There is no doubt about the fact that the best websites are designed keeping both search engines and humans in mind, correct?
Keeping the search engines and humans in mind implies that you should never compromise function over beauty and vice versa.
Here are six common blunders that you should look for on your website to confirm whether its beautiful design prevents your pages from attaining a high rank in search engines.
Blunder 1: Missing H1 tags, particularly on the index page
Think about visiting a website that has an elaborate color scheme has a beautiful background image and contains great typography. It appears awesome. It feels as if you are walking through a beautiful garden when browsing such a site.
Unfortunately, nobody will find this site in search engines. The reason is that frequently website developers and designers forget about crucial SEO elements.
The most frequent offense is that the web design specialists remove an H1 tag, as there is no place for it on the page. Search engine spiders depend on the H1 tag to understand what the page is all about. You increase the chance of improving the ranking of your website by tagging your primary keyword with the H1 tag.
Here is a test that takes five seconds to complete that allows you to explain the benefits of the H1 tag to website owners and web page designers. The result of this test is positive if visitors to the website can understand what the site is about after looking at it for a couple of seconds. Typically, using a descriptive H1 tag above the fold is the simplest way to explain the aim of the website.
More info: How Important is an H1 Tag for SEO?
Blunder 2: Huge media and image files
While beautiful images enhance the looks of your website, you should be extremely careful with the size of the media files. Incorporating large videos and images can negatively impact the loading speed of your website, resulting in lower rankings. Google loves pages that load quickly.
How can you ascertain if your website has large images or videos and how can you fix it? You can rely on Google PageSpeed Insights Test for a quick scan. The test will allow you to discover images or videos on your website that Google believes are too large. The results of this test will show you how you can further optimize that page by reducing the size of its images. Alternatively, you can also rely on Screaming Frog to identify large media and image files throughout your website.
Compress or resize the images once you have identified them and re-upload them to your website.
Below is the PageSpeed test result for CNN.com. Even a site that receives as much traffic as it does has issues that could be fixed.
Blunder 3: Popups
Google has recently issued a warning to website owners not to use popups and intrusive interstitials.
Google puts lots of importance on the user experience of websites, especially when viewed from mobile devices. The appearance of elaborate or creative popups before visitors have a chance to see the main content can negatively impact UX (user experience), and therefore, the SEO.
This is, perhaps, an ideal moment to reaccess your pop-up strategy, specifically if you are noticing a decline in organic traffic.
The SkinnyMe Tea page uses an annoying pop-up to advertise a special bonus which covers most of their home page.
Blunder 4: Text in images
Most web designers make the mistake of including the text into an image, rather than including a text layer on top of the image.
Why is this bad?
Search engines cannot view images as humans can. As a result, the former cannot read text embedded in images. This strategy is equivalent to not putting any content at all.
Blunder 5: Infinite scroll
Done incorrectly, this well-known web design method can hurt the performance of your SEO.
Infinite scroll keeps on adding more and more content as the viewer reaches the bottom of a page. Search engine spiders will not be able to crawl through your pages if you have not set the pagination of your website correctly.
Let us assume that you have enabled infinite scrolling on your blog that consists of 100 pages. If you have configured the default to show only the ten recent posts, that is what the robots of the search engines will see. Search engine spiders depend on links to crawl through an entire website to analyze and index its contents. They will never be able to know that there is additional content on your blog beyond the top 10 posts.
You will be pleased to know that you can make infinite scroll pages friendly for the search engines. Follow the instructions outlined in the Google Webmaster Blog and implement them to avoid compromising between SEO and design.
More info: Infinite Scroll & SEO: Do They Mix?
Blunder 6: Thin content
Service and product pages are critical pages on your website. You will get more business if you can get higher rankings for your target keywords which should be included on these pages.
The most common thin content related blunders include:
- The absence of product or service pages: You are missing a tremendous opportunity to rank organically for target keywords, by not having or eliminating product or service pages on your website.
- Keyword dilution: Listing multiple services or products on one page is detrimental for SEO purposes and is confusing for the search engines as well. To achieve the best ranking in search engines, never include more than one idea or keyword per page.
- Not enough content: Content is king. Boost the ranking of your website by including relevant and useful content about the products or services you promote through your website. You should also update the content regularly.
Do not forget the essential SEO elements mentioned above, whether you are redesigning an old site or plan to design a new one. Make sure that your site is friendly for both search engine spiders as well as humans.