Many factors define a website’s success, and two of the most important are its ranking in search results and its effectiveness in retaining the users’ interest.
You probably know that optimisation plays a big role in putting your pages on the top of SERPs. Other than this, your site’s design and overall structure are large contributors too.
Therefore, put yourself in your target viewers’ shoes to see your website from their perspective. Then, ask yourself these.
“How does my site look?”
“Is it disorganized, distracting, or—worse, boring?”
“Is the layout properly structured and straightforward?”
“Do I recognize a certain webpage’s main idea or offer right away?”
“What is my ranking in SERPs?”
If you are not satisfied with your site’s design or with its performance in search results, it needs tweaking. So to please both the users AND Google (as well as other search engines) happy, here are seven useful tips.
Combine Optimisation and Web Design:
- 1. Create an SEO-friendly navigation system:
The best way to have your pages indexed is to come up with formatted documents, such as a sitemap or breadcrumb trail, which allow the spiders to crawl your website easily.
Additionally, avoid using Flash images or texts since search algorithms cannot detect these. If you insist on doing so, the webpage will only appear blank, making it irrelevant. So if you want to add photos for more content appeal, go for infographics or CSS sprites.
- 2. Modify your URLs’ structure
The priority of your web design, aside from making it easier for viewers, is to make it easier for search engine spiders to crawl through your pages.
Does your page’s universal resource locator (URL) generally look like this, http://samplewebsite.com/store/products/5467d339skdjbslkofnf=9?
If it does, you have to make it more descriptive like this, http://samplewebsite.com/store/products/oak_furniture_chest_drawer=9, using the targeted key phrase separated by dashes or hyphens.
Looking at both links, you can see which one gives you a clear idea of the content just by looking at the URL’s format.
- 3. Generate a robots.txt. file
If a sitemap shows the available pages on your website, the latter tells search algorithms which webpages to access. So if you want to keep certain sections (e.g. user account forms, surveys, etc.) of your domain secure, you can carry out this technique using Google Webmaster Tools.
- 4. Come up with meta descriptions
There are two main reasons you need these. One, they help the algorithms index and crawl your website easily for search-related information. Second, they appear in search results as snippets to give the users an initial idea of a webpage’s content.
Now you have probably heard that search engines only allow a 150-160 character limit. However, this is not applicable these days.
An SEO website has performed an experiment to see whether Google actually cuts titles or descriptions with more than the recommended words. According to their discovery, it does not limit the amount of characters used but the pixel width.
So what you need to do is make your descriptions as catchy as possible. Moreover, do not forget to insert your primary keywords.
- 5. Link internal pages
Google states in the design and content section of its Webmaster Guidelines that, “Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link”. This is the exact reason for building internal links.
At the same time, you must know that there has to be reasonable amount of links on a particular webpage, implying that you should not create as many anchor texts or hyperlinks as you want.
Finally, it is essential that you check your site for possible broken links because these can lead to a penalty from search engines and a 404 error for the users. Both circumstances can affect your website greatly since the first can result to a lower ranking, while the second can end up you up with lesser visitors.
- 6. Incorporate image or video alt tags
Again, there is no way that the spiders can detect such content unless they check out the given codes. Now, this is where alt attributes come in handy; they serve as descriptions to help the search bots crawl any photo or video incorporated to your site. Not only this, the tags allow the visual aids to land in SERPs.
As a tip, when carrying out this task, use relevant keywords for ranking purposes.
- 7. Choose a simple and organised layout and design
Visual appeal is not just about flashy graphics or bold colours. Even simplicity and a professional look can capture the interest of your target visitors and keep them glued to your website.
So aside from creating a convenient and interactive navigation system, your webpages need to have a proper structure. By that, it means that there has to be less adverts and images. Instead, there must be valuable and fascinating content.
You may also place social media widgets in strategic sections such as at the sidebar or at the bottom of the pages.
Whether you are a blogger or an online entrepreneur, ranking in search results help get your site out there. You cannot make this possible without the help of SEO. Then again, you must not forget to consider your target audience’s needs too.
This is why you need to combine optimisation and the right Web design. With the given tips, you can make both aspects a bit easier.
About the Author: