Thursday, July 27, 2017

SEO and Website Design

Filed under SEO, Training

SEO is Not Contrary to Good Design

First let me get this off my chest – an SEO friendly site does not mean that the site is not user friendly or that it sacrifices good design. And vice-versa, a well designed and user friendly site can still be extremely SEO friendly. I often hear people say, well if I design a site to be SEO friendly then that will hurt the design and the readability. I’m tired of hearing from so called experts who are saying Google is now really emphasizing user friendly sites. And that’s like someone flipped a light switch. That’s pure ignorance. That’s what we always want, not just now but for the last 15 years. One of the primary goals of SEO is to achieve better rankings, which in turn, will help bring traffic to your site. The last thing any legit SEO expert wants to do is turn potential traffic away by giving the end user a poor experience.

Good SEO can actually help in website design by simply laying a logical path and informational organization. You want your visitor to be able to flow into and throughout the various parts of your site. You want to make it easy for them to find the information that they came to find, which could be something as simple as your phone number or map to your place of business or it could be the latest article you wrote on how to cure cancer. A good website is very user friendly. Good SEO can make it more so.

Website Layout

The information architecture or organization and layout of a website’s information can have an impact on search engine ranking. For SEO purposes, each page of a website should be optimized for the topic so that search engines can easily find and index the website’s content appropriately. As search engines have become more sophisticated, gone are the days when you need to have a site and a given web page stuffed with your keyword to the detriment of readability. Now 1%-2% keyword density is more than enough. Most visitors come to your website looking for a solution, whether it be information or a product. Now they may have come via a referral from a link, an ad or through search where your keyword showed up in their search term. So the first thing you want to do is have the keyword in title of your page that brought them to your site. Having a good meta description that shows up in the search snippet with the keyword they’re looking for reinforces and gives them some assurance that, “yep, I ‘m in the right place”.

Now once they hit upon your site, your job is to keep them there until they find what they came seeking. You want to make this process as easy as possible. So as you can see, two basic tenaments of good seo, has already had a positive effect. Not only has the searcher found what they needed to find, but based on your description, they’re anticipating getting to the content they’re looking for. So at this point in time, they’re feeling pretty good.

There are basically two sets of navigation in good website design. The site navigation and also the actual on page navigation. The searcher clicks on your link and opens your page. First they should be able to tell where on your site they are. The second is your page should have the information laid out in some logical order with appropriate headings so that the reader can quickly glance at the page and see that sure enough, it seems to have relevant content to what they were looking for. Think of it as having an outline for your site and then an outline for your page. That’s where the H2, H3 and other headings come into play. These don’t need to have your primary kw in them, but a related topic heading to your main kw is good.  So good seo has helped deliver something to the reader. These same guideposts also work in your favor when your site is being crawled by the search engines.

Now we have our searcher on our site, our next job is to deliver the content and then some. So obviously we need to have pertinent content. But having optimised related photos, quotes, videos, and infographics can go a long way towards making the users experience better and also help you seo wise. This also keeps your reader on your page longer which is a big plus. Having a few links on your page linking to either, other relevant content on your site, or related content on another site, as the link just above does, helps the user find more pertinent information Using a related posts plugin or other type links between your various pages is helpful not only to the user but also for your seo.

High search ranking and user-friendliness are both necessary in a successful Web strategy. The goals are to gain visitor traffic, to build trust by effectively providing the information and answers to visitors, and to encourage those visitors to contact you.

Website Home Page

Since the home page is the most common page seen by visitors to a website, it’s important that this page is well optimized and correctly organized to encourage both visitors and search engines to read deeper into the site’s “internal” pages. Think of your homepage as the gateway to your site. The home page is a good place to optimize for more general, competitive terms in a keyword list, as it typically carries more weight with the search engines. It is also important to list the business’ main services on this page, creating links to inner pages where the visitor can find more detailed information about these services. The home page should be fairly informative, telling the visitor a little about the business, the company’s professional background, and some of the services offered.

The home page content should contain an overview of the site as a whole to let visitors know what they can find on the inner pages. However, the home page should not be overloaded with graphics, flash, or video that slows the loading of the page. Javascript and style sheets should be placed in external files. A splash page should not be used, as most users will skip it and it could prevent search engine spiders from crawling other web pages within the site.

You want to set up your site so that authority spreads from your home page to your inner pages. In certain instances, you may not even want or need a blog. There is some debate about whether it is even better to have a completely separate blog under a different url, though I generally favor having it all on one site. You want your home page to focus more on your long term, or call them your ‘ultimate dream keywords’. Then you can create additional pages with a tighter focus and perhaps even more layers for specific niche keywords.

All of these seo tactics and structure should help foster viewer trust and friendliness while allowing plenty of latitude for any web designer to create an attractive site. Get someone knowledgeable in seo to be part of your team during the creation of your site, since few web designers have much more than a rudimentary knowledge of seo principles. Hopefully you’ve seen that good seo and website design can go hand-in-hand.


One Response to “SEO and Website Design”
  1. Val Aldous says:

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