As a website designer it is up to you to make sure the website is search engine friendly. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about making your website more search engine friendly, and this needs to begin with the designer. It is all well and good asking designers to put content into tags, but tags are a HTML thing, which is a web designer’s area. This article has ten tips that work if you are just the designer and if you are the developer too (i.e. if you are adding content too).
1. Make sure it loads quickly
A fast loading time is a big deal these days. Google Chrome uses information it scrapes from its users in order to find out how long it takes websites to load. The timer is set when the page renders, and is not stopped until every element on the page is loaded. This means that if just one element takes a few seconds longer than the rest of the page to load, then that element is having a drag effect on the SEO of the entire page. Mobile Internet has also made quick loading a bit more of a priority.
2. Mirror your keywords from your keyword Meta tag
As a designer, it is your job to install Meta tags into the HTML code. If that is where your job ends, then pat yourself on the back for installing them (that is your SEO job done). If you are developing the website or are the web master, then you need to add your keywords to your Meta keyword tag (around 12 is sufficient), and then mirror the keywords in places such as the content, anchor texts, ALT tags, etc.
3. Learn how to use H tags
Whether you are the designer, developer or web master (or all three), you need to work out how to use the H tags. As a designer alone it will allow you to correctly place and designate areas such as the author bio section.
4. Put your title in title tags
As a designer, it is your responsibility to make sure you install title tags. If you are allowed to add content, then make sure that page title is in a title tag.
Some people make the mistake of putting the title in H1 tags. They figure that the title is the most important bit, which it is, but the title has its own search engine friendly tags, which are the title tags. You may wish to put your subtitle in H1 tags, unless you have found a better place for your H1 tag (as it is an important one).
5. Add a keyword or two to your title
As a designer, it is your job to make sure the website has title tags. If you are responsible for adding content too, then you need to put a keyword or two into the title.
Do not forget that the search engines are trying to figure out what your website is all about with clues from your website. The clues it looks for are things such as the title, which they figure is going to describe the page. You are within your rights to create an enticing title such as, “I have a secret…” but, it is more search engine friendly if your title has one of your most primary web page keywords in it.
6. The top third of your page is important
In terms of design, it is the top first third of your web page that is the most important. Google used to put a lot of emphasis on the words that appeared in the first third of the page. This seems to have died off a little as they concentrated on content over display. But, now that mobile browsers are so popular and because they often only show the first third of the screen, the top third of the screen has made a come back into fashion.
7. Navigation is all in your hands
The navigation on your website is a big part of making it search engine friendly. It needs to be easy to use, it needs to be fast, and its anchor text needs to be optimized for both users and for search engines. The easier and more effective you make your website navigation, then the better your website’s SEO will be.
8. Create a responsive/dynamic website
This is going to make your website more usable and make it more eligible to rank on mobile search engines. If it is responsive then it may also be seen on mobile devices, which increases its usability and its search engine friendliness.
9. Clean code is a big factor these days
HTML5 has helped to make this even easier than it has ever been before. Clean code means not mixing the HTML code up with anything else. This is difficult, as you want things such as your CSS to load quickly. So, set it as an external resource, and then call to it near the beginning of your HTML page. Just make sure that the web page itself is all HTML.
10. Add in images
Do not be afraid to add in images because you think they may slow down your website loading. Just make sure that the images are optimized, such as turning them into JPEGs and adding keywords into the image titles and ALT tags.