Can’t We All Just Get Along? What Designers Need to Know About SEO
It’s not uncommon that web designers and search engine optimizers disagree about approaches for design based on their concentrations. On the one hand, web designers want to ensure a smooth, enjoyable and functional user experience on the website. On the other hand, search engine optimizers want to ensure that the website can be found by searchers, driving traffic into the well-designed site. But good SEO doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good design. So how can we break down theses disagreements and find a happy medium that fulfills both goals?
1. Don’t poke the bear.
In this scenario, the bear is Google. In other words, don’t anger Google by going against Google’s webmaster guidelines. As a designer, you certainly want your design and your website seen, so don’t risk being de-listed from Google because you failed to follow their directions. Bing also has webmaster guidelines, but generally they are pretty similar to Google’s. These rules are fairly straightforward, so incorporate them into your design plans.
2. Make sure search engine robots can index your site.
3. Give them rich content to read and build a solid structure.
When you plan out your website’s site map, consider how the information should be structured. Avoid having very long pages that go into several topics, and instead break those pages up into specific topic pages. Ensure that the content you add to those pages (regardless of content type; i.e., video, text, images) is robust (not just one line on a page).
And don’t take shortcuts by copying the content of others – not only does this constitute copyright infringement, but Google may not list these pages because of its war on duplicate content, known as the Panda algorithm updates.
4. Trust data.
SEOs rely on data. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to dissect search engine algorithm updates and determine the best course of action. So learn to trust data. And learn to trust your SEO counterpart. SEOs don’t want to ruin good design… we just want to be sure that people find it! So don’t fear data… absorb it and learn from it. It will help you to refine your design and usability to keep visitors on your site longer and reaching your common goal of conversion.
Learn how to build and design your website with SEO in mind.
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