When you're optimizing your website for the search engines, content shouldn't be the only factor to keep in mind. While good content plays a big part in getting your website to the top of the search results for relevant keywords, elements of your site's web design can also aid your SEO efforts.
Let's look at a few web design tips that can help ensure your site is fully optimized for search.
Mobile accounts for a significant part of many websites' total traffic: If you don't have a mobile-friendly site, you could be missing out on a lot of clicks and conversions. Responsive web design can enable your site to display properly on screens of all sizes: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Not only will your visitors thank you for having a responsive site, but the search engines will reward you as well. The duplicate content that comes with having separate mobile versions of your site can cause serious problems with your SEO; having a single responsive site helps you avoid this problem.
Search Engine Friendly URL's
When you're planning your site's web design, you have a great opportunity to add certain keywords to the URL of each page; this tactic lets search engines understand what the page is about, which helps the page rank better. Keeping URLS fairly short is another good practice to employ during the web design phase, and using hyphens instead of underscores to separate words in a URL is recommended.
Stay Away From Flash
Too much Flash in your web design can result in a distracting website, and it can also harm your site's SEO. Flash is frequently ignored by the search engines, which makes it harder for your pages to be properly indexed. If you're planning to use Flash elements in your web design, be sure not to use a heavy hand.
Speed Things Up
Websites that load slowly don't rank well in the search engines; they also cause users to lose patience and abandon them. To improve both the user experience and SEO power of your website, play around with different aspects of your web design to optimize load times. Pingdom offers free website speed tests.
With these web design tips in mind, you can make sure your site is poised to rank well in search results right from its launch. Once the fundamental web design elements are in place, you can focus on creating fresh, engaging content and building high-quality links to your site to keep your SEO efforts going.