Consistency is key.Choose one URL format and stick with it.Include “www” for all URLs or exclude for all URLs.Include /index, /default, etc, in all cases or exclude in all cases.Use absolute links throughout the site.This supports the above points.Include keywords in the URLs strategicallyYour site’s SEO should help with this.No keyword stuffingThink about the WHOLE URL for each landing page, not just the domain name. If the domain name has keywords, don’t overstuff every folder / file name with the same keywords. The site’s SEO will likely made recommendations for this.
Don’t include extraneous folders where not necessary.CMS tools will sometimes do this automatically.
Example of good site structuring:Fits keywords in, short, uses hyphens, lowercase, keywords don’t appear more than 2 times
Example of bad site structuring: No keywords, cms naming
Example of bad site structuring: Long dynamic url with no keywords
Age matters.Renew the domain for the longest period possible.Use old / existing domains where possible (as long as the domain’s topic has always been the same).A basic indicator for the domain’s value can be the PageRank (install Google Toolbar)Target the site to the geographic markets.For Canadian exclusive sites, use a .ca domain.For global targets, use .com.For educational, use .edu, .org, etc.HostingUse a host that is in the targeted geographic market. For Canadian targeted, place the site with a Canadian host, etc.Make sure the site isn’t being hosted on a server shared with “spam” type sites.
When to use them?Blogs, secure / password protected areas of the site, etc.Areas of content that are separate from the core domain BUT not an entirely different topicHow to make sure they are indexedSeparate robots.txt, sitemap.xml, etc filesHow to integrate with AnalyticsTalk to the site’s SEO regarding this as subdomains create tracking issues.
Example of a blog as a subdomain
Example of ecommerce/shopping as a subdomain
Example of location as a subdomain
Should it be a part of the site’s navigation or separate?Ads / promos might have custom landing pages located outside of the site’s navigation and / or inaccessible to search engines.Landing pages that are part of the navigation (matched to organic keywords, ongoing promos, etc).How do different types of landing pages affect SEO?Potential duplicate content issuesOrphaned landing pages that visitors land on and can’t access the rest of the siteOutdated landing pages that still exist on the server
Custom landing page for an ad
Custom landing page for an ad
User ExperienceFlash is pretty – users like it and it supports usability. Helps improve bounce rates, conversions, etc.Can include SWF objects to help search engines see some of the Flash content.How This Fits with SEOFlash is ok as long as it is only used minimally on the page.Flash elements should be compressed / minimized to load as fast as possible.Treat Flash as supporting graphic material for the page, not the basis of the page content.
Can’t view Flash elements on most mobile devices.Assess how much of the site’s audience is going to be accessing the site via mobile device (check in analytics, industry, type of site, etc).Users need to keep Flash up-to-date for it work properlyUsers without upgraded Flash will likely have high abandonment ratesThis affects all sites with Flash, even small elements
Need strong supporting arguments to include any type of Flash on a site.Cool isn’t good enough
HTML5, other scripting options.VideoNot just good as a Flash alternative, but opens lots of opportunities for more advanced optimization.Social Media feedsStill update the page dynamically and make it look fresh but don’t use FlashFacebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc
Good use of Flash:Small Flash element at bottom right of page
Bad use of Flash:Majority of homepage content is FlashPriority over text
Ugly use of Flash:Entire Flash homepage
Don’t assume that visitors will enter the site from the homepage.Key messaging, branding, CTAs, etc need to be consistent throughout the site.Include a link to the homepage on every page (in the logo, footer, utilities… wherever)Include the phone number / address on every page if applicable.Breadcrumbs are great for this as well as for internal linking throughout the site for SEO. If you’ve structured the site properly with keywords, etc as mentioned earlier this should partially take care of itself.
Define what the conversion points will be on the site.Often hear “branding”, “increased traffic”, etc as goals for a site. Identify specific measureable goals and conversion points for the site BEFORE you starting building it.Setup measurable goals for these conversions on the site if possible.Use a contact form rather than email (trackable in Analytics and avoids spam).Ensure that the CTAs for these conversions are prominent on every page of the site.
Example of a good CTA:Large “request a quote” CTA in the same location on every page
Example of a bad CTA:Likely a landing page due to the keywords but CTA is very small on left side under navigation links
Navigation Use text for navigation, not imagesHeadersOften clashes with custom fonts from the designerUse CSS to swap an image in over the text so text stays in the HTML code but an image shows up on the page
Always use the most up-to-date web standards Same principles for quality, clean coding in development apply to SEOKeep all formatting, scripting, etc code out of the pageDesign in CSS, no tables, etc….Use W3C tools and information regularly
Keep text content to the topContent is what spiders are looking for to index the URL… so keep the text content as close to the top of the code as possible.Keep title and meta tags to the topThe title tag should be right at the start of the <head> tag. No exceptions.Meta tags should follow directly after the title tag.Move scripts to the bottomWherever possible, move scripts below the text content of the site so the text content loads before trying to run scriptsUse CSS to bridge the gapUse CSS to organize the code for SEO (with the text at the top) while meeting the visual requirements of the pageAlways keep text content at the top of the code even if the text should be placed below images, flash, etc, on the actual user-end.
