When you’re ready to hand over your site’s website design and SEO strategy to a third party, you have to do so with confidence that the company you use is versed in the latest techniques (For more information, check out our article on Shopping For a Web Provider: Ask These Questions). With Google having changed the game in the last year with several important algorithm updates, many website design companies have fallen behind the trend. Companies still using blatant “black hat” techniques, poor content, and keyword stuffing are finding themselves pushed down the SERPs as fast as they rose in the first place. This might be fine for churn and burn strategists, but it’s far from OK for businesses establishing a long term web presence. If you want to incorporate website design that’s friendly to both users and search engines, make sure you are on the cutting edge of SEO strategy.
Site speed has been an important component of user friendliness since the advent of the Internet, but it has only recently become a factor in Google’s PageRank criteria as well. Now, not only can you improve your bounce rate by speeding up your content, you could improve your position in the rankings as well. Site speed is one of those concepts affected by factors both on and off the page. Upgrading your web hosting plan to a dedicated server will almost certainly shave valuable time off your loading speed, but that is an expensive step to take. A far more economical approach is to reduce the clutter.
- Cut down on your images and videos. These play well into the user experience, but too much of a good thing can bring your website to a crawl.
- Eliminate unnecessary Flash and Java components. Even users with fast connections will face slowdowns when confronted with these elements.
- Drop autoplay features. Not only is this bad website design, it can slow your website considerably.
Improve Your Content
For years, website strategy was divided into two camps. There were the long term marketers who spent time, money, and effort building up the best websites possible to attract users organically. Then there was the second camp, filled with people using content only as a place to sprinkle keywords. With Google’s Panda updates, the first camp was rewarded while the second camp scrambled for cover. Content is now of paramount importance when it comes to website design and SEO strategy, so make sure your site has the stuff that will bring users back.
Are You Linkable?
This is a mistake many website designers make when they start focusing on filling their sites with excellent content. The unfortunate truth is that it doesn’t really matter how good or bad your content is if Google can’t see it. Examples of unlinkable content include certain slideshow types, certain types of flash media, locked articles accessible only to subscribers, and content specifically marked as unshareable. If you want to advance in the rankings, make sure you have plenty of good content and make sure that people can actually find it!
If you would like more information about effective SEO Website design, or for a free consultation, please contact Scale or give us a call at 501-683-7229. We also have a great video on SEO Tips for New Websites!