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SEO 101: Design and Development

August 19 2016

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In order to use SEO effectively, you don’t just need to use links or keywords, as has been explained in previous blogs in this series. You also need to directly design the content and structure of your website in order to make it more interesting to search engines and crawlers (bots designed to scour the internet for searchable sites). This might sound difficult or onerous, especially for websites that have already been designed. But actually any web designer can take a few simple steps to make their website more prominent in searches.

 

Designing Content

Using tools such as Cached View or SEO-Browser, you can see your webpage as a browser will see it. If your webpage has little to no HTML text, it will look very bare even if the page users see is very information rich. A crawler that finds a HTML light webpage won’t promote it much, so use HTML text to make webpages more appealing to search engines, in order for them to be promoted.

Indexing

You can use HTML text to index the content on your website. For example, for images you can index them as a gif, jpg or png format. You can also supplement Flash or Java plugins with HTML text. A website with more of this interactive content and not just words and a background will be more appealing, both to search engines and the people doing the searching. You can also provide a HTML transcript for video or audio samples, so that people looking for particular videos or audio can find them easily and be directed to your site.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are a way to add information about your site to the search result for it. For example, on Google some search results come with five star ratings, dates or site authentication. These additions make your site more appealing for users and help to bring them to the top of the search lists. You can add rich snippets through HTML. In order to find out how, you can visit online interactive tutorials such as Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Mobile Friendly

An important part of making your website searchable is to ensure that mobile users can access it. Some websites do not have mobile responsive content, meaning that the content changes structure on a mobile screen in a way that is unappealing and confusing to use. You need to make sure that either the content on your website is mobile responsive, or that you set up a mobile website that mobile users are automatically redirected to.

URL Construction

Another thing to consider is URL construction. The structure of a URL is important from a search engine’s perspective. If your URL can be misread or misinterpreted then some will be discouraged from searching for it (A famous example is SpeedofArt.com). The website’s URL is, if you like, your elevator pitch to a searcher, upon which they will base their first impression of whether your site is worth visiting or not.