Throughout my time in the SEO industry, I’ve come to find that there can be a huge disconnect between web designers and SEOs in terms of how to go about best optimizing a site for the client’s needs. Most designers that I’ve worked with don’t really know much about SEO, and that’s ok because in reality, their job is to design, not optimize. However, I can guarantee that by learning a few simple SEO tips as a designer, you will become much more marketable to your clients. Most importantly, it will be that much easier for you to work with the SEO professional that might have a hand in your client’s site also.
1. Flash is Bad
We all know that Flash can create some pretty awesome websites. But if you want to give your client any hope of having not just a good-looking site, but a successful site as well, don’t use Flash. Sites built in Flash are essentially invisible to search engines, as they can only read, or “crawl” sites that are built with HTML content and images. In SEO terms, optimizing content is one of the most important things you can do for a site to help it ranking better in search engines. So if your client is, or you think might be, at all interested in optimizing their site at some point, it’s best to choose an alternate design strategy.
2. Avoid Frames
Just like Flash, search engines see sites that are built with frames as having nonexistent content. Even though the title tags and meta descriptions can be optimized, there’s really no hope to have the page content recognized by search engine.
3. Create Clean Page URLs
Creating clean page URLs when the site is first designed will eliminate a lot of nightmares in the future. Instead of creating URLs that look like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/h?=klg%, create clean URLs that look like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/services. Make sure that each page’s URL can accurately explain what that page is about. This is extremely valuable for both SEO as well as the site’s visitors.
4. Create Singular Version of Each URL
While it might not seem like a big issue, having the same web page found under different versions of a URL can be a really negative factor for a site in terms of SEO. For example, the home page of a site might be found under http://www.yourdomain.com, http://yourdomain.com, and http://www.yourdomain.com/index.html. Search engines view each of these as separate pages that have duplicate content, which is another cardinal sin of SEO. To avoid linking complications in the future, it’s best to create domain consistency for your site from the very beginning.