SEO Tips for Designers
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a important component of any website. As a web designer or graphic designer, it’s important you understand how SEO works. There is in fact a serious lack of resources for designers who don’t know about SEO out there. Here are some easy SEO NJ tips for designers that will immediately improve the SEO on all of your websites.
Tip 1: Do Not Cheat
Do you think you could outsmart a room full of genius scientists with PHDs? No. Google has many genius scientists with PHDs, and their job is to work tiring hours a week to make sure you can’t fool Google. No matter, what you do, you can’t outsmart them. Just ignore trying to cheat Google and focus on making a web site with great content, and your site will show up fine in the search engine.
Tip 2: Use Your Keywords
Pick some keywords or phrases that describe your website. Use words related to them, whenever it’s natural to do so. Repeating keywords is no good, use them in headlines, sentences and links.
Tip 3: Yes, Content is King
Users search for content. If your website doesn’t have the content people want, then no one will look at it. It’s that simple.
Each page should lead with a relevant H1 tag with one of your keywords, and the first paragraph of text should be a summary of the rest of the page.
Tip 4: Clean Code is Searchable Code
Build your website and write clean and readable HTML. It should follow the conceptual structure of your page, this means navigation is first, followed by the H1 tag, then the first paragraph. Try to use descriptive tags when possible. For example using UL for lists, P for paragraphs, H tags for heads and STRONG for bolded text.
Your site can still look great, this is why you CSS.
Tip 5: Home Page is the Most Important Page
The home page is the secret to your website being found by Google. It has to summarise the rest of the site, and give a clear, compelling reason for a user to look at the other pages in the site. It needs to sell your product or company, see it like a advert. You have one shot only to attract the buyer.
Tip 6: Links Need to Have Meaning
Search engines do pay a lot of attention to the links on your website. Never use words like “click here” or “see more” for a link. The link text needs to describe where the link will take the user, for example “examples of CSS web design” or “learn how you can improve your SEO.”
The more relevant the links on a page, the easier to find the page becomes. Don’t go overboard, and don’t link to anything irrelevant.
Tip 7: Title Tags
Every page in your website should have a title with the site name and a short description of the page. About 70 letters in total. Include one keyword. Remember the page title is what appears in Google’s search results, it should give your user a reason to click on it.
Your navigation links should have title attributes that match the titles of your pages. This looks like <a title=”name of page” href=”link”>. It’s a small thing, but it will give you a significant SEO improvement.
Tip 8: Alt Tags Do Matter
Every image on your website needs to have an alt tag, especially images that are relevant to the page. If your page is focused on clothes for example, then label a screenshot “car for sale”, this will improve your page’s searchability. Labelling it “Pic-001” or “image” will not help.
Tip 9: Ignore Meta Tags
A long time ago meta tags were the secret to good searchable SEO. Those days are behind us now. The only meta tag that really matters now is the description tag. Some search engines may use it to provide the text under the link to your page in their results, but make sure it describes the page in a way that explains why a user searching for your content would want to look at your page.
Tip 10: Must have a Site Map
Just make sure you have a site map. This is an xml file that describes the breakdown of pages in your website. Make one, and upload it to Google.
Just remember that search engines are designed to find what a user want. This means the best way to make your site findable is to design it for a dummy (make it dummy proof). Your job as a web designer is to solve a problem, not make art, or feed your ego.
Your problem is to provide your users with a website that is easy to use and have helpful information for what they’re looking for. If you can do that, then the search engines will find you.
I recommend this page also SEO Guide for Designers.