Web design and search engine optimization should ideally go hand-in-hand but this is not always the case. Search engines index websites after weighing relevancy so if a site has great layout but poor SEO, it'll fall short of what crawlers are looking for.
Search engines send out crawlers or spiders to hunt for relevant search results. When they come across websites that meet requirements, they index them for future retrieval. The only way a website can be indexed is if it is searchable on the W3. Restrictions can be placed on web pages which are confidential or incomplete and this is the task of the webmaster.
Search engine optimization is not something beginners can perfect. It requires an in-depth understanding of how different search engines work, current trends and technical skill. Still, there are some simple techniques every amateur web developer can use to ensure their projects get indexed.
The average internet user puts a lot of stock into how good a website looks. Content comes later. The reverse is true for users searching for research material and other more 'serious' stuff. So even if your website contains the best information and is easily indexed, let aesthetics play an equally important role.
Every user wants a user-friendly website. Links placed in odd corners, logos obscuring valuable screen space, and content that is not arranged for readability will prevent traffic.
Optimize sites for faster loading both on computers and mobile devices. Most users stay connected to the web on their cell phones as they're easy to carry. If you fail to design a mobile website, the chance of users missing it is very high.
Browser compatibility is something that many developers overlook. Even if a search engine's able to index a site, if it can not be viewed properly it does not matter how much relevant content it contains. Users will automatically move to other sites.
Easy navigation is one of the hallmarks of a well-designed site. Search engines also factor this into their requirements for indexed sites. Use simple HTML to present links, buttons and menus in a manner all major browsers can understand.
Menu items should not be numerous even if they're nested. How-to and other websites where a lot of content is generated can not avoid this but navigation can be made easier if it goes something like this – menu – tire problems – how to change a tire-how to pump air-how to measure air pressure etc. This ensures a neater appearance and proper compartmentalization.
Search engines prefer HTML sitemaps over XML ones so stick with them to increase SEO. HTML5 is the preferred version at the moment so try to implement the latest tags and HTML.
If a website is unable to display something, move to another landing page or has difficulty loading a component, it should be able to pinpoint the error. For example, you forget to enter a password and click 'log in'. The site will obviously be unable to display the corresponding landing page. If it can not let you know what the problem is, you're likely to assume that there's something wrong with the site rather than realize you made an error.
These simple tips are not comprehensive but they can greatly enhance search engine indexing and user-friendliness. Follow them to see the impact they have on your website.