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WEB DEVELOPMENT

More Than Just Looks. How Your Web Design Can Hurt Your SEO
By: Katie Gatto
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    2010-02-22

    Table of Contents:
  • More Than Just Looks. How Your Web Design Can Hurt Your SEO
  • Expecting Content Behind a Log on to Count in Your Rankings
  • Relying on Sidebars
  • Other Common SEO Pitfalls

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    More Than Just Looks. How Your Web Design Can Hurt Your SEO


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Are you building your website for humans or the search engines? Ideally, you're designing your website to accommodate your human visitors, but you shouldn't overlook the spiders that come to visit. Keep reading to learn how to please both kinds of visitors.

    Web design is a vital part of creating a great site. Whether you do it yourself or choose to hire a professional to design your site, you have a lot to think about. Designing a solid site is about getting into your user's head. You have to see through their eyes to properly assess which color combinations will be most attractive to the user. You will also need to consider the layout from your end user's point of view. It will effect everything from font to pattern. If you have done this job well, then the people who find your site will enjoy it.

    Of course, you may have forgotten one type of visitor. They may actually be the kind that visits your site most frequently and most thoroughly. We are talking, of course about the bots of search engines. As they crawl your site and catalog it in their index, design becomes a factor. Your web design can either make things much easier or much harder for a search engine ranking visitor.

    While search engine ranking bots may not be your primary audience, it is worth taking them into consideration -- if for no other reason than because they can help you to get the human visitors that you crave.

    That is why today we are going to talk about how you can avoid some of the common web design pitfalls that can cause you to have a serious SEO issue on your site.

    Having a flash intro

    Flash is a great way to add multimedia to your site. Human visitors like, and more frequently are coming to expect, video to be part of a site. Trying to meet those expectations is a good thing in general, and a search engine won’t penalize you for it.

    If, however you start with a flash video or script, you can cause a search engine bot to stop dead in its tracks. Once it comes to a dead end like this, it will leave the site. If your flash is at the beginning of the page, that means you run the risk of not having any of your site indexed by the search engine.

    Some possible solutions to this problem include:

    • Skipping the flash intro on your site completely.

    • Make your flash intro optional. If you have ever seen a site with a splash page that allows you to choose between “enter with flash intro” and “enter plain text site,” then you are familiar with this option. Yes the engine will dead end at the flash intro, but it can also follow the plain text option to index your site.

    • Make a site map that a bot can index in lieu of your main page. Link to it at the top of the page.

    Any of these choices will give you what you need from an SEO perspective, and two of them allow you to still keep your snazzy flash intro.

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