Web Design For Search Engine Rankings

Monday, August 27th, 2012

There are two main viewers who should be catered to in any good web design – your target audience, and search engines. The latter may seem rather strange to some, given that search engines don’t exactly have eyes or a buyer’s agenda. It’s important to realise, however, that search engines do in fact “read” your website in a very specific way. By scanning it and looking for certain criteria, they’re trying to figure out whether your website is a good result to give to people searching for a particular phrase. Knowing these criteria and how to make your site look good to search engines is a crucial part of web design.

Some key ways to do this include:

  • On-page text. This might sound obvious, but in fact with many websites turning to flash-based design, they overlook a key aspect – this leaves no text on the page. Search engines cannot read flash, video or images, meaning anything contained with them is invisible, making it look like your site has zero content.
  • Designing sections for continued content. Blogs and articles that are updated frequently are great ways to boost traffic, giving you extra opportunities for keywords and sharable content. It’s a good idea to incorporate this into your web design from the beginning, making it a seamless addition rather than a tacked-on one.
  • Accessible social-media sharing buttons. Search engines such as Google are starting to value human endorsements more highly, and having your content shared on sites such as Twitter and Google+ is a sign that real people are reading it and finding it useful.
  • Headers and more headers. The keywords included in H1, H2 and bold formatting are given an extra boost in prominence.
  • Search engines generally give priority to the first 200 or so words that appear on your site, so make sure they contain the essential keywords you’re targeting.
  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to “fetch as Google” to see how the biggest search engine in the world is seeing your website. It’ll show you the words it recognises and indexes your site by, and will inform you if there are any issues.

Web design for search engine rankings is a long term investment and a moving target – but getting top ten rankings can make a huge difference to the performance of your website.

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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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