Web Design for Better Search Engine & User Optimization

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Being in the web development business, I spend a lot of time looking at websites in ways most other users don’t.  It’s a little bit of a curse, meaning I could be looking at a site and be more focused on where they put a callout rather than  looking at the product I want.  So, here goes an attempt to purge some of this information.  How do we design websites so that they are better optimized?

1. Use div’s and a nice clean organization structure. We are not in the days of tables anymore, and I believe most designers have came around to the concept by now.  Tables are ok to use for a tabular area such as a spreadsheet look, but don’t go overboard.  Div’s are cleaner, load faster and force you to think about the styles and structure in a little more depth.

2. Use background images loaded through CSS for the design, not load bearing in-page images.  Now i’m not talking about a placement image here and there, but the images you use for the main design such the background, header and footer.  Load them separate through CSS so they don’t count on your page load time.  Search engines AND users do take into consideration how long it takes to load a page.

3. Make good use of the H1 and H2 tags. In theory, the H1 tag is telling your user and the search engines that your page topic is about ‘Whats in the H1 tag’.  I’ve seen many people use graphics to put in a nice heading, which is useless.  Search engines can’t read the text inside of an image.  And with all the font API’s today, you can get pretty much get the same graphical effect using searchable  fonts.  Another point to make here, your content should be relative to the H1 tag, as well as the page title.  These all should be closely related to make the point to search that your page is about ‘Whats in the H1 tag’.

4. Drop the flash. If you’ve read my other post, go ahead and skip #4.  Flash cant be read by search engines, cant be viewed by mobile phones, cant be updated easily, slows down the server and will likely self destruct your computer.  Ok, the self destruct thing I threw in for effect, but the rest is true.  If you must have moving parts, go for JQUERY.

5. Declutter! I looked at a site the other day and had complete sensory overload.  It was such a disaster, I had to restart my computer.  I mean literally, my computer couldnt even handle the site and froze up. I would suggest picking no more than 3 major paths your user could be directed.  Make those the 3 most prominent pieces on the page, and the rest put in the sub menus or give smaller options.  If you have 20 callouts on the page and they are all the same size, then you have social networking icons same size as the callouts, what do you want me to click on?  Everything looks the same!

And there you have my first 5 suggestions (or complaints) about web design for search engine optimization, with a little user optimization thrown in as well.  After all, you want to be found online, but if you go overboard on search and are drowning in usability, not going to do you much good is it?

7 responses to “Web Design for Better Search Engine & User Optimization”

  1. vjack says:

    It is often said that when you travel the world, you will learn more about your home country then you will of the host country. I feel that the same is true of programming languages. Learning a new language is like visiting a country for awhile, and som

    • Joel Black says:

      I second that. I learned Coldfusion first, then when I learned PHP I realized some concepts could be taken from PHP and used in CF to make it a little smoother/faster.I second that. I learned Coldfusion first, then when I learned PHP I realized some concepts could be taken from PHP and used in CF to make it a little smoother/faster.

  2. vjack says:

    It is often said that when you travel the world, you will learn more about your home country then you will of the host country. I feel that the same is true of programming languages. Learning a new language is like visiting a country for awhile, and som

    • Joel Black says:

      I second that. I learned Coldfusion first, then when I learned PHP I realized some concepts could be taken from PHP and used in CF to make it a little smoother/faster.I second that. I learned Coldfusion first, then when I learned PHP I realized some concepts could be taken from PHP and used in CF to make it a little smoother/faster.

  3. Nice information to every one

  4. Nice information to every one

  5. It is really a good post has really very good articles, all the articles are very informative and will help in our future.

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