When it comes to SEO, you can approach it in many more ways than just placing keywords in your website content. One such way is through the design and layout of your website; search engines emulate a user, and so if you want to get ranked you have to have a website that is functional and can actually be used by the public. Here are my top 10 tips to make sure you get the most out of SEO using web design.
Make sure that your HTML is as clean and easy for search engines to read as possible. Use whitespace to your advantage so that things can be easily viewed; if you have different web languages mismatched all over the place you’ll find your search engine ranking lower than a similar website which has clean, clear code.
Simple page names
Try to use simple page names where possible. If you had a FAQ page, call it FAQ.html, rather than something obscure that can be misinterpreted such as Freq_asks.html. Simple, clear names that utilize keywords will mean that your website is not only easier for the public to view (sometimes people like to glance at the URL rather than page title) but will rank you highly in the search engine results pages. Avoid numbering your pages as page1.html, page2.html etc. as much as possible, and avoid any symbols. If you stick to alphanumeric characters you’re on the right track.
Keywords in Meta tags
The <meta> tag is neglected by some web designers, but this is a mistake which can be deadly for SEO. You want to use Meta tags to point search engines at the key words they should be looking for on your page, as well as a short description of what the page is about. While there are definitely other aspects of SEO that take precedence nowadays, Meta tags should never be completely neglected.
Remember your W3C guidelines
As previously stated you want to make the job of SEO spiders as simple as possible. By using the W3C guidelines on web design you should make this job easier for them, thus improving your ranking. Always get your web code validated using the online validation pages on the W3C website – you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Consider your navigation
As great as they are for the everyday user, search bars aren’t useful for search engines because they want to index your entire website, not specific pages that they search for. This means that you should have a navigation tree that is easy to use and lists every page. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that any page can be reached within three clicks of the mouse – if it takes longer, you need to look at your navigation. Making things as easy for your visitors and search engine spiders as possible is the first rule of SEO.
Hide incomplete or duplicate pages
Search engines will penalize your website for having copies of the same web page, or for having pages that are broken or incomplete. Make sure that you implement blocking code on your web pages that you want to hide so that they don’t impede your ranking. Shopping websites will do this for the various checkout pages that they have; they don’t add anything to the website, and will qualify as duplicate pages which brings down rankings.
The <h1> tag is another part of HTML that you shouldn’t ignore. They point the search engine spider towards what the page is about, and show the various sections that should be crawled. Without header tags the job of indexing your website is harder, and thus your ranking may not be as high as it otherwise would be. Once again – make things simple and you’re doing SEO correctly.
On a .html page, only list HTML
Have a section to reflect updates
Search engines like to show content on the first results page that is regularly updated. Include a section on your website that lists the last time a page was updated, or a specific part of the page where you can list new updates on the website. If you run a blog, you might want to make sure that there’s always room to add more sections and keep the site alive – stale, rarely updated websites don’t feature very highly on search engines.
Add in ALT text on images
It can be easy to forget, but a good SEO tip is to make sure that the ALT text on an image tag is filled in correctly. This is because although it’s rare, sometimes images won’t load when a visitor is browsing your website and the ALT text will allow them to understand what the image should be of. For search engine spiders it points out what the image is of, regardless of whether it loads. The title tag is somewhat less important, but still useful to have filled out for users browsing your web page.
The guest post is written by Sonia Jackson from http://www.cool-essays.com. She helps you with writing essays and research papers on different topics.