5 Tips for SEO Friendly Web Design

  • HTML 5 and its Impact on SEO

HTML5 will help the way search engines crawl websites. Instead of using the old <div> or <span> tags, they will be replaced by <article>, <nav>, <header>, <footer>, <audio>, <video> and so on. This will be a lot easier for the search engine bots to understand the classification of content and how it is sorted on the site.

I would not recommend redesigning an entire site to be HTML 5 compliant but is definitely something new websites should be looking to implement. I do not foresee that HTML 5 websites will get higher rankings but where most of the value will be assigned, in my opinion, is the speed at which new sites, articles and pages will be indexed and crawled by the search engines.

  • Flash Hacks

If your website is one that will rely heavily on organic traffic and high rankings for competitive keywords, I would not recommend a site be built using Adobe Flash. Flash is primarily made of images, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this article, and cannot be indexed by search engines. Although Google and Adobe have taken steps in trying to make them compatible with one another, it is still highly recommended to stay away from Flash when rankings are your priority.

If flash is a necessity, the best thing to do would be to have a readable link from the flash page to a text-based page that has all the content and optimization needed to get the rankings you need.

  • Page Load Times

Page load times may not be something web designers or usability experts think of as the Internet connection speeds rise. However, the speed at which a page loads can seriously affect your bottom line. Page load times affect rankings because if the page does not load in the appropriate time frame, the page will not be cached. If the page cannot be cached, you can bet your deeper pages will not be cached either. This results in less organic traffic and ultimately leads to less ad clicks and impressions.

To stay on top of your load times, be sure to monitor them on a regular basis using the <a href=”http:// www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/”>Web Page Analyser Tool</a>.  Some tips that are recommended for reducing are:

1-    Using heights and widths to reduce the size of the image so the browser will know the correct size of the image and let it load in the background as the rest of the site loads.

2-    Reduce the number of widgets you use on your site. For example, having a Facebook widget, Twitter widget, YouTube widget, calendar and latest comments on one page will slow down your load time. These channels are usually important tools for a web brand, so to speed up load times, place an image link of both Twitter and Facebook in the sidebar, instead of the widget.

3-    301-redirects can slow down web sites if there are a lot of them that are clicked at the same time. This can be very problematic if the homepage or first-level pages are being redirected. The reason this slows down a site is because the redirections are all server based. Every time someone clicks a link that is redirected, an action is sent to the server. Keep track of how many URLs are being redirected on your site and figure out if any of them can be removed to speed up the load time.

  • Images (Names and Alt)

This is pretty much known in the SEO community but images cannot be crawled by the search engines. This means that placing a relevant image in an article or on a page does not help your rankings directly. There are a few things that need to be considered when posting images if you want them to be SEO friendly.

The first thing to optimize is the image’s name. This is important because they will show up in the URL when a visitor clicks on the image.  This will help rank the image in Google Images and may help drive traffic. The second element to optimize is the image title. This is a simple line of HTML which is implemented in the image code.

The third and final method for optimizing images is to place alt tag. This is very similar to what the title of the image is and acts as another signal when a search engine crawls the image. Again, the alt tag is a simple line of code and can be placed as follows:

alt= “SEO Tips for Web Design”

  • Header’s for Copy

Headers are great for two reasons: (1) keeps readers engaged and (2) provides added SEO value to your content. It should act as a one line summary of what the upcoming content should be to ensure that the reader knows what’s ahead in the article and prompts them to continue reading.

The second added value that headers provide is helping the article rank for its targeted keywords. Placing a keyword in the header tag will provide more value then placing it strictly in the content.  For example, let’s say your article is about dog breeds and you want to rank for Terriers, you might consider writing your H tag as follows:

<h1>Terriers: The Best Dog Breed for Your Family</h1>

Keep your most important keywords at the front of the header.

I hope these SEO tips will help with your web ventures. All these SEO tactics can be implemented at a very low cost and will provide you with improved results immediately. Depending on the competition in your vertical, onsite SEO is all that is needed to get the rankings you need.

About The Author

Alex Galasso is a SEO Analyst at the Montreal web development company NVI Solutions Inc. In his spare time, Alex also writes about independent video games and manages a portfolio of websites. Feel free to contact Alex for any inquiries at agalasso [at] nvisolutions [dot] com.

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