Awareness of SEO among Web Designers

Awareness of SEO among Web Designers

Introduction

This blog will educate us on simple SEO techniques to improve visibility of web pages for different search engines especially for Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Most of the designers who are specialist in writing codes have vague knowledge about SEO. This blog will bring awareness of SEO among the designers.Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, in many ways they still can’t see and understand a web page the same way as a human does. SEO helps the engines to figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.

Importance of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an activity of optimizing Web pages or whole sites, allowing a site to get more traffic and make them more search engine friendly, thus getting higher positions in search results. SEO is not subjected only to online marketers; it involves the web designers too. As a web designer or frontend developer, most on-site SEO is our responsibility.

To quote the words of Rand Fishkinco-founder of art of SEO says,

“Design doesn’t matter; it’s just 50% of the battle.”

SEO is also a value-added service. As a web designer/developer we can sell our SEO skills as an extended service.

SEO ZOO:

Google often updates and changes their algorithm in order to improve organic search. The most recent animal themed updates are as follows:

algorithm

  • Penguin – Targeting Links

Targeting webspam, introduced to punish sites with low quality links.

  • Panda – Targeting Content

Targeting webpages, introduced to punish sites which uses poor quality duplicated or very little quality content.

  • Humming Bird – New Google algorithm

A completely new google algorithm aimed at making search cleaner, faster and more accurate.
Google has created these algorithms to give us a brief overview of how it rates the website; hence we have to keep in mind these algorithms while designing a website to make it SEO friendly.

Types of SEO:

  • On-Site SEO: The things that we can do on our site, such as: HTML markups, target keywords, internal linking, site structure, etc.
  • Off-Site SEO: The things that we have much less control of, such as: how many back links we get and how people link to our site.

Prevalence of SEO in HTML (On-Site SEO):

There are many tactics to optimize site pages for on-page SEO, to rank each of our web pages. Here are some of the important tactics for on-page SEO:

User – Friendly URLs:

It is important that your websites URLs are relevant and simple on your website. The web designers should select the URL and file names in such a manner that search engines quickly identify what a page is really about. Also the URL and filenames should be easy so that it can be conveniently remembered by the users. It is considered as the good tactic to include keywords in the URL as this increases Search Engine visibility and hence raise the ranking of the website. It is suggested to avoid any special characters in the URL. Make them memorable, logical, and easy to type, human-centric, and long-lived.

For example: www.domain.com/services/web-services.php

Meta Description:

Meta description tags, may not be important to search engine rankings, but are extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs. The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters with no duplication.
The best examples of meta descriptions and how search engines use them come from search engines themselves. Let’s look at Google’s own meta description for starters.

It is exactly 159 characters, including spaces. Google’s meta description is displayed as follows in the top three search engines.

In Google…

googleTitle Tag:

Our page title should be readable, short,crisp, feature the most important keywords, and most importantly relevant to the article. This will definitely improve the search engine rankings and ensure a higher click-through rate.

The maximum width of the title tag should not exceed 512 pixels which is 55 to 60 characters. Keep the title short, simple and readable.

The page title should feature the keyword at least once, so make sure to create that space for the keyword. Title tag should accurately describe the content of the page. Avoid keyword stuffing.

Image Alt Tags:

Include Image Alt Tags on images for each individual page on the site. Adding alt tags to images will allow them to be correctly indexed by search engines. Make sure to use strong keywords in alt tags for best SEO results.

Heading Tags:

Heading tags are still one of the key factors google uses to decipher what the page content is about. Make the keyword friendly and reflective of the page’s title tag.

Each page should have one – and only one – H1 tag. H1 tag indicates the main topic of page, and should be the first element on the page.

Use keywords in the header tags (H2, H3, etc.), as well as in H1 tag, when it’s logical and natural to do so. The key is keeping it natural and helpful.

Redirects:

It is important to implement 301 & 302 redirects where ever necessary.

  • 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect, is also known as a permanent redirect, should be put in place to permanently redirect a page. The word ‘permanent’ is there to imply that ALL qualities of the redirected page will be passed on to the detour page.
The old page will be removed from Google’s index replaced by the new one.

redirects

  • 302 Redirect

A 302 redirect, is also known as a temporary redirect, should be put in place if we want to redirect our site visitors into another webpage but the plan is to bring the redirected page back after some time. Knowing this, the 302 redirect will not pass on all qualities of the redirected page to the detour page.

Keyword Density:

Including relevant keywords throughout the content is very important, as it helps search engines work out what the content is exactly about. However, do not repeat and overuse keywords just for search engine robots. This can lead to the site being banned from search engines.

To avoid this, try to keep keyword density to roughly 2-5%. If this is hard,  broaden the writing vocabulary by using a thesaurus. This way, we are still writing about the same thing, without risk of being banned.

Sociability:

Add social media buttons to encourage readers to share website’s content on their profiles. Websites with social signals can get better rankings in search engines.

Search engines base their decision on ranking sites, by how many people share their content on social media websites. They also base their decisions on how many people tweet their messages, like their messages on Facebook or Plus 1 on Google.

sociability

Sitemap:

Sitemaps help search engines find the content of the website. Once found, search engines will rank the content for specific keyword searches, which allows searchers to find our website.  As we update our sitemaps, search engines find out about new content on our website quickly. In addition, sitemaps allow search engine robots to find content that is deeper within our website, and usually harder to find and index.  This assures that search engines see all the content on our website.

Sitemap Submission

Once we’ve create a sitemap, we may wish to submit the sitemap to the major search engines:

  1. Submit the sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools (requires login)
  2. Submit the sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools (requires login)

webmster

Blog Integration:

A blog offers numerous social and SEO benefits. Blogs are very effective as the hub in a “hub and spoke” social media content model. The promotion of that model might be Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Foursquare and other social media sites the customers are participating on.

Blog posts can focus on answering Frequently Asked Questions and topics of interest to customers. Create categories for each area of focus to serve as an editorial guide.

Schedule posts in advance to save time and encourage staff to comment and promote the blog on any other social sites the company is involved with.

Conclusion

As web designers, we should know how to design SEO friendly websites. The clients will assume that we are taking SEO into account as part of general web designing. Mere 79 vs 779 visits per month are significant and perhaps the client is doing a website in hopes of getting lots of traffic. Hence onsite SEO is a requirement that should be discussed with the client. Websites should be beautiful but they also act as marketing tools.

Keeping these 10 onsite factors for SEO concepts in mind, while starting a web design project, we can help our client or company rank high in search engines and be more successful.

Reference

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