While many people are starting to realize that content is the king of search engine optimization, those same people are making devastating mistakes in their website design, making their keyword rich content entirely useless. Regardless of your content, if your site is designed poorly the search engine spiders may not be able to read it, and your visitors probably won’t stay even if they find you. If you want to avoid these costly mistakes, check out the top five tips for search engine friendly web design below.

  1. Graphics are nice, but the search engines cannot read them. Additionally, slow loading graphics and backgrounds can slow down the spiders and cause them to miss the relevant content that is on your website. In fact, you should have at least two hundred to two hundred and fifty words of keyword rich content on every page of your website. If your website is about dogs, and your index page only consists of a picture of dogs with an enter button, you will not get very good search engine rankings.In fact, graphics are not that great for pages of your website for other reasons as well. Once you get people to click on your links, you have to keep them there long enough to fulfill the purpose of your site. Too many graphics or graphics intensive backgrounds will take longer to load, and make people less likely to stick around.
  2. Clear navigation is important if you want the search engine web crawlers, or your site visitors, to see every page of your website. If the spiders sent by the search engines cannot follow a link, they will move on to another site. By the same token, surfers who find poorly navigated sites will simply use their back button on the browser to find another website that is more easily browsed. Remember that web crawlers cannot read graphics. If you use nice looking buttons for your site links and navigation, be sure that you include text links somewhere on every page as well. Additionally, make sure that all of your links work, within and leading away from your website. The more links you have going to and from your website, the higher your rating. But the more broken links you have the more likely that no one will ever see your website but yourself.
  3. Make your content easy to read and keyword rich. If you use fonts that look good in your editor but are impossible to read on your website, your site visitors may not stick around, and the search engine crawlers may not be able to recognize the text. You should also be careful to stay away from keyword stuffing, as this is considered spam by the search engines. Instead, use your keywords and phrases appropriately, spaced out throughout your website content.
  4. Use metatags correctly! If you do not know what these are, you need to surf to an HTML 101 website immediately. The title tag is one of the most important tags, as this one tells the search engine crawler what you website is. The description tag is the text that will appear when your site is listed with the search engine. Finally, the keyword tag is the words that the search engine will expect to see in relation to your website. All three of these metatags should be as search engine optimized as the rest of your website. The keywords tag should include a minimum of sixty keywords and phrases, including common misspellings of the most essential keywords relating to your website. Your title and description tags should be interesting, informative, and should also contain your keyword or phrase once or twice within each section.
  5. Avoid flash or frames in your web pages. Not only are these two features somewhat irritating to most surfers, the search engine crawlers cannot read anything within them. These features will make your pages slow to load, drive away the search engines, and cause your site visitors to disappear by the dozen. You should avoid them at all costs.