Cameron FrancisJune 24,2013

An Updated List of Search Engine Friendly Website Design

Category: Web Design

Search engine friendly web design is the call of today’s web scenario and an essential need of businesses spending 60% of their marketing budget in internet marketing. For the last few decades, the options for creating search engine friendly design were limited. With the invention of modern web standard like HTML5, these options have broadened the range. Here, I have tried to explain a complete list for having search engine friendly web design. Implementing below mentioned elements in your design may avoid rework in design which may come from your SEO department or while optimising the website.

Updates About Flash and Special Care:

Earlier, Google and other search engines were not able to crawl the content embedded in flash. So, it was a basic scenario to implement an alternative HTML text, visible to search engine and users without flash support.

With latest updates from Google, it can crawl the content in flash as well.

What’s Special?

Issue regarding content visibility still remains intact for the users without any flash support in browser. While implementing Alternative HTML text, you must ensure that you don’t represent different content in HTML and the content that is embedded in flash, intentionally or accidentally.

Doing this, you would provide cloaking signal to search engine and it may result in penalty.

Use of Iframe:

Any content embedded in iframe can’t be crawled or indexed by search engine. So, if you are counting on the content that can get you better visibility in SERP, one should check whether the designer integrated important content of your website through iframe or not.

A Thing to Know about Mobile Website

When you host the mobile website on a separate domain, i.e, the script used for detecting user agent must work properly and it should redirect users from mobile device to mobile website.

As Google has a mobile-bot to crawl the content on the mobile web, and the same should apply to Google Mobile-bot and it should redirect to the mobile domain.

To ensure this, you can use the section “Fetch as Google Bot” in Google webmaster and see how Google Mobile bot fetches your website.

Proper Optimisation of Images and Media Files for Website Speed

Images used in website design and other media elements, if hosted on your own server, should load quickly. Users don’t like to stay on a website that doesn’t load quickly and it is also one of the authority signal search engine counts for prioritising different websites in SERP.

Don’t forget to provide an ALT tag to important images for ease of user Friendliness in case, if they won’t get displayed properly.

Avoiding Practices: Content through Ajax, JavaScript or Navigation in Flash

Implementing navigation in flash or fancy javascript menu may become obstacle for search engine crawler to index or crawl links present in that navigation.

Similarly using Ajax tab instead of HTML tabs for displaying important content prevents search engine to index it properly.

Always prefer to have an HTML based navigation and good interlinking structure for simplicity of users and search engines to navigate on your site smoothly without any hassle.

Implementation of Title, Meta and Proper Use of Header Tags in Body

Since the inception of search engine optimisation, Title and Meta tags remains the most important factor and plays important role in optimising any website.

A proper document structure with use of proper H1, H2 and H3 tags at appropriate place with appropriate content is a good practice for web designers to follow. Implementing header tags, you must think of users rather than the search engine and also avoid using header tags   frequently without any reason, just for better optimisation.

Giving Appropriate Name to Files and Folders

If you have dynamic URL, converting it into static looking URL will be a better option for users and search engines. Whenever you are having a website that contains lots of images, like eCommerce site with various product categories, create well structure folder of images relevant to the same category and so on.

Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento have a facility to create a search engine friendly URL. If you have opted for custom website development, you may need to ask your developers to implement the same for you.

Search Box That Works Properly

Usability and user experience are now part of building a search engine friendly website. The survey indicates, a website with efficient search functions in a website have a higher conversion ratio comparatively. That means, higher conversion has been observed in visitors who have used search functions compare to visitors who haven’t, with respect to the relevancy of search result displayed and search query fired by the user.

There are plenty of modules, add-ons, extensions and third party tools available, which you can utilise in your website. Ensure proper working and the relevancy of search results displayed upon different queries, once integrated in your website.

Custom 404 Page:

Giving users an alternative choice to reach the right pages is another step towards better usability. Instead of keeping the default 404 “Not Found” page, you should create a custom page comprised of important links that gets visitors back to the working pages on the website. Redirect users to the original product category page, when the product sold out can be considered as an ideal example in an ecommerce website.

Browser and Device Compatibility Testing:

Due to diverse use of browsers, mobile devices, and laptops with different screen size and resolution, it is important to test the visual appearance of website in different browsers and mobile devices. Usability and user experience are the new faces of search engine optimisation for creating a user friendly business website. Especially, if you have responsive or mobile website, make sure to test it on popular mobile devices and browsers your audience use.

With Google analytics, you can easily view the most common browsers, mobile devices and screen resolutions your visitors have. View Audience report in Google analytic and get essential data from the tabs mobile and technology under this report.

Social Media Integration:

Matt cut himself said that Google now collects signals from reputed social media and social networking sites for giving authority to any website and measuring social influence of business. Integrating social media badge or icons of the original business profile will be a good step to take social benefits.

Functional Testing:

Lastly, make sure contact us form, links, drop down menu, subscriptions form or all other elements that establish interaction with your visitors works properly on your website. The bug- free website is a key to establish good online reputation among your potential customers.

Above are the basic criteria for developing search engine and user friendly website. Imposition of specific rules and proper usage of each may vary from one website to another depending on the platform it is built on.

Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.

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