SEO Begins During the Design Process
2014.11.08 by Sebastian Maier
When we are implementing a project together with a designer for the first time, we are often requested to make sure that the website can be found in search engines and, when possible, be displayed under suitable keywords.
It makes sense to enter suitable titles, keywords and descriptions for all subpages in the page settings. The SEO settings needed for this are already available in the smooster CMS by default. You can read up on how it works in this knowledge base entry.
Search engine optimization does not begin only after the site has already been designed and implemented.
The latest Google updates have caused a lot of changes in the field of SEO. It has already been said that content relevant to the website visitor would secure a good ranking; by continually adjusting the algorithms, Google has come very close to this objective since then. Many of the SEO tricks of previous years do not work anymore or they even lead to poor rankings. Since the exact way the algorithms filter is not 100 percent visible, there are divergent views in various quarters. This concerns the relevance of keywords for instance.
In principle, you can say that a design, which is visitor-oriented and creates a good experience using structured construction, sensible links, understandable graphics, and short loading times, has already covered the important point with regard to SEO too.
5 TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN START PAYING ATTENTION TO SEO DURING DESIGN
1. Hands-off from old website technologies
Since its inception, the internet has already seen many website technologies come and go. Nowadays, nobody would implement the small works of art of the late 1990s and early 2000s anymore - entire animated websites in flash, layout structure with HTML tables or navigation using linked images instead of text.
If text is integrated into an animation, it cannot be read by a search engine. A navigation that uses flash effects, for instance, will not be recognized as a navigation by the search engine; the structure of the website cannot become apparent by that.
2. Fast and to the point
All of us visit many new websites in a single day. On getting to a website that we do not know, we want to know, as quickly as possible, what it is about and if it interests us.
Short loading times are important in ensuring we do not leave the site immediately. Mostly, it is the first three seconds that decide, whether you want to know more or leave again. However, the placement of the most important information is a deciding factor. Since the algorithms of Google, in particular, are continuously being adjusted to provide the best possible experience, both these factors have an effect on the ranking.
What does this mean for web design?
On the one hand, a powerful hosting system is essential for a quick-loading page, but the load times of individual parts of the website also count. More on that in item 3.
With the latest updates, Google rewards websites that present the visitor with the most important information directly and without much scrolling, and also punish pages, on which you are first confronted with advertising for instance. You can find out more about Google’s opinion on ‘above the fold’ in this blog article by Google.
3. Be careful when using many images!
Images are not bad per se for search engine rankings. Enormous images, in particular, can slow down the entire website, since they need a longer time to load. An option is replacing graphics, where they are needed, with CSS. A colorful, rounded button with text, for instance, must not be an image but should instead be created with CSS.To ensure that customers, who only need to update their website regularly with a little text and pictures, do not have to concern themselves with adjusting picture sizes, we offer four variants when new images are uploaded: small, medium, large, and original. The designer can specify the dimensions for the three adjusted sizes and, thus, make the work easier for his customer.
4. Ensure you have a clear internal link structure
A search engine ‘crawls’ a website. This means that the search engine, starting with the homepage, reveals the networking within the website on the basis of navigation and other links. Therefore, it should be easy for the search engine to read the structure of the website.
What is a cryptic URL as opposed to a simple one?Instead of a cryptic URL like WWW.MYPAGE.COM/PPQ46385SFPAGE1_ you should create sensible websites like WWW.YOURPAGE.COM/MY-PAGE.
5. SEO loves Responsive Design
When it comes to mobile internet presence, you have several options. If you want to know more about that, then take a look at my blog article on the topic “RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN, MOBILE WEBSITES, APP? THE DIFFERENCE”.
What advantages does Responsive Design have for Search Engine Optimization?
The entire content of the website is in only one version. This means that the search engine itself must analyze just this one website. Even the visitors themselves do not land one time on the mobile view and another time on the desktop view when they search. From the perspective of on-page optimization too - i.e. the settings for each subpage - it makes sense, since it does not have to be done twice.
That does not mean that mobile websites are worse than responsive design. On SEO grounds, I would rather recommend responsive design, but, in individual cases, a separate mobile site might be a better decision.
We want your websites to be able to be well-positioned.
Therefore, smooster supports your SEO.
Fast websites: Business hosting and a CDN for short loading time
Default on-page optimization settings
Implementation with HTML5 and CSS3