seo website design tips
There are many factors to consider when designing a web site, with search engine optimization being just one of several. It might seem as though designers and copywriters’ creative efforts are at odds with SEO but, in truth, beautiful design and meaningful text can exist harmoniously with effective search engine optimization.
A good designer with an understanding of SEO concepts should be able to solve any design problem without negatively impacting SEO. As part of their role, designers are already considering different kinds of users, multiple web browsers, and a range of screen sizes; copywriters, too, work hard to make sure that the content of your site is the best it can be to all types of users. Adding just one more user a search engine spider is barely stretching them.
Web Site Design Do’s and Don’ts - This is a general list of website design do’s and don’ts. Some of these apply not only to Google but to all search engines in general. Some may be obvious, while others are not. Adhering to this list will not only improve optimization of your site, but will likely make it easier on visitors to your site in the form of reduced download times and better navigation between pages.
- Do use a reliable Web hosting provider. If your site is down while Google visits your site, you may be dropped from their index for a while.
- Do create relevant, timely, and useful content on your site – particularly for your home page. This may be obvious, but often is overlooked in search of the magic bullet or quick fix.
- Do update your content frequently – particularly your home page. Sites that frequently update their content get visited by Google more often. This also gives your visitors a reason to return to your site regularly.
- Do create lots of relevant content and pages on your site. It is better to have 50 short pages than to have 10 long, flowing pages. Make sure each page contains a minimum of 200-250 words.
- Do use your keywords in the page title, headings, the first paragraph, and in link text. These are the main places that Google looks – the title is extra important. It also helps to bold or italicize your keyword once per page.
- Do keep your page size small. Both your customers and Google like smaller pages. They download (and are crawled) faster and are easier to read. For every second it takes your page to load, you lose 10% of your visitors. You have 5 seconds to “hook” your visitor, otherwise they will go elsewhere.
- Do create unique titles and descriptions for each page. Unique titles are a must. Don’t skimp on this.
- Do optimize any PDF and Word files on your site. Google will index these will any other page on your site. If these files contain duplicate content, put them in a separate folder and use the robots.txt file to disallow crawling.
- Do use a shallow site structure. If you can manage it, keep all your web pages in the same folder on your server as your home page.
- Do create a “Related Links” page for adding links to other sites as part of your reciprocal link exchange campaign. Make sure you have some content on this page – don’t just have a list of links.
- Do create a “Link to Us” page that contains link code that can be simply copied (or email this information to link partners). You want your link text to contain your best keywords.
- Do create a stylesheet file and link to it from your pages. This makes pages load (and get crawled) faster.
- Don’t use page redirects on your site. Google has been known to penalize sites that use fast redirects.
- Don’t use "doorway pages" hosted on free servers, or create one-page “minisites” as such pages usually have very low PageRank. Spend time adding new content to your main site instead.
- Don’t repeat your keyword endlessly on a page. Keep your keyword density below 20% or so, otherwise Google may consider this as spam - as might other search engines.
- Don’t use hidden text on your site, such as using white text on a white background. Search engines consider this as spam.
- Don’t use tiny text with extremely small font sizes. Search engines may consider this as spam.
- Don’t use hidden image links on your site. Hidden image links are 1-by-1 pixel sized images inside a <A HREF> link tag.
- Don’t use frames. Although Google can crawl framed sites, they are problematic in other areas. Most sites don’t use frames.
- Don’t use elaborate image maps, gratuitous animations, or Flash on your site if possible - especially on your home page. Google needs to see actual textual content on your pages!
Source: How to Get a Top 10 Ranking