There are countless variables that SEOs must contend with in order to attain competitive rankings. Getting to number one in the search engine results pages (SERPs) doesn’t require one or two helpful tactics, but numerous tactics and a sound strategy that will help a site battle countless competitors that are actively trying to rank above you.
Start Off Right
Time and time again, SEO can easily become an afterthought and it’s often included only after a website’s design and structure has been finalized. When this happens, SEO and usability could suffer. If rankings and the user experience begins to suffer, so too will conversion rates.
Website design can often impair search engine rankings, and SEO and design should go hand in hand from the start of the development process. If titles, headings, content, navigation, and inner page linking structures are finalized before SEO comes into the process, then the design of the website becomes impaired from the start. These components are keys to SEO and usability, so they should not be discounted or considered last minute.
Don’t Rely Solely on Flash
Flash is another huge topic of debate. Flash content is often praised by clients for its ability to provide visually appealing content and animation. Unfortunately, content developed in Flash is generally not readable by search engine crawlers at this time. While too much flash could pose as a roadblock to search engine rankings, that doesn’t mean websites have to be void of flash completely. A successful website design is one that balances eye-grabbing visual components with search engine friendly HTML and text-based content. The trick is capturing the best of both worlds!
Keep It Structured
Another area that often is left to those designing the website is the URL structure. Once pages are created and named and navigation is in place, it often becomes difficult to overcome poor naming conventions. Again, it’s crucial that SEO is infused in URL structure from the beginning so that keywords can be included not only in high level pages, but also in deeper inner pages.
Embrace CSS Styling
Cascading style sheets or CSS can actually improve the SEO friendliness of a website’s design. If your website is done with tables, there’s no need to fret. But having external CSS can reduce the amount of unnecessary code on each web page of your site, thereby improving load times. This not only appeases users, but it also appeases search engine spiders since it allows spiders to crawl your website at a faster pace.
Give Images Some Attention
Images are always going to be used in some area of your website, and while search engines can’t understand the visual content within an image, that’s not to say images can’t be SEO friendly. Use ‘Alt’ tags to infuse images with textual information. By using a keyword-rich alt tag, search engines get a sense of what an image is about. In addition, other than a website’s logo, try to avoid placing text within images. Instead, use CSS to position text around an image. This will make image sizes smaller and easier to load, and it will also make that text crawlable by search engine spiders.