On Site SEO Principals
The following article discusses some of the ways Yarra Web produces search engine friendly web design . Some of these principals are derived directly from Google’s own guidelines and some of them have been deduced from years of practice.
A good way to approach on site SEO is to understand how Google crawls and indexes a website, and what the Google robot (or Googlebot) ‘sees’ when scans a website. When the Googlebot finds your website, it analyses the content and other invisible elements to gain an understanding of the theme of your site so it can index it appropriately in the search results. The invisible elements in your code are often equally if not more important than the content which is written and displayed on a web page. These invisible elements include Meta tags (not so important anymore), content tags and ALT attributes. To ensure the Googlebot finds all these visible and invisible elements and to ensure SEO friendly design you must have:
Clean & Friendly Code
Code can get messy, particularly if it’s been through the hands of a few different developers or simply untidily written. The removal of all unnecessary mark-up is crucial for clean code. Clean code will ensure the Googlebot doesn’t get lost or get stuck somewhere on your page. Friendly code refers to code that can be seen by a Googlebot. The Googlebot can see most things but has trouble with some dynamic pages or media rich files such as Flash. Keep in mind that if your page is a mix of html and media rich content types then the Googlebot may still get caught in a certain section of your site and give up trying to index the rest of your site.
Also keep in mind that while Flash design can look wonderful, it will not display on iPhones or iPads.
In short, we find that if employed correctly Flash is a great medium for delivering your message without affecting your search engine rankings.
Links & Navigation
Links and navigation are important facets of on site SEO. Google pays particular attention to the names of the links throughout your site and where they are linking to. For example, if your site is a web design company in Melbourne then you could benefit if one of your main navigation links is “ web design Melbourne ” . Remember to use your keywords in the links and point them to the pages that you want ranked highly (such as your homepage, or pages to specific products you want to sell).
It is important to describe page content in the URLs of your pages. If you have a page and it can only be named with more than one word, for example a page that sells “toys for dogs”, Google suggests the use of hyphens to split those words in the URL, like this: www.yoursite.com.au/toys-for-dogs. However if your site currently has underscores throughout don’t worry too much, we have found it makes little difference. We also believe it makes little difference if you don’t split the words at all. For example, “yoursite/toysfordogs” and “yoursite/toys_for_dogs” seems to work just as well as “yoursite/toys-for-dogs.html”. However, to be sure we always use hyphens when naming pages that have more than one word.
Keyword Rich Content (but not too rich)
After you have completed your keyword research, remember to include this in your content, and especially in content headings (between H1 tags), page titles, image descriptions and other elements of the page.
It’s important to steer clear of unsafe keywords practices. Keep in mind that you should be writing for a human, not a Googlebot. Google can penalise websites that appear to be written purely for a Googlebot or websites that use bad keyword practices, such as keyword stuffing. One old trick was writing keywords over and over again in the background with the same colour font as the background, so a human couldn’t see it but the search engine could. That trick was picked up well over ten years ago and websites which employed it were subsequently banned.
If you would like to learn more about SEO friendly web design please contact us.
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