One of the best ways to design a website to rank well in search engines is to bear what search engines like about websites in mind at the planning stages of your website design or redesign. When website owners award web design project to web designers, the last thing, usually added to the instructions, usually as an after thought goes something like this “ah, yes, and make it search engine friendly”.
In reality, most of the things search engines require in a website design to rank it highly are common sense things that actually helps website users to navigate and find information on a website easily. The fact is that if you design a user friendly website, its bound to be search engine friendly as well. This article illustrates the basics of designing search engine friendly sites that is also user friendly or is the other way round?. Some web design companies for example web design Vancouver puts user friendliness at the heart of the site design planning stages because they know the importance of user friendly/search engine friendly websites.
Professional search engine optimisation consultants divides factors affecting search engine ranking into two categories, off page factors and on page factors. On-page factors are things within your website that affects your ranking, off page factors are things external to your website, the scope of this post covers on page factors only, here is a list of on page search engine optimisation factors that affects your sites ranking. When commissioning a web design, you should discuss this points with your web designer to ensure the factors are built into your website.
1. Fast loading web pages – Search engines are basically a recommending services, when their visitors asked them through a search query for say “web design company” search engines haven ranked various web design sites sends the searcher to the site it is confident will load fast and give quality information to the searcher. For this reason you site should be designed to load fast, this does not mean not using graphics, just cut down on graphics and optimise the few graphics you us so that your site loads very quickly. Visitors don’t like waiting for sites to load either, they will go away if they have to wait for your homepage to load huge graphics.
2. Use fonts and styles that are easy to read – Its okay to use fancy fonts on a website, the question is, will your visitor’s computer have that font on it? Font size is also crucial, if its too small, you will put visitors off. If you are on Mac, you may want to pay extra attention to this, Mac fonts are smaller than PC fonts supposedly of equal font size.
3. Use paragraphs, heading to arrange your contents – The contents of your website should be grouped, just like printed books or newspapers. Write using heading and paragraphs. The crucial thing about headings is that search engines prefer that you us <h> tag for heading instead of say <b> tag.
4. Use alt tags to label images and links – Though this is mainly targeted at blind and visually impaired visitors but sighted people do like hovering their mouse on an image and reading the label site owner added to the image.
5. Navigation – Your website should have easy to use navigation bar placed vertically or horizontally, if you website contain many pages, use breadcrumbs to indicate where users are at giving point and have button that could easily take them back to the homepage.
6. Contents – Visitors to websites read from top to bottom, the most important contents of your website should be at the top, visible without the need to scroll (above the fold).
7. Unique title for each page - Web designer often make the mistake of creating one meta tag which includes title for the index page and using the same meta tags for all the pages on the website, this is wrong, you should have unique title for each page, the title should reflect the contents of the page and if possible have the name of your site so that people who come to your site via that particular page will know where they are, for example a title could be something like:
Designing SEO friendly web site – Temi.co.uk
8. Page and folder naming - Pages and folders of your website should have meaningful name, for example if you have a topic on how to build a website, it should have a name that does what it says on the tin, same with page name, a page about off-page optimisation should be called something like offpageotimisation.html
9. Content is king – The reason visitor come to a website is to access information or buy products if your site is an ecommerce site. Pay a lot of attention to the contens that goes into a page, they should be unique, well written and spell checked.
If you need website design in Vancouver or need more information on search engine friendly web design, visit Vancouver Website Design where you will find more information on web design in general and SEO friendly websites in particular.
Temi Odurinde worked in domain name registration and web hosting industry for many years, before becoming a web entrepreneur. He is passionate about web and mobile technologies.