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SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tips For Web Design

Web designers can do so much for themselves, their clients and their businesses by incorporating the following SEO tips…

1) Make sure your URL’s are as SEO friendly as possible.
Avoid all those “=” and “?” marks. Use mod re-write to re-create these URL’s to a more seo friendly format. Also, if the URL includes the keyword phrase for that page, that’s extra bonuses!

2) Keyword research should be the absolute basis of any website design project. It should be the very first thing that you do with your client. You’ll be surprised how many more pages and information you’ll be able to get from your client if you can show them what their target audience is looking for.

3) Use semantic tags on every website page. If you’re not familiar with these tags, read this list of semantic tags outlining all the semantic tags. These are not tags that are used in the section, instead, these are tags used within the body of text. They’re very helpful with search engines and how they understand the content of your website pages.

4) Avoid using flash for your navigation, if possible. I know, I know, you want to show your client your flash design, beautiful menus, etc, but the truth is search engines still have trouble reading flash files and they simply will not follow the links from the navigation menu if it’s written in flash.

5) Don’t forget the alt tags on your images. They should be not only descriptive of the image but use the keyword phrase for the page as well.

6) If you use an image to replace text – know that the search engines will not count the text in that image towards the text of the page. So if you think you can use an image instead of an <h1> tag – you’re doing a dis service to your client.

7) Optimize your graphics. You want the pages to load as quickly as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I leave a website only because it’s loading slowly.

8) Use anchor text links within the content of the site. In other words, if you have one page focused on the phrase “divorce attorney” – within the content of a website page (other than the one marketing the phrase “divorce attorney”) you want to try and refer to the divorce attorney page by using the phrase “divorce attorney” and hyperlinking it to that page.

9) Make sure the hosting company has a 301 re-direct set up (usually they’re 200 redirects). The issue is that with a 200 re-direct, the search engines actually index 2 websites instead of one. One version that’s indexed is with the www and the second version that’s indexed is without the www. So, www.abc.com and abc.com are indexed as 2 separate websites. The problem with this is that the search engines see duplicate content. Both websites are exactly the same. It’s so simple to ensure a 301 re-direct, it just doesn’t make sense NOT to use it.

10) Don’t use or tags unless they’re on the keyword phrases for the website page. These tags give the phrase that they’re on some extra points (in the eyes of the search engines) so use the CSS styling instead.

So, for the web designers out there, do yourself a favor and give your business an edge by offering SEO services with your web design skills. Your clients will benefit greatly from it! If you can’t find the time to learn or implement these techniques, then contact a reputable SEO firm that can work with you.

posted by Justin Jung, SEO Consultant

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