Web design and search engine optimization

If you are a webmaster rather than a web designer, you may be thinking that some of the above elements relate to web-design and should really be a problem for whoever designed your website. The truth, however, are that many professional web-designers still remaining ignorant about what search engine optimization is or what it does. For this reason, web-designers often make the mistake of including design elements that are not search engine friendly. Many of the elements that we tend to associate with „good‟ contemporary web-design actually impede the ability of search engines to spider web-pages as they do not contain a strong textual component that the search engine can read and index.The following list shows a few common design elements that can have a negative impact on search engine ranking:


Flash is a multimedia format devised by Macromedia that allows one to incorporate sound and visuals in web pages. However, search engines find Flash files difficult to read, and it is only now that some search engines are beginning to find ways to extrapolate text from. swf files. Websites that rely heavily on flash for navigation and presentation can find that they do not rank very highly in search engine results.


Java is a high level programming language that allows you to run scripts and applications, or applets, within Java enabled browsers. However, like Flash, search engine spiders still find Java code difficult to read. Websites that use Java for internal linking systems and drop-down menus can impede the ability of search engine spiders to move around your site and locate every page.


Frames are a way of splitting your page into different parts, whereby parts of the page are divided by effectively placing each within their own window. However, search engine spiders can find it difficult to move between frames on a page. For example, instead of quickly locating your main content, the spider may be presented with numerous windows each with the same apparent priority.

Graphic Navigation Systems

Remember that search engines read text not graphics. If your site uses images such as .Gifs or .jpegs for its internal links rather than links with keyword-rich anchor text, you could be missing out on an opportunity to increase the relevancy your pages. Of course, there are benefits to having a well-designed site. Firstly, it may look impressive from a user‟s point of view. Secondly, your site may be user friendly, with a good structure and a navigation system that allows people to quickly locate the information they are looking for. However, these factors are not much use if people can‟t find your site in the first place. You may in fact spend a lot of time and money on web-design only to find that your site ranks poorly in search engine results. This means that the vast majority of Internet users will find it difficult to locate your website. For many companies, this also means that they have to seek professional SEO help even after having already spent lot of money on professional web-design.In general, then, search engine friendly web-design should limit the use of the above design elements, and ensure that web pages contain a strong textual element that search engines can read.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves the visibility of your pages in search engine
results in order to increase the amount of targeted traffic coming to your site.
2. Unlike other systems aimed at gaining greater exposure for your site, SEO works with a
system of free listings that is commonly used by the majority of Internet users.
3. At its most basic level, SEO involves optimizing your pages by making sure that they employ the search terms, keywords, or key phrases that people are most likely to use when searching for your products or services.
4. Search engines read and index the textual content of web pages in order to return relevant results for search queries.
5. In order to optimize your site, you should ensure that the title, Meta tags, heading, and page content of individual web pages are all rich with relevant, targeted keywords.
6. As well as on-page factors, the ranking of web pages is also dependent on the number and quality of external links pointing to a site.
7. Web-design and search engine optimization are not the same thing. Professional webdesigners often include design elements that are not search engine friendly.
8. Search engines find it difficult to read sites that rely too heavily on Flash, JavaScript, or
frames. An optimized web-site should contain a strong keyword-rich textual content that search engines can understand.

By now you should have some idea of the ways in which search engine optimization can benefit your website. By using the methods associated with search engine optimization you can utilize the most popular system of free listings on the Internet, make your web pages appear more visible to everybody, and ultimately bring more visitors and customers to your site - and all without having to spend a penny on further web design or professional SEO help! In the next unit, we will take a further look at how search engines work and at which search engines you should be targeting.

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