When a website is turned over into the hands of the search engine optimization (SEO) team, it is often a myriad of confusing and complex sections, with design on top of design on top of design. This can make it highly difficult for the search engine spiders to index the content of the site, which makes any sort of SEO strategy tricky to execute. So, how can we avoid this? By ensuring that a website is designed with SEO in mind from the very beginning.
Don’t include a splash page
Whilst many clients will fight tooth and nail for a splash page for their website, it does absolutely nothing for SEO at all (especially if it’s one of those image or animation get ups with a ‘click here’ button at the end or somewhere beneath). The search engine spiders will find most of the information that they need for your SEO ranking from your index page, and if yours is a splash page the spiders aren’t going to find much information, are they? This ruins your SEO chances.
Design for text, not images
Web designers really want their creations to be aesthetically pleasing, using the most decorative fonts and obscure shapes they can find as menu links – but this needs to stop if they want the website to be successful from an SEO standpoint. If you are putting a lot of information into these images, what are the search engine spiders going to look at (remembering that images are useless for SEO)? An SEO campaign needs text in order to work.
File names need to make sense
Designers should be naming their files in a way that makes sense anyway, but this is something that they often neglect to do. Whilst these file names should not be extremely long, they should be relevant to the topic of your page and your website overall, as this helps your SEO strategy. For example, if your website is about topiary trees and you wanted to put an image of one on the about page, name it something like ‘about-topiary.jpg’ for SEO instead of ‘about-page2-img.jpg’.
There are a number of other ways that designers and developers can create websites with SEO in mind, even whilst the site is up and running – by not neglecting ‘alt’ tags and working in clean code, you can ensure that your SEO team has plenty to work with when it comes to ensuring the best possible rankings with the search engines.