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A Search Engine Friendly Web Design Approach: Tips

Can Make or Break Your Search Engine Ranking?!

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Jimsun Lui
July 12, 2006

Jimsun Lui
Written by Jimsun Lui is working in a SEO company offers search engine optimization services, and it also offers Chinese SEO services and Ecommerce Solutions. He also manage a Chinese internet marketing portal.
Jimsun Lui has written 1 articles for WebKnowHow.
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Online marketers understand the importance of getting top search engine rankings in major search engines. Therefore, they spend many time in optimizing website content. However, many of them ignore the fact that web design structure has a role in search engine optimization (SEO). To acquire high ranking, you cannot just rely on web designers because they could be good at web design but not good at SEO.

This article reveals several important web design elements you must consider during website optimization process.

1. CSS Stylesheet

It is good to use CSS stylesheet to format your web design because it can standardize the appearance of your website. For the sake of convenience, some web designers use internal CSS. It is no good! You should use external CSS stylesheet so that your HTML coding becomes consise, and mainly compose of your website content. It is an essential SEO practice.

2. Content Management Software (CMS)

If you use CMS to manage your website, make sure your CMS provides these features:

a. Allows you to define different templates for different sections/pages. It gives you flexibility in optimizing website content.

b. Allows you to define Title and Meta tags for different web pages. Again, it gives you flexibility in optimizing every web page.

c. Allows you to generate static HTML pages instead of dynamic pages. Search engines are not good at reading dynamic web page. Accoding to Google webmaster guideline, Google may not index dynamic URL with more than 2 parameters within the URL.

If your web pages cannot get indexed, you definitely get no rankings no matter how many SEO effort you make.

3. HTML Code Compliance

As a good web design practice, make sure your HTML coding is compliant to some well recognized HTML standards such as W3C standard. Some search engine optimizers reported that non-compliant web design could cause difficulties for search engines to index and analyze your website. It hinders your website to get top search engine ranking.

4. Use of Graphics

You must optimize the file size of your images. As search engines like to read text, you should consider avoiding the use of graphics near top of your website, whenever it is possible.

5. Multiple-level Navigation Menu

Many websites use multiple-level navigation menu in Javascript. However, the coding usually leaves in the HTML body. This is no good in terms of SEO. I recommend seperate Javascrpt from HTML coding by using external Javascript file. For example, Marketshare - an Asia technology market research firm, found that their website cannot get indexed properly by several search engines. This situation has been changed only after adopting external Javascript.

6. Bad Web Design

To make your web design search engine friendly, you must consider avoiding:

a. Use of frame. Search engines have difficulties to index all your frameset. Even though they can index some frame pages, users would only access to part of your webpages only in case they can find your website from search engines, e.g., only see a left-hand side navigation menu with a blank page on the right-hand side.

b. Re-direct techniques. For some reasons, web designers may make some re-direct pages or adopt Javascript re-direct techniques and re-direct visitors from one page to another content pages. Since search engine spammers usually use this technique, search engines could penalize your website.

7. Flash

Web designers may sell you to build a flash website or make a flash intro page as your home page. Their point is that flash makes your website more appealing and it would improve effectiveness of your website. However, it is not always the case.

Visitors want to find information fast. Flash sometimes could make your website slow and require visitors to install plugins before they can see your website. In terms of SEO, simply speaking, search engines treat flash as a graphic and cannot analyze content inside a flash file. The implication means a flash website is hard to get top search engine ranking.


For small business to succeed online, you must strike a balance between SEO and fancy web design. A too fancy web design, in many cases, cannot give you any business as no one can find your website from search engines and if it annoys your visitors.

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