A dilemma faced by every designer, one which makes him either concentrate on the looks and user experience or solely on SEO. Mostly, a very rich animated design adversely affects a website’s search engine optimization. It is a common mistake to think that the more grandiose the visual appearance of a website, the better the performance in generating traffic to the website. On the contrary, for a site to do well it has to perform soundly in the search engines.
Whether your site is selling fireproof jackets or news to online visitors, it must perform well in search engines to be successful. It’s important to perform a site audit to find design errors that might hurt your website’s SEO.
A highly skilled designer can do brilliant things with a website’s design, but search engine optimization must be taken into consideration when shaping a new look. Designers should work on a team with wire framers, developer, and SEO specialists to create a website formula that will be eye-catching for both viewers and search engines.
Even pre-existing sites, having good SEO tools may have to make reasonable modifications in the process of redesign. This is because changes to a site can severely harm its SEO.
Inclusion of Images instead of valuable elements
Do not use images as your primary form of navigation. User will get involved in admiring the vibrant colors in the pictures instead of figuring out what they are supposed to mean. I’m not saying to use pure text links for navigation.
Using text-over images techniques with cascading style sheets is the best solution to the dilemma between SEO and design. Designers get their pretty, colorful images and SEOs get their juicy text links. Moreover, if using headers replacing texts with images is strictly not recommended. Content that consists of attractive graphics along with texts can look amazing but is not ideal for SEO.
Non-Inclusion of Breadcrumbs
An expertly created breadcrumb trail would surely have a very positive effect on the SEO performance of a site. Text links provide a clear hierarchical routing structure since they are easily interpreted by search engines. It is a common web designing error nowadays to forget about breadcrumbs. In fact they actually enhance the user friendliness of the website.
If properly implemented, breadcrumbs create an internal linking matrix which will greatly improve search engine performance. Flashy java-based breadcrumbs may look cool but nothing performs better than good old-fashioned text links. Use one of your targeted keywords for the page as the anchor text for the breadcrumbs. This will help search engines determine what the web page is trying to talk about.
Not Creating a Mobile Friendly Website
Mobile devices have gained serious popularity nowadays and to have a mobile version of your website is absolutely essential. This leads to a dilemma whether to use a responsive design or create a different mobile site altogether. For SEO needs, it is actually better to use a responsive design according to Google. A mobile version of the website sometimes is unable to perform well and the user can end up with PageRank separated between pages. While using a responsive design just one URL is used, thus such a situation is impossible in this case.
Many web developers still make the age-old mistake of making websites with frames. These websites have not only become obsolete, these aren’t SEO friendly at all. Frames more often than not, hide some valuable content thus making it difficult for search engines to read them. All that nicely written content you spent dozens of hours writing is now buried in the markup by the big, bad frame monster that wants to hide your content from Google.
Framed websites make use of 3 web pages than just one, causing clashes with indexation. A normal website only uses one html file. This causes a major conflict with the indexation of the website and only one file gets indexed properly.
Bad 404 Pages
Owning an effective and humorous 404 page is very necessary as it makes a user feel light and relaxed. Inclusion of the right elements and not just any humorous caption is the real need of SEO. There must be a link to return to the homepage as it not only betters the user expectations but also betters the SEO requirements. Broken internal links often reduce the search rankings of a website.
It’s humorous and has nice graphics, but it also includes global navigation, footer links, and a button to return to the home page. Don’t redirect without doing this, because this simple task is similar to throwing a person over an electric fence then telling them to come back.
If you don’t include links in your 404 page, Google will place more weight on broken links as being a website error during indexation.
Excessive use of Flash
A visually appealing Flash is quite badly indexed by various search engines. A good website, although uses a fair amount of Flash but does not use it for vital navigation and content. It is primarily the choice of the user to prioritize SEO or visual issues. However, HTML5 is very SEO-friendly and its’ content is successfully indexed by Google.
The reason Flash pages create a barrier is that search engines can’t read Flash. You’re basically creating a home page with no content or navigation. This will cause the home page to be indexed improperly, stranding the rest of the website from proper indexation. If you absolutely must have a flash page, then add plenty of textual content and global navigation links in the body of the page.
Bad Video Embedding
Adding video content is a very effective way to hold the audience but it does not help the SEO cause. Custom made Java media players are not easily read by search engines. Again, custom media players are usually done with Java- making it impossible for search engines to read. It may sound a bit tacky, but embedding videos directly from YouTube will give your videos optimal search performance.
Using proper metadata, optimization and embedding from YouTube will create a cinematographic atmosphere that Google can understand. YouTube does convert video files into Java, but Google acquired Youtube and has set up options to make the videos crawlable.