all links and buttons are text-based. CSS3 can achieve the same effects that Photoshop can, which has contributed a lot in terms of modernizing the web and speeding up load times. Wherever possible, try to avoid the use of JavaScript, as search engines find it difficult to understand and may result in crawling issues. With the push towards mobile devices supporting the web, using advanced scripting languages on your website won’t fly so well, either.

URL’s and Filenames

Having an SEO-friendly URL means search engines can quickly identify what a page is about. It’s also a good tactic to include keywords in the URL as this increases Search Engine visibility.
An example of a not too friendly URL:
http://www.websitestore.com/products/item1?=20193
A better, more descriptive URL would be:
http://www.websitestore.com/home/furniture/ottomans
As you can see, the second option has a better selection of rich keywords, which will help the search engine in their efforts to index you.
It’s also a good habit to name your images using descriptive keywords. An appropriate file name can be the difference between your image appearing in Google images searches or not. For instance the name “1234.jpg” isn’t going to be as successful as “midcentury-furniture.jpg” when someone is looking for design inspiration.

Website Images

  • Images are often an overlooked aspect of SEO, but play just as an important role in the process.
  • You need to optimize your images to achieve faster loading times and subsequent search engine visibility.
  • Try to keep your images’ file size as small as possible so mobile visitors in addition to those with slow internet connections can get the same intended, fast experience.
  • An optimal image size is anywhere from 30-100kb and the best resolution is 72dpi.
  • You can also set the image size as part of the corresponding tag for the image.
  • It’s best to place your images on context in the page. The more relevant the text around your image, the better results you’ll get for rankings.
  • Place your images inside a folder named “images” or something similar so the final URL of the image looks something like this: /images/image.jpg.
Perfect Website Optimization explains how to incorporate keywords into your alt tag.

Social Media

Social Media should be part of your SEO strategy as building relationships and interacting with connections can help build your brand enormously. Not only that but it gives you exposure and helps build a trusted community and gain credibility.
Link building is perhaps the number one reason to jump on board the Social Media bandwagon: the process of visitors sharing links within their own network can result in a large number of inbound links. In summary, social media can provide an organization with an affordable channel that accomplishes results.
Get started by joining:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg

Additional Resources

This guide by Google is a very helpful guide in learning about SEO.
Monitor where you stand with Google Toolbar and Alexa.

Conclusion

These are a few important ways to ensure your website reaches visibility in search engines. Although there are methods in place claiming you can reach the top spot in Google overnight, nothing is as effective as first having a solid foundation for a website in place first – the rest will fall into place. Of course, nothing can help you sell yourself as much as having a trusted, reliable product or service to begin with but with these measures ensure your online presence is seen. Take inventory of your web marketing goals and use the tools that are most appropriate to achieve the results you’re looking for.

1 comment:

  1. 6 tips for designing see friendly sites has been described very well by you. The information is relevant and useful
    Web Designer

    ReplyDelete