Just to be clear, there’s only a handful of search engine optimization tasks that actually go into the website’s design itself. We’ll talk about them here in this article. SEO website design steps are heavy on the topic of copy writing, because search engines think in words, not visuals.
There are many other SEO tasks that every business website needs, tasks which happen outside website’ itself. In this article, we’ll focus only on the SEO tasks that go into the website project itself, rather than around it.
Putting Content First for Maximum SEO
There’s no over-emphasizing this point: The number one factor of optimizing your website for search engine placement, is text. Search engines operate on words, not pictures or other media.
To that end, you’ll be adding articles and blogs, and finding other ways to insert written copy into your website design, when you attend to SEO matters.
Like website design itself, SEO is a vast topic that we can’t possibly expose in full with a single article. With that being said, here are some tips that, if followed correctly, will improve your website’s search performance and give your website better, more-qualified traffic:
- Search engines prefer comprehensive websites. This is why so many search keywords lead directly to a Wikipedia result in the top three ranks.
- Obsessing over the most-often-searched keywords is a losing game. For one, the search engine programmers are aware of what they call “keyword spam,” and they have ways to detect and penalize for it. Secondly, you’ll get a more positive score of relevancy if you’re dealing with your topic in breadth.
- On a similar note, putting your website’s best SEO foot forward means thinking about items such as geography, niche, target demographic, and other ancillary keywords that people might search for in order to qualify their results better.
This means that a search term with fewer daily searches, might actually be a better-performing keyword for you in terms of sales.
Optimal Website Design Roll-Out
Let’s change gears a moment, before we get back to the power of text in your website’s SEO priorities.
Think of a carpetbagger, a snake oil salesman. They swoop into town, they make a lot of impressive noise. They claim to have everything you could ever ask for, and they’re as sudden as the circus. Then they vanish.
With respect to SEO and your website, that’s analogous to suddenly having 300 new articles overnight focusing on your crucial keywords.
Google has repeatedly made a point of reminding the SEO industry that sudden bursts of growth are suspicious, and will be treated as suspicious when it comes to search rankings. It’s better to grow your site naturally, by publishing gradually – or at least, so the web’s SEO authorities have said.
Invisible Assets: Meta Tags and SEO
Now, on to two points where SEO and website design are tightly joined at the hip. First, we’ll talk about what are called “meta tags.” The two important bits of text that should appear on every search-optimized site are the Keywords tag, and the Description tag.
Technically, these both use the Meta tag, and they describe your website to search engines directly. That’s the primary function of those two uses of the Meta tag. Since they only exist for the straightforward purpose of search engine optimization, it’s important that your website designer, or whoever handles your SEO, gets these items right.
SEO Your Image Attributes
And finally, you can also optimize your website’s use of images for search engine performance.
First, every image must have an “alt” attribute. Originally, the Alt attribute was an old-school alternative for web browsers that don’t have graphical displays. Since they couldn’t show the picture itself, the Alt attribute was an accessibility feature that said “A picture of [something] is here.”
Since website indexing software is, in a way, a web browser without image capabilities, it’s natural for those descriptions to matter for SEO.
But one big secret that matters a great deal in SEO website design, is the image filename. So many people fail to think about this. What do you think makes your site more relevant?
- An automatically generated filename created by a digital camera, like “XJ12323512.jpg”
- A filename that helps you organize your files internally, like “front_top_feat_123.jpg”
- Or a nice straighforward name, like “SEO_website_design.jpg”
You be the judge!