Designing a professional website is the first step towards your online branding and reputation. Just as the web designers know how to grab the visitor’s eyeballs by designing a gorgeous looking website, similarly an effective SEO strategy holds the key to rank your website higher in the major search engines ensuring more visibility to your customers. There is no point in designing a trendy website if it fails to attract traffic. Thus, designing a SEO-friendly website plays a major role in attracting relevant traffic for your website. In this competitive world, you need to have an edge over your competitors and this can be done by achieving higher positions in the search engine rankings.
Whether you are launching a static website or a blog or an e-commerce solution, you need to follow a couple of basic steps while designing a SEO-friendly website that will help to increase your chances in higher search engine rankings.
Splash Page: Designing a splash page is a BIG NO from SEO perspective. Some web designers insist on placing a flash intro with a link like “Click here to Enter” on the Home Page. The situation becomes worse when this link is embedded in Flash, making it impossible for the search engine crawlers to index the page thereby affecting your page’s ranking in the search engines. Moreover, Home Page is the landing page of your website both from SEO perspective and user experience (UX). Now if the search engine crawler is unable to index the Home Page content, the chances of your website to increase it’s the search engine visibility is doomed from the very start.
Clean HTML structure: Keep your design simple with clear and uncluttered HTML structure. Optimize your HTML structure by providing enough provision for various HTML Meta data elements such as Title tag, meta description, meta keywords, ALT/TITLE tags and other header tags, i.e., <h1> through <h6>.
Focus on Your Link Structure: Users dislike digging for the information they need. Using an appropriate navigational structure will make your site easy to use for your customers. The anchor text should contain the relevant link and title to it.
Avoid using Flash for your navigation as search engine crawlers have trouble to read the flash files.
Avoid Using Dynamic URLs: Don’t forget to implement SEO-friendly URL feature as this is an important place to embed your keywords.
Browser Compatibility: Test your website in all leading web browsers like IE 8 & 9, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome to ensure proper rendering of your design elements.
Avoid pop-ups as it is frustrates users.
Avoid Horizontal Scroll: Users hate horizontal scrolling, so consider standardizing screen resolution for different screen sizes and devices while designing your website to avoid any unintended scroll.
Add footer links to every page: Make sure to have text-based footer links embedded with your targeted keywords in every page of your website.
Use an XML and HTML sitemap: While a XML sitemap will enhance indexing of your homepage as well as other internal pages, a HTML sitemap will help your customers to easily land on the page they are looking forward to.
Responsive design: Though it is a nice to have feature, with the tremendous growth in mobile device usage if your website design adjust itself by detecting the device’s screen resolution, it would certainly give you an edge over your competitors.
Follow these simple suggestions while designing your website to have the best possible chance to increase your visibility and online presence over the web.
by Mithu Sarkar
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