There are many great web designers out there, and some of these designers pride themselves on their great designs. Visually of course, a great look and feel is an important part of a Website, but unfortunately, many Websites don’t rank well with Search Engines because of this very fact. Many designers get carried away with Flash, complicated table layouts and images, making their Website load slowly or hard to read. Often designers forget or don’t know the workings of a web page or a Website as a whole.
In the past, Search Engines were not as evolved as they are now. There are a number of constantly changing Algorithms now in place to determine whether you make the cut. Realistically, you would need a professional SEO company to optimize and maintain your Website properly if you want to follow all the Tech specks that Search Engines use, but to keep it simple, here are some basic SEO tips and questions to consider when building a Website:
1. Optimize the size of the web page to the fullest. Resizing the images to their correct dimensions and getting them reduced in file size as much as possible is important, because the more KB a Website has to load, the slower it is. Ideally, a visitor wants to get in to your Website and get the information that they came for as fast as possible. If the Website takes long to load, visitors will get discouraged and leave. Achieving a balance of a great design and a fast loading time is crucial to Search Engine success. There are a number of Websites that will test your loading time using different speeds. Usually these services are free. Do a search for one. It is definitely worth your time.
2. Too much optimization can hurt you.. Some elements are important to properly optimize a web page. An example of these include: Metatags with a well written Title, relevant strategically placed H1 and H2 Tags, ALT Tags, Comments, and obviously keyword rich content are to name a few. Key fact to keep in mind though, over doing it can actually hurt the Website. There needs to be a balance of real content and optimization. When unsure, less is always better.
3. Is the Website using web safe colors and fonts? Fonts and colors often make a web page more attractive. This becomes a problem when designers use fonts that are not available on the visitor’s computer. The font then defaults to the closest web safe font available. The result is often unpredictable and a visual mess. The same applies to colors. Colors look different on different monitors, and unless a web-safe color is used, it will vary on different monitors.
4. Is the content “Readable” by the Search Engines? To display the content exactly how the designers plan it, they often turn valuable content into images. Remember, Search Engines cannot read images. An ALT description can and should be used for images, but it does not substitute for great HTML content. If possible, always opt for using HTML content and ALWAYS, write the content for the readers, not the Search Engines.
5. Design with screen resolution in mind. Screen Resolution is a setting on individual computers that people set according to their preference. Screen resolutions can vary. Here are some common settings that people use: 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 800, 1440 x 900. When designing a Website, you would want to stay somewhere in the middle of the range. If you must go beyond that, try to fit at least the important parts of your Website into that valuable space. The last thing you want the visitor to do is scroll horizontally to read your content.
There are a lot more intricacies to why a Website succeeds or fails out there, and different Search Engines are constantly evolving and changing their review criteria. If you speak to 10 different SEO professionals, they will most likely give you 10 different interpretations of what it takes to be a truly Search Engine friendly Website. Chances are they are all correct. It’s hard to keep up, but one thing seems to be a definite constant. Keep all the SEO pointers in mind from the start when designing a Website, and definitely design with your visitors in mind. You do that, and it will save you a lot of time and heartache later on, and the Search Engines will love you.