Web designers as a part of their work-flow are more or less concerned about optimizing the websites for better ranking in the search results. Likewise the website which ranks better in the SERPs has more chances of gaining the visitors, the ultimate target for which the websites are designed (and web-design realized). Even though SEO is quite complicated activity to get involved as a web-designer, here are some simple steps to help you optimize your weblogs/websites for search engines.
Keywords play an important role in on-page SEO. It is one of the major factors that affect the ranking of the site. The frequency, density and HTML tags within which you use the keywords has a great impact on page ranking. Right from the title of the page to the body-content, using the keywords effectively paves way for search engines to identify the purpose and to get a hint on the relevancy of the content to bring the website to the forefronts (to shine in SERPs). When speaking of using the keywords effectively, it is noteworthy to mention the HTML tags (and areas) which give more weightage to the keywords.
- Title: HTML title tag is used for presenting the title of the Web-page. The title is not only for the relevancy of content or to map the user’s searches, it is also about how search engines decipher it. Placing the keywords in the title tag and perhaps repeating the keywords in the title tag gain more weightage and thus enable the search engine to qualify your website as a better candidate for showing up in the SERPs.
- Heading: Emphasizing the text from a presentation point of view requires you to use strong, italics, underline text, etc. While these tags perform a good job on the part of page-presentation, it is better to use headlines tag to strengthen the keywords. Search engine bots weighs <H1>, <H2> and <H3> tags more than simple bold text.
- Meta Description: Meta description shows up in the SERPs when the user performs the searches. The meta-description provides a brief overview of what the web-page is about and thus helps in attracting the information seekers to the website. The meta tag also has a keywords attribute, which enables you to list the keywords most suitable to the website. When fetching the pages, the search engine bots refer to the list of keywords and accordingly rank the pages.
- Content: Content is the meat of the web-page; the most crucial element of a web-page surrounded by various design elements. Apart from the originality of the content, keyword frequency and keyword density play an important role in ranking the web-page better. But be wary of stuffing the keywords as Google has its terms for penalizing the websites which indulge in doing such activities. Play safe and use the keywords neutrally; insert them where required and where they make sense.
- URL: This goes from my personal experience as well. Type in the search query and notice the URLs of the websites listed in the SERPs. It seems like Google favors the websites which have the keywords in the URL itself. With WordPress you have an added advantage of even providing alternate text for title to be a part of URL as well.
As much the process of link building is useful for enabling user interaction with nook and corner of the website, so is the case with search engine bots. While indexing the web-page, the search engine bots crawl from link to link. Linking in this sense does wonders in prompting the search engines about the connections the web-page has with the other pages of the website (or external to the site). While link farming (buying/selling links, illegal link building) is penalized by Google, internal linking paves way for better ranking, but by following some simple strategies like, linking relevant content and using keywords in anchor tags.
Clean And Valid Code
Clean websites attract the visitors and clean code impresses the search engine bots. This is not an exaggeration. Clean and valid code helps the search spiders to accurately read the code (to render the design elements) and decipher the content of the web-page. Invalid code acts as the barrier to the accessibility of the web-page and thus affects the indexing of the web-pages. It is therefore better to follow simple practices, like
- Valid And Structured HTML: Following proper nesting and properly closing the tags, helps in putting forth the integrity of the website. It makes it easy for search engines to decipher the content at first place and secondly it ensures uniform look and feel across the browsers.
- CSS Based Design: CSS based design helps in separating design elements from the web-page content thus making it easier for the search bots to swiftly crawl through the content and the links.
Alt Tag For Images
A web-page most often showcase the images to beautify the design of the page. In cases when you use images, make it a practice to provide alternate text. The alternate text serves as the medium for the search engine bots to decipher images. Using the alt tag is also useful for making the website content (in form of images) more sensible to visually impaired who rely on the speech delivered by the browser.
Originality Of Content
as of Google’s policies, it ranks the websites with unique content better. This encourages the web-designers to write the original content. Google has recently decided to modify its algorithms to avoid replication of content over internet and to reward those who create original content with better ranking in the search results.
Freshness The Website
Evey one wants to live at the bleeding edge of knowledge and just like you and me, search engine bots also dislike stale websites. In fact search engines rank the updated websites better than the websites which keep away from regularly updating the website. One of the ways to keep your website fresh and abreast is to integrate a blog. Integrating a blog ensures regular activities on the website and showers business benefits (which we will discuss in the upcoming post).
Enhanced User Experience
The task of the search engine is to direct the visitors to your website. Welcoming, valuing and enticing the visitors rests on the design elements. The beautiful color-palettes, soothing textures, quality content, swift navigation and lofty typography helps you in retaining the visitors. The SEO strategies alone cannot take you any further. You have to ultimately voice your design to keep your visitors to you.
What strategies do you follow?