Competition is getting higher and higher, if you want to survive in the cyber world, you will have to create an SEO friendly web design. Now the question is “How to create SEO friendly web design? Well! here is the answer. First you will have to follow the search engine optimization guidelines provided by major search engines (Googele, Bing and Yahoo) and then you need to be a bit creative to implement them in an effective way. Reading these guidelines is a time consuming and annoying task (at least for me in the beginning) but now you don’t need to read them because here i will give you an overview which cover almost 90% of these guidelines.
As for my research and knowledge the search engine optimization or SEO is used to make your web design user friendly and somehow search engine friendly. For me the ratio is 90% for user and 10% for search engine. The SEO is indeed a vast topic, here I will only discuss the user interface, navigation, basic web design elements and some other on-page optimization factors.
I know some of you folks may disagree at the moment with my 90:10 phenomenon of an SEO friendly web design, but I have some arguments to defend my point of view. In fact most of the search engine optimization directly improves the user experience. The SEO requires, on-page optimization, off-page optimizations, social media links, a thousands of tweet and retweets, facebook likes and shares, thousands of plus 1s, quality backlinks from authority websites and blogs and a lot more which is obviously out of the scope of this article. So, lets start with the design first.
See also: Web Design Essentials
SEO Checklist for Web Designers
I have prepared an SEO checklist for designers to guide them “How to Create SEO Friendly Web Design”. Here are the most important things a web designer should take care while designing a website.
Crawlability and Accessibility of Content
The fundamental of an SEO friendly web design is that your content must be readable for search engines or robots/search-bots. The search bots are tiny software that are frenzy for content on web pages. They have some limitations too, they can’t scan/read the content in Flash, Animations that uses Java Scripts, Ajax and other commonly used animation scripts. If you use these scripts to load/render content (especially textual content) then it could be deadly for your search engine optimization.
So, my recommendation is to use standard web fonts available on Google, Fonts.com, TypeKit and other popular font sites. Use CSS and color scheming with backgrounds to enhance the look and style of textual content. In case of Picture or Video make sure to add captions and ALT Tags. Try to insert spaces in design for captions, descriptions, etc to make your design SEO friendly and it is also helpful for user as well.
See also: Professional Web Development
Structured Data and Other Search Engine Optimization Factors
In today’s semantic search era and highly competitive search engine optimization, it is highly recommended to add structured data and rich snippets to your content. You can use Structured Data, Micro Data or RDFas to guide search robots. The structured data is available for almost all types of content. I will also recommend using other important tags like, Google, Twitter, Open Graph (Facebook) and for other Social Medias to boost SEO.
See also: SEO Services
The Content – Quality and Quantity
The content is the core factor in search engine optimization as well as considered to be the backbone in the success of a web design and its SEO. Use a reasonable quantity of content with optimum quality. There should be enough information on a page that can satisfy both the search engine and the viewer.
Sliders, Animation, Flash, Ajax and 3D
A design rich in graphics Sliders, Animations, Flash, Ajax or 3D have magical capabilities to engage visitor, but 90 out of 100 such web designs annoy the visitor instead of grabbing their attentions. That is due to their dead slow load time and poor cross browser and mobile compatibility.
Image Courtesy: CodeCanyon
Textual Content and Headings
A clear and highlighted placement for H1 tag is mandatory for an SEO friendly web design, which is very important in SEO, usually homepage is divided into many sections, each pointing towards its relevant inner page. So, each section must has its own highlighted heading text and in case of picture or video a caption is vital for SEO. Utilize other heading tags in body as well, you can use H1 for once, H2 three to four time, H3 also three to four time and H4, H5 as many as you want. That is not a standard rule, but a recommendation. I will also suggest you to use other HTML tags to highlight the primary and other important keywords.
See also: Optimized Content and Online Marketing
Readability and User Friendly Design
An SEO friendly web design has textual content that is highly readable with a cleverly chosen color scheme that soothes the eye of the reader. If you are reading this article this far, either you are a designer or an SEO. So I assume that if you are a designer you have enough knowledge of color schemes and if you are an SEO you know the importance of professional designer very well, so I don’t want to waste time on color combinations, schemes and theme of a web design. For more about color scheme and basics of a web design, here is my complete guideline for web designing.
Navigation and Links – Interlinking
To create SEO friendly web design, there should be links, tabs, buttons and anchors for inner pages to enhance user experience as well as it also helps boosting the SEO (interlinking). When someone arrives on your web page he/she must get what they are looking for otherwise they will simply go for your competitor. All important pages or sub-pages must be available in the homepage.
Add a user friendly and SEO oriented navigation menu and other navigational widgets in header, side-bars and/or in footer. All of the anchor texts must be highlighted using CSS and clearly distinguished from plain text. Don’t use hover animation on anchor which is not readable by search engine bots, it is bad for your SEO.
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Informative Vs Entertaining Web Design
You can do a little bit of research on that topic. Have a look at the websites of popular SEO agencies and web designing agencies. You will clearly notice that all of the SEO agencies are more or less having almost the same, content centric web design. Whereas all of the designing agencies’ are having a web design full of animation, colors and stunning graphics. That shows two extremes, the SEO guys are always emphasizing on content (textual) however the designer always focusing on animation, flash, visual effects and graphics.
That is the reason most of the SEO agencies had websites with full of information but very little interaction or entertainment and on the other hand the designing firms had websites full of design and graphics with no or very less value added in terms of SEO and information. So, it is mandatory for an SEO friendly web design to fulfill the both requirements equally with moderation.
Must Have Features for an SEO Friendly Web Design
Here are some must have features for an SEO friendly web design:
- Enriched in Navigation and accessibility
- All important Inner Pages are available and easy to access
- Enough content to fulfill search engine and reader’s demand
- Visible and distinguished Headings and sub-headings (Using CSS)
- Use standard fonts instead of custom, never use such fonts which require Java Script, Ajax or any other unreadable scripts
- Anchors are highlighted , banners and buttons have text on them instead of image
- Highly optimized images in terms of name, ALT, caption and size (I recommend SVG images)
- Perfect user experience in Smartphone, Tablets and PC/Laptops
- Use structured data, HTML5, CSS3 and latest techniques to make your web design more SEO friendly
- The design must be divided into standard segments, like Main navigation pan, header, body, footer and may be one or two side bars (with links and other widgets to boost SEO)
- By mixing SEO and designing equally you can make a stunning web design that can also perform well in search engines (a SEO friendly web design)
Creativity is the secret potion you will have to mix with this blend to make it alive. You should first understand the demand and requirements of the website of your client or yourself. Websites belongs to different niche demands different types of content. You cannot make a text centric design for photo or video sharing blog. You cannot use retro colors for a website that deals with children and parents etc.
There are thousands of examples I can quote now, but my aim is to show the importance of information gathering in a creative web design. You should think something that no one else provided yet. The fundamental of creativity is observation. If you have ability to observe things from different angles then you can think creatively. In the designing field creativity is as important as any other designing tool. Without creativity you simply cannot design.
How to create SEO friendly web design? It is not an easy question to answer. I tried to enlist all important factors that involve in an SEO oriented websites. In order to have a successful and SEO Friendly web design you will have to be a bit creative. You must also have the basic knowledge of web development and obviously sound knowledge of SEO will be required if you really want to create an SEO friendly web design. Hope this will help improving you your designing skills. If you like it, don’t forget to share with your friends. Feel free to discuss anything via below comment box. Connect with us on Google +, Facebook or Twitter.
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