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We design websites for real people who just happen to use search engines. Hence, it’s important for us to design SEO friendly websites so that they rank well in the search engines.
It’s often the case that web designers, SEO specialists and the everyday web surfer speak entirely different languages. In recognition of this I want to go through 6 easy to understand tips for SEO friendly web design to get a holistic understanding of the relationship between the three.
1 – Easy Readability & Internal Linking
A fundamental principle of web design is the ability of users to read and engage with your website. Simple actions like differentiating clickable links to the body text can assist your audience in navigating their way through links in a way that translates to a better SEO result.
2 – Reduce the Download Time
For every second of load time ‘page abandonment’ increases exponentially. This again indicates to Google a gap between what they were after and your website, impacting your SERP. The reality is that perceived download time is more important than actual. No matter how long it takes, if user’s perceptions are that it’s taking too long say bye bye!
Web design should focus not only on clean fast code but also on keyword validation. Giving the audience a perceived instant validation of their choice to click to the site, removing the actual load time from the equation.
3 – Make Your Code Clean
4 – Content Ready Design
The ‘content is king’ phrase again rears its head. Fresh and keyword relevant content is what continues to drive your effective SEO practices. Web design should support this by having a content ready layout. This means setting up your content, Meta tags and providing a dedicated space in your website design for regular content updates.
A simple way to do this is to setup a blog on your website and write articles on your niche.
5 – Make URL’s SEO friendly
Quite self-explanatory but if a human can read and understand a URL and what is expected on the page so too can a search engine.
Search engines crawl the URL names, content and theme of the website and set ranking priority of websites.
6 – Avoid Frames
Frames can be a great tool for web designers however they may block search engines from being able to read and index your content.
An iFrame page displays multiple URLs for one page as every single iFrame has its own URL. So when Google crawls websites with iFrames, the search engine attempts to associate all the framed content within the parent HTML or the webpage that contains the iFrames.
Though there are options to make these iFrames Google friendly, like getting them indexed in Robots.txt or using the Google Webmaster Tools. But it is advised to avoid them for best SEO results.
There is no quick solution for the optimal SEO and web design mixture. It is a balancing act between optimising your SEO potential without detracting from the aesthetics of the website. The focus should be on usability and user experience. At the end of the day if the users find it hard to use your website, not only will they leave and your SERP will decline, you may lose them forever.