The process of website design involves addressing not only the needs of your target audience but also the various search engines. Majority of your visitors are likely to come from search engines and so it is important to design your website using the latest search engine friendly methods.
Providing your website with search engine friendly infrastructure will enable you to effectively compete on the Internet marketplace. Well designed and search engine friendly website will enable your website to become the focal point of your online marketing initiatives and lay the foundation for future growth.
Many web designers and web development companies tend to ignore some of the basic fundamentals when creating websites for their customers.
Listed below are few points that need to be addressed while designing websites.
1. Design website using CSS (cascading Style Sheet) only and without tables
In the past, layout of most websites were accomplished using HTML tables. Today however, progressive websites are developed using CSS. CCS only design produce cleaner code and help search engine crawlers to easily find and reach the main content of a webpage. CSS does not follow the rigid structure like a table based design. It enables content to be placed at the top of the page in the backend script, while allowing it to be positioned anywhere on the page visually. This encourages search engine crawlers to access the content easily and place more importance on this content. The other benefit of CSS pages are the website loading time, since the files sizes are smaller, the page loads faster than a table based design.
2. Dynamic title, description, keywords
A well written page header title, description and keywords helps search engine crawlers understand pages quickly what the page material is about and helps differentiate one page from the other. Writing a proper title for individual pages help visitors and search engine alike to quickly understand what the page is about. Again, individual page description and keywords should be written with relevance to the actual content on the body.
3. Search Engine Friendly website address
Dynamic or database driven websites have query strings in the URL.
For search engine crawler and users alike, this style of address does not provide much meaning to your webpage. For example if you are in the market of selling Gift Bags then having website address like www.yourdomain.com/products/gifts-bags is more meaningful, easier to remember and better for search engines. If your website is database driven, URL rewrite functions should be enabled for your domain. In apache web server this could be achieved by modifying your .htaccess file usually.
4. Optimising for image search by using alt tags for graphics and image links
These days, web users have started using search engines to find images and graphics. Optimising your website for image search will add value in terms of search engines traffic and increase visitors to your site.
Product image should be given a proper meaningful names. For example, a product showing Paper Gift Bags should be named paper-gift-bags.jpg instead of 0900hghjaw.jpg. This implementation would increase the chance of your image ranking higher when someone searches for Paper Gift Bags in Image Search. To enable Google Image Search for your site, create Google Webmaster Tools Account and use this account to enable your website for images search.
The practice of using Alt and titles in image tags is another way to optimize your site further. It not only provides accessibility, but helps search engine crawlers add a description to the image displayed.
5. Include Breadcrumb with links for every page
Breadcrumb links are a sequence of links that define the depth structure of a page and provide a back link to the parent page. Mostly it is helpful to your website visitors as they can instantly tell which page are currently on and helps is navigating. Using breadcrumbs will naturally increase your keyword density and provides search engine a way understand your site navigation structure.
There are several other points to remember and we will address them in Part 2 of the Search Engine Friendly Website article, so stay tuned.
Your comments and feedback are welcome. What are your thoughts on these 5 points?