Every website maker faces a key dilemma sometimes or the other, whether their site should focus on exceptional User Experience (UX) and Design or solely on SEO. Many a times, a very rich animated design adversely affects a website’s search engine optimization. It is a common misbelieve that a fabulous appearing website is sure to attract a large number of visitors. On the contrary, for a site to do well it has to perform soundly in the search engines.
However, most web designers tend to neglect SEO practices as it limits their scope for design. Actually, there is no obligation to hold back on your design skills in order to optimize the site. Web designers can work cohesively along with SEO specialists to find the right balance that could meet search engine conditions and user’s expectations alike.
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. These are such common errors that web designers usually commit while ignoring SEO:
#1- Inclusion of Images instead of valuable elements
Web designers should never use images as the main form of navigation since it would treat them without any purposeful meaning. However, only textual navigation isn’t a viable thing to do as well. The correct thing is to make use of text-over-image method with CSS.
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.
#2 – 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.
#3 – Not creating a mobile version of the site
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 Matt Cutts of Google. Sometimes, a mobile version of the website 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.
#4 – Frames
Some 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. Also, framed websites make use of three html files rather than just one, causing clashes with indexation.
#5 – Bad 404 Page
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.
#6 – 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.
#7 – 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. Best practice is to embed videos straight from YouTube, which is a Google-owned venture.