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Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Hallmarks of a Search-Engine Friendly Website Design

A great website that wows audiences is nowadays a pre-requisite for any business, big or small. But beauty alone is not enough to make the website truly useful to the organization. Responsible for the first impression of the business, it needs to be able to market itself well on search-engines to get visitors there in the first place! Here’s a look at the hallmarks of a search-engine friendly website design:

1. Great UI/UX: The User Interface and User Experience of a website can actually become the deciding factors that set it aside from the rest. They have never assumed as much importance as they do now. An easy navigation is the first crucial step, because a great UX is about user-friendliness. The easier it is for visitors to find their way around a website, the more time they are likely to spend there. This in turn, is directly related to the rising interest level and purchase decisions they are bound to take whilst browsing. A sitemap is a proven tool to help search engines find their way around your site. So is the prominent display of relevant links of important content in the website footer.

2. Mobile-Friendly Design: This simply cannot be emphasized enough. With a significant chunk of the population using tablets and smart phones as their primary computing devices, website designs that aren’t mobile-friendly are just slashing their chances of visibility drastically. In fact, it is also widely felt that buying decisions on mobiles are much faster, as people on the go are in a bigger hurry to close the sales cycle quickly. The choice between making a mobile website and a responsive design needs to be made by businesses in accordance with their objectives. Standalone mobile websites have the advantage of having a design and content specifically created for the mobile platform. Responsive design, which is meant to be able to have great functionality across all platforms and all devices, necessitates the reduction of content so as to fit inside the window size of the device. This can sometimes present the mild discomfort of selecting between content types to display in order of importance, but this aspect can generally be smartly managed.

3. Engaging, Relevant Website Content: An important consideration while designing great layouts for a website is to consider how content is going to be presented. Visitors need to see relevant, interesting content on a website in order to feel inclined to come back, or stay longer on the website, both of which are the objectives of search-engine friendly design. It is a good idea to analyze what content is found engaging by the target audience so as to keep refreshing the way a website looks. This could include anything from informational blog posts, articles offering a unique perspective to the reader, to content pieces that establish industry authority. Bold, striking display buttons for social sharing is one of favored ways to popularize the website and to get people talking about the brand, meaning that search engines keep pushing its ranks up over time.

4. Sales-specific Landing Pages: While designing the website, it is rather useful to create a few landing pages that are specifically targeted at attracting direct sales queries to drive revenue. Such a landing page could, for instance, have an introductory video showcasing the prominent products or services of the organization. These landing pages have the perfect blend of rich content, stunning design elements and calls-to-action to appeal to search engines and thus attract lots of visitors.

5. Flash- out, HTML 5 -in: The use of Flash animation in website design has come under heavy fire for a very real reason: it simply defeats the purpose of search engine-friendliness. This is because search engines simply do not index Flash. As a result, any content in Flash-whether it may be images or text, is basically ignored, as if it did not exist. The good news is that HTML 5 technology is now able to re-invent a lot of the elements that made Flash so popular in the first place. Not only does it lend good aesthetic appeal to the website design, but also it’s ideal for website responsiveness, which is a huge advantage over Flash.

So basically, if a website has all the above features, there’s a high likelihood that it’s on the way to becoming much-loved by the top search engines, if it isn’t already so!

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