5 Web Design Practices that Also Improve SEO

While many designers and webmasters are quite aware of the importance of incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in their web designing efforts, not all of them are proficient in the ‘how’ of implementing these techniques. It is essential that they do learn to implement at least some of these techniques, as SEO continues to be one of the top concerns for many small business websites. In this post, we will take a look at 5 web design tips that any designer can use to produce an attractive, user-friendly web site with improved SEO benefits.

1. Use Keywords in Your URL

Web designers have to write a url for the website they are creating, so learning to tweak it here and there to take advantage of search engine optimization should not be that much of a challenge. How you use the structure of your url will determine just how much you benefit from search engine optimization. There are several best practices when it comes to working the structure of your url for SEO purposes. One standard rule is to keep it short. The shorter the url, the better it is for your website. Remember that urls under 60 characters give better results.

* It is best to insert keywords into your url, but avoid stuffing. Just as too many keywords for on-page SEO would work against you, the same could happen if you stuff your url with them. Another best practice here is that you do your research and select the most relevant keywords for which you would like to be optimized. Consider using a maximum of five keywords in your url.

* To assist with the length of the url, try to stay away from abbreviations and very short words. Dashes and underscores may add to the length of the url, but play an important role in distinguishing one word from the other. This is important to search engines as they may not be able to interpret your keywords if they are jumbled.

* Another SEO for urls is that you include directories if you have a large website. They are useful for organizing as well as for defining categories and breaking up the content on your webpage. Once again, being excessive may work against you as complexity is not a search engine’s best friend.

* The last point that will be made here on url SEO is that you standardize your url through the canonicalization process. Urls that have content that are too similar can result in SEO penalization for duplicate content. That is because as far as the engine is concerned the content is on two different pages. Take a look at these urls:

www.mysite.com

www.mysite.com/index

www.mysite.com/index.html

www.mysite.com/home

Do they look the same to you? While urls may all seem the same to the human eye, search engines see them differently. You can have the same content on different urls, but you must ensure the url contents are different.

2. Update Meta Tags for SEO

Meta tags are no longer as heavily relied on as they use to be, but the principles still do play a role in SEO. All your indexable pages should have a heading, description, alternate tags and keywords in the head section. Ensure that you use unique meta tags on each page, and they must also be relevant to that particular page. Here is a breakdown of each element.

* Title Tag – Write a keyword-rich title that is relevant to the page. Write it in sentence form starting with keywords, and keep it short by using five to ten words. Search engines copy and use it as a link to your page when it is presented in search results.

* Description Tag – Search engines often use these as the description for sites for search results purposes. Your description can be a little longer with 15-20 words, and start it off with a few strategic keywords. A compelling description that is relevant is best for grabbing qualified traffic.

* Meta Keywords Tag – Use a list of your strategic keyword phrases that are relevant to the page. You can use 744 characters at the most, and it is ok to use commas (optional).

* Heading Tags – These should be placed at the top of your pages once again using your strategic keywords that are relevant to the page.

* Alt Tags – These are also known as image tags because the text that appears when you hang your cursor over an image originates here. Appropriate keywords should be used to describe the image.

3. Optimize the Images on all Pages

Most web designers fail to do this, but your images are actually great for search image optimization. If you have them, why not use them to your advantage. They are good for content and good for SEO. Optimize all the images on each of your web pages, and ensure it is done properly. Here are two things to bear in mind:

* Keyword Rich Image Descriptions (ALT)

Search engines use your image descriptions or ALT tag to decipher the topic on the page, which means it plays an important role in the ranking of your pages. The ALT tag is added to the HTML code and should contain your selected keywords.

* Image Size

Size matters when it comes to optimizing images. Large files will slow down your website and cause longer loading time. Search engines are becoming peculiar about loading times, so it is best to reduce the size of your image file.

4. Make Use of Spider Analysis

Keep track of the spider activity on your page with Spider Analysis. You are supplied with a record indicating the activity of search spiders when they enter your website to index pages. Information will include the date, the search engine(s), and the pages that were spidered. You will then know which pages are more relevant and which you will need to do some optimizing work on. Another benefit is that it can also identify and eliminate any harmful spiders such as email-harvesting robots.

5. Dedicate Pages for Each Keyword

Try to avoid using all your keywords on one page such as your service page. Opt instead to use two keywords per page to increase your ranking. This also makes it easier for you, so you work on a page per keyword rather than having to attend to multiple keywords per page.

Multiple keywords on one page can dilute your efforts and affect your chances of ranking for those keywords.

No website can survive without SEO, and while there are continuous changes in this area, web designers must be able to produce websites that are optimized. There are many SEO techniques that can be used, but especially for those who are not SEO savvy, it is best that you learn a few techniques that will help position and index your website on major search engines. There is no need to overwhelm yourself with all the SEO techniques as they keep changing anyways.

Author bio: Charles Dearing has been extensively involved with webhosting and SEO best practices. He enjoys sharing his insights on various search engine blogs. Visit the WhoIsHostingThis.com review service to see what people are saying about the most popular webhosts.

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