8 Key Points To Proper Site Design for SEO

8 Key Points To Proper Site Design for SEO

Things You Should Know Before A Site’s Final Mapping Is Completed

If you are considering a redesign to an existing web site or creating a brand new site for the first time, there are some fundamental rules to every web site’s design and development strategy that need to be considered if you are to obtain maximum Search Engine Optimization value.

This page describes the most fundamental standard site architecture, content and design aspects related to the SEO process. If any one of these aspects is not implemented, the result will mean more time, energy, and effort will need to be applied to other SEO techniques.
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1. Macromedia Flash & SEO
While Macromedia Flash allows for a very aesthetically pleasing site, it’s by far the most difficult presentation from an SEO perspective. Even in it’s current version, Flash offers very little truly high quality ways in which to incorporate SEO techniques. Unless a web site can garner thousands of links back from high quality web sites, it’s almost impossible to get a Flash based site into high ranking at Google.

At the same time, incorporating elements of Flash can be acceptable from an SEO perspective. Flash however can not be used for main site navigation or for conveying any truly important or keyword related content.
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2. Use of Images For Content
Similar to the Macromedia Flash issue, any time graphic elements are used for textual content, the SEO value of that information is for the most part, lost. While every image on the site can have an alternate text attribute where you can describe the contents or purpose of the image these fields should normally be limited to 10 words or less. We also have the ability in one of the most common SEO techniques, to seed some of the keywords into these spaces, so that further reduces the flexibility of using alternate text attributes related to whatever a graphic image’s purpose is.
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3. Depth of site.
While a site that’s only four or five pages, when properly seeded, can do quite well in the search engines, it’s always better to have more content spread among more pages. With every additional page that contains at least a few paragraphs of content, we can increase the total number of pages indexed at Google as well as the ranking weight for every other page on the site. To this end, it is important to come up with a site flow that allows for such growth, even if the initial site starts with only a handful of pages.

Also, any page on the site should never be more than two clicks down in the chain. Making a site too layered harms the SEO value of each sub-page.
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4. Length of content
No single page should have any less than three or four paragraphs of content. As a general rule, each paragraph or every alternating paragraph should incorporate one or more of the keywords specific to that page, but not necessarily entire phrases. We don’t want to alienate the reader, or go overboard. So this is a balancing act.

This is important to note because any single page should have between three and five keyword phrases at most. So if my work reveals a total of 15 high priority phrases, and another 10 very good phrases due to the competitive opportunity, that’s a total of 25 phrases that need to be split down into groups of three to five per page.

Because of this, it would be most beneficial to all of us if we are able to do the keyword selection process before the content is written. This aspect is the most important in the entire SEO process, and the more we can sync each page’s phrase group with the content you write, up front, the less effort we’ll both need to make.
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5. Location Location Location
For web sites that represent a business enterprise focused on attracting local or regional clients or customers, the office location(s) address(es) need to be seeded throughout the site. The more pages on the site that have a business address, the better our opportunity for getting higher ranking in the Google Local listings.
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6. Professional Services Web Sites
Every major topic related to a professional practice should have it’s own web page. This relates to the keyword phrasing limitations as well as the amount of content, as well as the overall number of pages on a site.

Examples: For doctors, this means a separate page for each type of major procedure performed. For attorneys, every area of Practice needs its own page.
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7. Videos and SEO
I’ve just recently performed an exhaustive effort related to Video SEO Best Practices for a site I’m now tasked with doing the SEO work for that specializes in Travel Video sharing and blogs. If video files or clips will be presented on the site, there are a number of tasks that should be performed specific to these files for SEO value. The very first is when the video is produced or digitized, it needs to be properly seeded with appropriate keyword phrases at the code level.

If you are not familiar with Video file MetaData, this is where the person who edits or digitizes the video embeds things such as a title, description, keyword tags, creation date, and other information right into the video file through a software process.

So the Video’s MetaData should most definitely be embedded with the SEO track in mind. The Title should include the keyword phrases most appropriate for the video, and the keyword phrases should go through the SEO analysis process given how massive the online video market is.

The web page such videos appear on should then properly match that MetaData in all aspects (page title, keywords, textual content describing the video, etc…) No less than a full paragraph should be on the page associated with that video as well…
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8. Site Architecture – Link Name and URL Issues
To get maximum SEO value, it is vital that a site’s Link Naming and URL structure is one that is human readable and embedded with keyword phrases. In the blog world, a link name and URL done this way is said to have a “permalink”. (Permanent Link).

The more closely a page Title and Keywords match the Page URL and the link name to that URL, the more exponentially we gain SEO value. The more we do this, the longer the page will rank high for these phrases (permanent link value!)

For example My site – www.HeyDudeWheresMySite.com – there’s a page with a link titled “Affordable SEO Services”. Note how the Link Title is not just “Services”. That’s because One of my most important phrases is “affordable SEO Services” .

Then – if you look at the page’s actual URL it’s

http://www.heydudewheresmysite.com/Affordable-SEO-Services/

So there’s a folder in my site’s directory where that folder is actually called “Affordable-SEO-Services” and the page it points to is an index.cfm file in that folder! A non SEO optimized version of this would have been

http://www.heydudewheresmysite.com/services.cfm

or

http://www.heydudewheresmysite.com/page2.cfm

and a semi optimized structure would be http://www.heydudewheresmysite.com/services

This issue applies for every type of site out there. Marketing sites, ECommerce Sites… No longer is a page URL like www.whatever.com/shop/PID=345&cat=29 any good to us even though Google can read those pages.

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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4 Comments

  1. Nice list, thanks for the insight.
    Now I have a bit of work to do.

  2. LOL

    For all my imploring others to allow me to participate in the initial design process to ensure proper SEO was factored from the beginning, it just hadn’t dawned on me that all I needed to do was write up an SEO aspects list like this. Now that it has, I’ve already gotten only positive feedback and an eagerness to incorporate them from the very people I used to butt heads with on this issue! (although some clients still have a bit of a hard time if they come into it determined to have a site using only custom fonts that designers have to then create 800 pixel wide by 500 pixel tall graphic images to implement…) :-)

  3. Dhany says:

    Thanks for this great SEO post. I’ve just bookmarked it in Delicious. I am sure I will reference it again. :)

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