Design your Website to be SEO Friendly from the Start
Many designers overlook how they can make their websites more SEO friendly by including optimization techniques. In fact, search engine optimization really needs to begin from the domain name selection, but that’s another story. While it’s true that keyword density, META tags and backlinks are important SEO tasks; the way a website is designed along with the layout also play an important role.
Just as social media has changed the landscape of marketing, SEO is changing the way webmasters look at their designs. This is not just about functionality, but for visitor usability and search engine spider/robot access.
Web designers have many different options today that were not available a few years ago. The challenge is to temper the creative urge with the reality of what is necessary for the website to succeed. However, you don’t have to sacrifice your design sense to incorporate the strategies that make your website SEO friendly.
Implementing these techniques during the designing process can improve the effectiveness of your SEO tasks after the website goes live. Designing a SEO friendly website may not be a new idea, but these suggestions are well worth repeating.
The Need for Speed: Website Visitors Can be Gone in 6 Seconds
To reach the goal of making your website SEO friendly, measuring your Page Load Time is the first most important test a web designer can perform on a new website; Pingdom.com and WebPageTest.org both provide free tools and comprehensive analysis for this task. The amount of time it takes a page to fully load in the browser will be the first thing a website visitor will notice. Just a couple of years ago, 6 seconds was acceptable, but not any more: now the time has been reduced to 3 seconds… or less. Okay, so how can you get the job done?
At the top of the list is to host your domain with a provider who has servers in various geographical locations for Load Balancing. This technique is used to distribute the workflow consistently across networks and computers. Load balancing provides optimal resource utilization with a minimum response time to prevent overloading a single server. For example, imagine you are in Argentina and visit www.mrmail.com. In the typical web hosting scenario, your request would only go directly to the server where the MrMail domain is hosted. With load balancing in play the website would be hosted on multiple servers, and your browser request would be directed to MrMail’s server closest to you, reducing the browser response time dramatically. Here are a few more tips:
- Check and recheck your code, then clean it up and compress it: remove unnecessary elements and white space as much as possible
- Use image sprites whenever possible
- Use the best format for the type of image PNG files are usually 3x as large as JPG.
- Keep your image size small and compress them
- Avoid flash based landing pages and navigation items
Is Your Website SEO Friendly?
Take an objective tour of your website using the reference points given above. Then talk to your web hosting provider about whether or not they employ Load Balancing and if so find out what you need to do to maximize the benefit from it.
Up next: Navigation and Internal Linking