There’s been an ongoing debate happening in the wide world of web – Web Design vs. SEO. Web design agencies create the beautiful websites that tend fall short in search rankings, while SEO agencies are strategic in the content they provide websites, but the overall design doesn’t look as easy on the eyes.

Not many web design companies can actually offer both services – creating a beautiful, functional web design that’s created with SEO in mind and fully optimized for search engines. Web designers must be extremely adept in knowing where to place content so that it can be found while creating a marvelous overall look and feel simultaneously.

Dabbling in both arenas as a digital media agency, we wanted to share a few things we learned about incorporating SEO in overall web design.

Absolutely No Flashing 

We’ll find a couple of these every once in a while. While Flash sites offer opportunities to create cool moving objects, bells, and whistles, with mobile devices not being able to support flash, they only annoy users and can be extra costly for businesses. In addition, search engines have an extremely hard time crawling Flash websites to find out what they’re all about. Using Flash for any kind of navigation is old and bad news for both design and SEO.

CSS or Javascript are two options that can provide any of the fancy stuff you had in mind without sacrificing your search engine rankings.

Externalize Scripts 

Making sure you externalize all that Javascript and CSS jumble in another place could help SEO tremendously. The code makes websites look great, but if not externalized, could add few lines to the overall HTML document. Since search engines view a website through the HTML document, including extra code could make it hard for them to crawl a site and mask any content. Search engines love finding content as soon as possible without any obstacles.

Take Advantage of URLs 

The best URLs are the ones that are clear and help describe the content. Pay attention to content management systems that produce numbers or special code in the URL slug such as www.website.com/3943490/blog-3434. Good content systems will allow you to edit and customize the URL to your liking.

Don’t Ignore Image Alt Tags

Including descriptions for all of images help improve search engine rankings. Take advantage of this. Search engines will read alt attributes while they’re crawling a site, which could help them determine the relevancy of the site for user search queries. Image alt tags rank high in image search engines like Google Images as well.

Make sure image tags are consistent. If you’re writing a blog post for example, have all the images included in the post provide the same keywords across the board.

Use Content That Bots Can Read 

Content is the lifeblood of any website. It’s what search engines feed on to determine the type of site. Make sure the designer is taking into account the structure of the content (headings, subheadings, paragraphs, links) when creating websites as this helps break up the content so that it’s easier to read.

Websites that provide very little content have hard time getting a high search ranking. This can be easily avoided by taking care of content before the website is even designed. A good designer will work with the content to pin down where to place it all to make it easily to read by both users and bots.

And Keep That Content Fresh

If a website has a page that’s constantly updated with new content, such as a blog, this can be a great opportunity to rank high. Fresh content keeps websites up-to-date and it’s what search engine bots love to find. It shows that the website is being tended to, that’s it is updated, active, and alive. With new content marketing comes high frequency of rankings and social sharing.

Pay Attention to Meta Data 

Every page on a website should have its own page titles, descriptions, and keywords. Many times designers will build inside pages without thinking to change out meta data, hindering search engines from getting a good grapple on the overall structure of the website.

Be sure that web designers change out the meta data for each page instead of leaving the original placeholder information.

A great website design isn’t just about the look of a websites. Like any great dynamic duo, beautiful design and SEO go hand-in-hand to accomplish optimum web marketing success. A business that is looking for fame and gain online can benefit from a design company that can incorporate both.

For more tips on how to build or enhance an overall web presence, download our ebook below!

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