It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is if no one can find it when they search for it on Google. You need SEO web design strategies that not only look visually pleasing to your website visitors but also help people find your site, view your message, and take the action your site wants them to take (buy something, read information, etc). There are three main areas your site should focus on when it comes to search engine optimisation – visual layout, content and links.
SEO Web Design: Visual Layout
Your website needs to appeal to a wide variety of learning styles – for example, some people prefer to get information from words on a page while others prefer visual representations in images or video, and then others prefer audio. You need an SEO web design that will appeal to everyone in your target market.
When placing information, images and ads on your website, you want to keep things that are likely to interest people to scroll down above the “fold”. This is the area of your website that loads quickly and is viewed when someone first gets to your website. If you don’t encourage them to scroll down or click from the information they see, chances are you’re going to lose them. A good way to encourage linking or movement on your page is to use:
- large headlines that stand out from the rest of the page
- images that you can see only part of, which people can obviously see more if they scroll down on the page
- an uncluttered design, with whitespace to help the viewers navigate the page
- bullets or numbered lists to quickly see benefits of your products or services
While doing these visual layout techniques for human visitors, you also want to keep in mind that search engines need websites with pages and content that is not all hidden in java script code or flash and links from other relevant pages.
SEO Web Design: Content
When people think of web design, they think of the appearance of the site. But just as important is the information, or the content, that the site provides. You want the content to deliver relevant information to your site’s theme, and it will probably need some “keywords” – the words you expect your target market to type into Google when looking for information or products you provide. The trick is to make the content readable by humans, as search engines will penalise websites that are simply loaded with keyword phrases in hopes of getting better search engine rankings.
SEO Web Design: Links
Web sites need internal links (links to other pages on your own website) as well as links from other, related sites. When linking internally, make sure you pick information that supports what you are talking about where you link. For example, if you have a website that helps people compare different credit cards, you might link the phrase “balance transfer offers” to another page on your website explaining how to transfer a balance to a new credit card.
Good SEO web design also involves getting quality websites with similar content to link to your website. Ideally, you’ll get the links with keyword phrases you are targeting – so your credit card website might have links coming from a site about improving credit scores.