“Websites don’t link to other websites. People point to other people’s work.”
-Lyndon Antcliff, Comwall SEO.

Throughout our SEO series we’ve constantly stressed that you need to design for the user– not the search engines. This is because ultimately, SEO practices and the web as a whole are driven by the people who use them. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind who you are designing for in order to effectively communicate the messages you’re trying to convey through your website. Thus far we have covered: Keywords, content, metatags, links and Domains. In this final volume we will discuss the last element of SEO website design: Visual Accessories.

Visual Accessories

Unlike the other categories we’ve previously discussed added visual accessories do not do much to help the SEO of your website. However, they are often used to spice up a dull design, so we will instead focus on how you can make sure it doesn’t hinder your search engine ranking results.

Images in Text
Not all browsers are the same, neither are all monitors. This means colors will be displayed differently, layout will change slightly and text will appear in different typefaces and fonts across the board. With this in mind, it’s important that you check the design of your website in multiple browsers to make sure it’s compatible. One of the safest things you can do in addition is fill out the tags of your images. This will serve as a placeholder for any images that cannot be displayed and give search engines something to read instead of an image.

Podcasts & Videos
The ability to share combined visual and audio information via the web is one of it’s most important mediums. These features, however, cannot be read by search engines so they will not help the SEO of your site. The good news is, it won’t hurt it either. News sites often compensate for this by including the transcript of the podcast or video along with it (see the above TED video).

Frames
This web page development item is probably the worst thing you could include on your page. Whenever possible avoid frames because they cannot be properly read by search engines. Frames are often used to make a long body of text fit into a smaller, more aesthetically pleasing area, but the price you pay in sacrificing your SEO far outweighs any design benefits you may have so it’d be best to leave it out.

Flash Animation
Much like an image, a flash animation can be given an alternative textual description. However, Flash cannot be viewed on any type of mobile device- including the iPad. Flash is usually used by big name companies that do not need SEO services because they are already so popular that people will go out and find them on their own. If you’re not a celebrity or Fortune 500 company, think wisely about whether mobile device users make up a large percentage of your target audience before including this on your site.

Flash Home Page
Unless your a widely recognized brand or person, avoid building your homepage or any complete section of your site in flash at all costs. This will not allow your site to be indexed at all and could possibly result in your website not appearing in the search engine rankings. Alternatively, if you are not interested in SEO, our website design firm can build a flash website for you and a simplified mobile device friendly site.

Javascript
This type of coding is neither good or bad for SEO if used correctly (which is a good thing!) Javascript enables you to use more visually appealing animation and effects without reversing all the SEO you’ve already completed. This serves as an excellent alternative to Flash based elements on your page.

As we wrap up our final installment of How to Master the Art of SEO we, at Urban Geko, hope you are a few steps closer towards helping your website become more SEO friendly! Now that you have a general overview of what SEO website design entails, feel free to call our Design firm  if you would like it professionally done for your site. We offer structural organic SEO services when we begin building our site as well as monthly SEO services that will keep your site fresh and high ranking on the search engines. Give us a call and we can give you a free quote today!

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