How to Use Web Design to Help with SEO

As a web designer you should be thinking about how you can best optimize your website design to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) performance. Lots of people think that SEO is down to Meta tags and keywords, but in fact there are lots of aspects that you should consider – a handful of which I’m going to discuss in this article.

Use clean HTML only

One aspect of SEO that people often forget about is having HTML code which actually works and has a purpose. If you have already defined bold text using your CSS style sheet, don’t use a <b> tag as well – it’s redundant and shows that you are not at the top of your game.

Keep URLs as short as possible

While sub-categorizing your content is great for when you are trying to locate pages to edit them, it can be bad for your search engine ranking. If your website is website.com/main/items/discounted/list_page.html, you will find that your ranking is not as high as it could be. Try to limit your page names to containing only keywords which are relevant to the page, and keep folders to a minimum.

Limit your use of JavaScript

The search engine spiders which index your website struggle to read JavaScript – they are designed for pure HTML, and so often discard any JavaScript portions of your website. If you are going to write content, use pure HTML; if you use JavaScript to display the text it is unlikely to be indexed as efficiently as if it were HTML.

Remove IFrames

Although they were great 5 years ago, IFrames are now outdated and can have a negative effect on your SEO. Use other HTML, CSS or JavaScript methods of showing different parts of your website on the same page. If you’re going for an auto-refreshed page, you can use JQuery much more effectively than you can an IFrame. Using IFrames shows that you have outdated code which isn’t going to do your SEO any favors.

Always have a sitemap

Once you have finished your website make sure that you create a sitemap which lists every single page you have. This way search engines can use it to decide which pages they need to crawl.

Use the correct spellings

Make sure that your spellings are correct throughout your website. You might think it doesn’t matter if the alt tags on your images contained misspelled words, but that isn’t the case: you need to have every single word on your website spelt correctly. If your website is about restaurant reviews, and you misspell restaurant, you will indicate to the spider that you are not a professional website and thus your ranking will decline.

Google and other search engines want to know that they are listing websites on the first few pages of their results that have good spelling and grammar. After all, it’s the quality of those first few results pages that reflects Google – they don’t want to rank your website if you haven’t taken the time to proof-read your content.

Limit the file size of each web page

Slow websites are a huge turnoff for search engines, and so if you have huge file size pages (more than 100KB) you may find that you are stuck at the bottom of the results pile. Your pages should take no more than a couple of seconds to load – an instant load time is much better, but not all servers can cope with that sort of load time. Think about removing large images, and make sure that your video and image files are always saved in the lowest-resolution file type to minimize loading time.

Use DIVs, not tables

There was once a time when using tables to organize your website layout was common practice, but nowadays it’s frowned upon. You should use fluid DIVs combined with CSS techniques to form your website layout – tables should be reserved for tabular data only. The reason for this is that they take much longer to render and so will slow down the spiders that are indexing your site.

Have high-quality content

Your content should always be of the highest quality possible. If you have content which could have been written by an elementary school child, Google will penalize you justly. Your content should have a good balance of organic keywords (i.e. keywords which appear naturally in the flow of the text, and weren’t added-in as an afterthought) and use correct grammar for Google to rank you.

Remove any Flash elements

Search engine spiders avoid Flash in the same way that they avoid reading JavaScript. If your website uses Flash you will find that your ranking is reduced because the spider can’t easily read the content on your website. It is true that the Flash developers are finding new ways to make Flash more spider-friendly, but it’s still better to use CSS and HTML to form similar effects without using Flash.

Duan Lingxin

Duan Lingxin

Content crafter and chief editor at Scratching Info. Also regular contributor on other major online tech platforms. Security Specialist by day and a writer by night, he does his best to instill his knowledge about tech while delivering inspiring and life changing resources through his writing,

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