Must be a 301 redirectNot mirroring, not using any other 3xx redirect status codeRedirects should be implemented when:Changing domain name or merging domainsKeep the old domain hosted for a while (approx. 4 months) until all of the redirects have been indexed by search engines.Changing URL namesFolder names, file names, etc.Implement the 301 redirects with the .htacess fileThe site’s SEO should provide destination URLs for the URLs being redirected
SEO Best Practices for Web Design Shannon Richardson & Lisa McClure 6S Marketing
About 6S Marketing Skilled, dedicated and industry-savvy team of 25 employees Online marketing and social media marketing for 10 years Worked with 400+ clients BC’s Top Ten company to work for in 2010 (BC Business Magazine)
About Lisa Lisa has six years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry specializing in SEO and analytics. She has over three years of agency experience working in all aspects of online marketing and project management. She has worked with clients including HSBC and The United Way. Lisa has a BA in Journalism from Curtin University in Australia. Lisa works at 6S Marketing as an account manager.
About Shannon Shannon has eight years of experience in web design and development. After arguing with internet marketing professionals for most of those eight years she decided to see what life was like on the other side of the fence. She has been working as an internet marketing/social media specialist for three years now and knows first-hand that designers and internet marketing professionals can get along. Shannon works at 6S Marketing as an account manager.
What is SEO? Definition: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results - Wikipedia
Overview Site Organization and Structure – the building blocks Flash – the good, the bad and the ugly Usability and Conversion Optimization – how to get a site to not only get traffic but make $$ Images vs. Content – how to make sure everyone gets along All Things Technical – site speed, CSS, code structure and much, much more
Site organizationand structure http://www.flickr.com/photos/regi_a
Keywords Basis of site structure needs to be built around keywords. This includes domain name, navigation items, folder names, file names, image names, etc. Work with the site’s SEO to create the best structure that meets usability requirements and keyword-specific landing pages
URLs SEO is all about the URLs Consistency is key Use absolute links throughout the site Include keywords in the URLs strategically Think about the WHOLE URL for each landing page, not just the domain name
URLs Always put URLs in lowercase with words separated by hyphens Try to keep the number of words per folder/file to 3 or less Avoid dynamic URLs whenever possible Don’t include extraneous folders where not necessary
Site Structure Example of good site structuring www.bcfamilylaw.ca/family-law/spousal-support/
Site Structure Example of bad site structuring www.bodylogix.com/node/1013
Site Structure Example of bad site structuring www.mec.ca/Products/product_main.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474395847401&ref=icon
Domains Age matters Target the site to geographic markets Hosting
Subdomains When do you use them? How do you make sure they are indexed? How do you integrate them with Analytics?
Subdomains Example of a blog as a subdomain blog.ariadental.com
Subdomains Example of ecommerce/shopping as a subdomain shop.nhl.com
Subdomains Example of location as a subdomain canada.forever21.com
Landing Pages What types of landing pages are there? How do different types of landing pages affect SEO? Landing pages should be created to match organic keywords referring traffic to the site Create prominent messaging and/or CTAs on individual URLs that match the keyword or landing page topic Should it be a part of the site’s navigation or separate?
Flash: The Good User experience Can include SWF objects to help search engines see some of the Flash content How does this fit in with SEO?
Flash: The Bad Can’t view Flash elements on most mobile devices Users need to keep Flash up-to-date for it to work properly
Flash: The Ugly Search engines can’t see information in Flash Slow load time Need strong supporting arguments to include any type of Flash on a site
Flash Alternatives HTML5, other scripting options Video Social Media feeds
Flash Good use of Flash: Small Flash element at bottom right of page hsbc.ca
Flash Bad use of Flash: Majority of homepage content is Flash sonoraresort.com
Flash Ugly use of Flash: Entire Flash homepage Gotmilk.com
Usability and conversion optimization http://www.flickr.com/photos/regi_a
How usability and conversions relate to SEO Goal of SEO is to gain ranking to increase qualified traffic to the site and gain conversions / leads Bounce rates affect SEO
Usability Don’t assume that visitors will enter the site from the homepage Conduct usability testing where possible
Conversions Define what the conversion points will be on the site Set up measureable goals for these conversions on the site if possible Ensure that the CTAs for these conversions are prominent on every page of the site
Conversions Example of a good CTA westland-insurance.com
Conversions Example of a bad CTA blanchemacdonald.com
Images vs. Content http://www.flickr.com/photos/regi_a
Images vs. Content Where not to use images Navigation Headers Structure Alt tags / image file naming / etc
All Things Technical http://www.flickr.com/photos/regi_a
Clean Code Always use the most up-to-date web standards Keep all formatting, scripting, etc code out of the page Use W3C tools and information regularly
Order Matters Keep text content to the top Keep title and meta tags to the top Move scripts to the bottom Use CSS to bridge the gap
Site Speed Every page should load as fast as possible Use the Google Page Speed tool http://pagespeed.googlelabs.com/ What items help improve site speed?
301 Redirects Redirects should be implemented when: Changing domain name or merging domains Changing URL names Must be a 301 redirect Not mirroring, not using any other 3xx redirect status code Implement 301 redirects with the .htaccess file