A Basic Guide to Website Designing for Search Engines
Designing a website today is not just about building static pages and boosting online presence by stuffing metadata and content with keywords. The search engines have made tremendous adjustments and improvements to their algorithms making it not just as easy as it were to climb to the top of search engine result pages (SERP).
In building website to achieve SEO gains, it is important that you never forget that the search engines are evolving. What works and are acceptable today may not be accepted tomorrow. So you muct be properly guided to adopt the best and safest practices so you are not hit by any future changes to the search engine algorithm.
Search engines today are interested in your website structure and how well that makes your website visitors easy to navigate through. They are interested in the mobile friendliness of your website, how error free your website is thereby making website users happy, that is what is commonly referred to as user experience. The bottom line is search engines are very interested in website quality and want to see that only quality websites make it to the top of their searches.
Ultimately, in building a website today, you need to win the heart of search engines as well as your users. Ironically, you can't really win the heart of search engines if you can't win the heart of your users. So if your website bounce rate is high, the time people spend on your website is low, people's review of your website are awful and you get dominantly poor rating, the search engines will not keep you at the top of their searches and even if you managed to get there, you will not be able to sustain the top position.
Having said that, you also need to understand that search engines work with spiders.
Because the success of your website will significantly depend on its position in the search engines, and so to impress the search engine spiders you need some clue on what impresses them and how to implement that on your website.
This post focuses on how you implement that on your website. We can assure you that if you get it right, you will certainly make it to the top and that will be your success story.
What Search Engines Love About Websites
Search engines read texts and cannot comprehend images, colours or graphics. So when you think of website content, you should be very concerned about the text content and not just the images. Infographics and other image forms can convey a lot of meaning enhance understanding and the amount of time people dwell on your website but texts are key in assessing website quality.
It's been suggested that web pages should run as much as 1,500 words to get the nod of Google for quality. This have to be goood content, well organised content that significantly covers the subject matter.
Because the search engines do not understand images, it is recommended that images should include alternate description texts to help search engines understand them and rank them in its results.
So, while it a good idea to beautify your website with images, search engine friendly designs should focus on text content and less of graphic images, avoid flash remember to include keywords in your content development.
Pay Attention to Page Title
The most conspicuous and outstanding content on your page is its title. Web crawlers are most attracted by page title and website designers try to take advantage of this by matching page titles with search keywords. But this has become a poor strategy following the launch of Google Panda and Penguin updates. You can be penalized if you use exact matches of highly competitive keywords especially for your homepage.
In constructing your titles, we recommend you keep it between 30 and 60 characters, it should contain the keywords for which you want to rank and should avoid duplicated keywords.
Please note that a fantastic title is not all you need to rank well. Do not assess your website based on what worked 10 years ago. A lot have changed and the search engine spiders consider a lot of other factors outsite the page title to rank websites.
According to Moz:
Meta tags provide information about the webpage in the HTML of the document. This information is called "metadata" and while it is not displayed on the page itself, it can be read by search engines and web crawlers. ... Example of meta tags include the <title> and <description> elements.
Basically these include the page title itself, description and keywords. Google says the keyword metatag is no longer useful in ranking websites. probably due to its abuse by SEOs who stuff content with keywords for which they want to rank. What is important is to build in targeted keywords into your content. Because Google has said it does not actually use the keyword metatags in page ranking, we need not bother so much with keywords anymore.
Links are categorized broadly into internal and eternal links. Internal links are links to pages on your website while eternal links, as the name implies, are links to your websites from an external websites. External links also imply links to other websites from your own website. The later does not carry much weight but when your website makes reference to websites that are high in quality, it also speaks of its own quality as a website that is not associated with poor quality websites.
Links carry strong weight in terms of ranking factors. Getting links from high quality websites can be very rewarding because they are the most difficult to obtain. We have covered how to get quality external links in the article: 4 Ways to Build Quality Backlinks to Your Website
Header tags are used by Google to identify keywords to which you attach strong importance. It is a good practice to have different header tags on the page. The importance decrease as you move from H1 to H2, H3 down to H6 headers.
Having headers will tell the search engines how much you attach to different keywords. The H1 header is taken to have much weight than the H2 headers and so on..
Work With Information
Because spiders read algorithms and do not take in whole pages into account, as Google's John Mueler pointed out, Google does not need to crawl all pages to assess and determine page quality. So, be news savvy and place the most important information first. Titles, headers, and the introductory paragraphs must present the essentials.
SEO is competitive and so you must strive to outdo the competition. Whatever the competition does better could give them an advantage and put them ahead.
Keep in Touch With Google Updates
Conscious of the fact that Google is constantly updating their algorithm, their policies and quality guidelines, you need to keep up with these guidelines to comply with Google's rules and get a tap from Google which will always be rewarded with better rankings.
Keep up with the technical advancements in the way search engines examine materials. Read through guidelines of major search engines, as well as blogs and forum devoted to SEO and spiders.
Once your page designed is completed, think about using a search engine simulator to evaluate your pages. See: www.webconfs.com/search-engine-spider-simulator.php you can add the tool to your website. The report will clarify where you need to make any changes.
A search engine simulator will also help you determine whether hyperlinks in your pages are "real." Experts recommend using tags instead of java script based menus. Try and limit hyperlinks to less than 100 and check that they do not lead to 403 Forbidden or 404 Page Not Found pages. Spiders do not deal with such errors and your pages will not get indexed.
What any search engine spider does is that is crawls the web and indexes pages in any given database. The spider makes use of algorithms to determine page ranking and relevancy of indexed pages.
Be SEO savvy and select keywords that search engines will find. Tools like Keyword Playground and Website Key Word Suggestions will help greatly. Avoid dynamic pages and if you have them then run them through the spider simulator to check if dynamic pages are accepted. Get your Meta Keywords and Meta Descriptions Right these are the delicacies a spider relishes. They are the cornerstones of page ranking and relevance in the "eyes" of any spider.
When planning a web site and its pages keep in mind at all times " the spider." This will help you develop pages that are search engine friendly.