in Misc

Where Oh Where Did Your SEO Go?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has gotten a bad name for itself with some web designers. Keyword stuffers and link farms have made many people suspect that SEO is a search engine scam, something you do only when your content is not good enough to stand on its own.

The Right Stuff

While it is true that stuffing your content with keywords and building link farms used to allow unscrupulous webmasters to game the system, SEO has valid implications for every website. Anything you can do to make it easier for the search engines to see your content and evaluate its worth to searchers will lead to better positioning in the search engines and more organic traffic to your website.

SEO Starts with Web Design

Good SEO starts with the way a website is designed. Page items must have the correct meta tags in order to let the search engines know what they are seeing. Titles, images, descriptions, and headings should have their proper meta tags and should include keywords so that Google and the others will know what a website is all about.

Show Me the Meta Tags

An optimized content management system (CMS) can provide the right SEO framework for including the right structure and tags on a website. WordPress is a popular CMS for this purpose, and with a good SEO plugin or paid theme you can create highly optimized posts and pages without having to learn how to code or add the tags yourself.

Web Design Is Your Glue

While the search engines are looking at meta tags and links, they also keep tabs on the behavior of visitors to your site. Good web design draws visitors in and keeps them on the page. It includes simple navigation tools that encourage visitors to click around the website.

Just as good content without good SEO might never be noticed by the search engines, good SEO content without good web design might never be viewed by visitors who bounce out of an ugly, disorganized site.

SEO Rewards Good Web Design

The search engines may not notice the web design, per se, but they will notice when visitors stick around and click around. They will take this behavior as social proof that your site offers valuable content and will reward your pages with higher placement on the search engine results page.

You need your SEO and web design to work together to showcase your content. Together they can establish a perpetual cycle where:

1. The search engines send visitors.
2. Visitors land on your page and good design encourages them to stay.
3. The search engines see the visitors are happy so they send you some more.

What do you think? Can good web design ever make up for bad SEO?


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.