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Balancing Website Design and SEO

Website design is important for a website to visually and functionally appeal to its audience. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for getting this audience.

A good Website Design depends on SEO for an audience and also helps SEO get that audience.

Hence, it is best to start a Website Design project with SEO as one of the key considerations.

The interplay between SEO and Website Design

Both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Website Design play off each others strengths if done right. Some examples below

  1. Website usability and navigation are important considerations in Website Design also help SEO by improving site structure, accessibility and conversions.
  2. Both depend on getting the ‘Call to Action’ right. SEO has to consider how a user flows through the website. Design has to help make this flow as smooth as possible.
  3. SEO looks at what keywords to use for internal linking and where to use them on the page. Design decides how best those internal links will look and how they will be placed on the page.
  4. Design decides the right image to fit the topic and where to place it. SEO considers what text to use in the alt tag for that image.

Important factors to consider

1. Flash and other multimedia options

Flash and similar technologies help make your site visually rich. But most search engines cannot index Flash content. So, while Flash is great for your website’s design, it is best kept out of certain areas like navigation, content and internal linking. It can complement these for a better user experience.
The ideal is to use flash to its strengths which is to strengthen user interaction due to its superior presentational qualities.

2. Website Content and Keywords

The major source of traffic for most websites is the search engine. Users land on a website by typing keywords into a search box. Those keywords are important for your website to show up.

How those keywords are presented is important. Any of these keywords displayed as images or in flash, affect the website’s SEO value and the website performance.

SEO is usually unaffected by how the text should display, the font type, the size, the background color etc. which is a design decision.

3. Page Load Time

In SEO page load times are an important factor. Too much use of Flash, JavaScript and images can cause a webpage to bloat up. This makes it harder for pages to get indexed in search engines.

Here merging and compressing CSS, JavaScript files and using CSS Sprites for images are important elements in a website designer’s knowledge box.

Conclusion

There are many more areas where both these fields intersect, sometimes in alignment and sometimes at cross purposes. A successful website is one which utilizes the richness of both and irons out the points of conflict.

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