Designers are usually unaware of the effect of their work in a site’s search engine ranking. They tend to ignore SEO basic rules for the sake of aesthetics. This is quite normal, given that their job is to make the site as attractive as possible. But there are some very common SEO mistakes that can be easily avoided, and that might occur even to the greatest SEO expert.
Use of a Splash Page
Spiders need to go into your site to see what your site is about so they can index it. When you receive the visitors to your site with a splash page and an ‘enter’ button, you might impress your viewers with all the Flash activity, but you will make it impossible for the web spiders to read into your site, thus index it.
A site’s homepage is usually the highest ranking page, and is the one web spiders visit more frequently. If you don’t build an easy path for the spiders to follow from your homepage to the inner pages, these pages won’t be accessed by them, and as a result, they won’t be indexed in the search results, which will affect your rankings drastically.
The basics to include in your homepage are target keywords and links to the most important pages.
Use of Flash Menus
Animated menus, as the ones that fade-in and out are quite impressive, for human viewers, but are virtually invisible to web crawlers, which means they will stop there, as they won’t find any other path to follow.
Usually, designers tend to embed important text, including target keywords, in graphic images or Flash. Web-spiders are image-blind, they can only read text, which means that embedding it in images or Flash is the same as not including text at all. There are ways in which text can be overlapping the image, without being part of it. Any SEO expert would favour these methods.
Ajax features can be impressive, especially when used for navigation purposes, however, most developers and designers ignore the fact that Ajax loads its content dynamically, which makes it impossible for search engines to spider or index it. There is also the fact that URL addresses in Ajax don’t reload, so current pages cannot be shared by users.
Inexplicably, it is a common tendency with designers to have different versions of their theme design arranged in different sub level folders, then redirected to the new folder. This might be the easiest way for a designer to keep track of the different versions and upload them faster, but when you change the main root location constantly, you may lose your backlink counts and ranking.
‘Click Here’ Text
When you use the text ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ as linking text in your buttons, you are actually wasting precious keyword space, unless you are looking to be ranked high for ‘learn more’. An SEO expert would use the topic or keyword as the link anchor text.
This will tell the search engine that the following page is important for that specific topic. Just remember not to use the same anchor text everywhere, as this might be considered search engine spam.
Empty Alt Attribute: As mentioned before, it is impossible for web crawlers to read images. However, there is this very useful tool called the Alt Attribute. It is used to describe the image to blind web users.
This is perfect to tell the search engine what your page is relevant for. Make sure you make a proper description of the image, as this can help the ranking of your site in the image search results.