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Designing Your Website with SEO in Mind

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPotos.net

When we think of search engine optimisation, things like keywords, meta descriptions, content and link building come to mind. Another important aspect of SEO is site design. You already know that a well-designed site can decrease bounce rates and encourage your readers to respond to a call to action and share your content. If you keep your SEO goals in mind while designing your site, you’ll also reap some ranking rewards.

Use Text Search Engines can Read

Search engines can’t read text that is in images or Flash animations. If you want to get fancy with your writing, use webfonts. Webfonts from sites like Font Deck, Typekit and Google make it possible to get creative with your site’s look without sacrificing search engine readability. If you don’t want to get fancy, there’s nothing wrong with using the basic, web-friendly fonts.

Create Built-In SEO Factors

It’s only natural for web designers to get creative when they build your site. However, make sure the creative process includes some SEO factors like visually appealing description boxes and a crawlable header and footer. If you build these elements in from the beginning, adding keyword-rich descriptions won’t be a nuisance and they will blend in with the overall look of your site.

Amazon's kindle page includes content (right) that can be read by search engines, as wel as attractive design.

Amazon’s kindle page includes content (right) that can be read by search engines, as wel as attractive design.

Build an SEO Smart Navigation System

Your site’s navigation system needs to be user friendly; that goes without saying. Your readers need to be able quickly find what they are looking for, otherwise they will leave your site. But, you can help your SEO efforts by including keywords in your navigation system, page titles and page URLs. Try to find natural and logical ways to use keywords, and don’t force them into your layout, or your site will just end up looking spammy and confuse your audience.

Include a Way to add New Content Regularly

Fresh content invites search engines to come back and crawl your site on a regular basis, which can help increase your rankings. While designing your site, include a simple way to add new content on a regular basis. The most obvious way to do this is through a blog, but you could also use a newsletter, a highlighted product section, or a newsroom page, among other strategies.

Decrease Loading Times

There is more and more evidence that a site’s loading time impacts its rankings. Sites that load more quickly tend to rank higher. As you design your site, don’t overload it with fancy plugins that just make it load more slowly. Things like the code and image sizes also impact loading time, so work with a web developer to make sure your loads as quickly as possible.

Keeping SEO factors in mind while you design your site will make it possible to include SEO elements without interfering with the look and of the site. You’ll also be more likely to include things like keywords and fresh content when it’s easy to do so.

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