5 SEO Guidelines Your Website Should Be Following Right Now

Whether you run a blog or run a company, Search Engine Optimization is something you must think about when designing your website. There are so many great looking, informative websites that just never place on the first page of Google search results because of a few design and coding missteps. Many of these missteps are easy to identify and can help you get more traffic within a few days of fixing them. In this post, we will provide a few SEO guidelines you should always follow when designing  your website.

Create SEO-Friendly Navigation

Navigation Bar Example
One thing to remember when deciding the location and appearance of your navigation is your users. You want to create a navigation system that’s appealing to the eye and easy to use, so that your users don’t have to be tech savvy to get to the different pages of your site.  That being said, you want to also make your navigation search engine friendly. This means Javascript or Flash is usually a no-no. Sure, they sometimes look better with animations and extravagant designs, but this makes it difficult for search engines to read them. You want to stick to text links if possible (using CSS to give it any kind of design you want, be creative!) because it is easier for search engines to crawl and determine what type of content will be on your site.

Link Your Titles

This is something that some web designers forget to do, but is very important. A normal HTTP link looks something like this:

<a href="http://www.myrender.com">Check Out Our Homepage!</a>

^This is the HTML code that creates a hyperlink, the clickable text linked to our homepage reads Check Out Our Homepage!

This is great, because it is simple HTML and search engine spiders can easily read this and determine what it links to. One thing that isn’t included in the above link is the title of the link, which search engines also read. The same link above with a title would look like this:

<a title=”Render Perfect Productions Inc.” href=”http://www.myrender.com”>Check Out Our Homepage!</a>

^This displays the exact same as the previous link, but the title will appear if you hover your pointer over the Link for a little bit. Try it out:
Check Our Our Homepage!

While most people don’t hover over every link to check what the title is, the search engine still reads through that and it’s a great space to put keywords that you would like users to search for to locate your site.

Alt Tag Your Images

While naming your images with keywords (ex: our banner image is named “RenderPerfect.png”) helps tremendously, the alternative or “alt” tags that can be applied to the HTML <img src=”#”> code help a lot too. These alt tags are really only ever seen if the images fail to load or if someone has their browser set to not load images. However, the search engine spiders crawl through your whole page and they use the alt tags to determine the content of your image. Just like link titles, this can be a great location to put keywords that you are trying to rank for.

An example of a regular HTML img tag looks something like this:

<img src=”http://myrender.com/storage/post-images/RenderPerfect.png”>

^This would just display whatever image is located at that web address, in this case, a Render Perfect Logo!

An example of an HTML image tag with an alternate description would look like this:

Render Perfect Productions Inc<img src=”http://myrender.com/storage/post-images/RenderPerfect.png” alt=”Render Perfect Productions Inc”/>

^This would look EXACTLY like the above image tag, but it would have an alternate description of “Render Perfect Productions Inc”, which would only display if the image failed to load.

An alt tag should be used on every image on your website, in case you have images that are irrelevantly named, like GD2011.jpg. Maybe you named it that because its an image that says “Graphic Design 2011”, search engines would have no idea what GD2011 was, but they definitely would recognize Graphic Design 2011, since a lot of users search for the terms “Graphic Design” and “2011.”

Use Your Headings Wisely

It’s no secret that page headings (H1,H2,H3,etc.) help search engines and users alike when determining what a page is all about. But some websites use them in the wrong way. You want at least one H1, H2, and H3 on most of your pages. You want to use them correctly as well, being careful not to haphazardly place them all right next to each other and fill them up with keywords. You almost NEVER want them to be the same word or phrase. The H1, H2, and H3 tags are intended to be used for Site Titles, Page Titles, and Object Titles (or Subtitles), respectively.

An example of good heading usage would be as follows:

<h1>Render Perfect Productions Inc</h1>
<p>Basic description of your company, what services they offer, and why your potential clients should choose you.</p>
<h2>Graphic Design</h2>
<p>Description of your graphic design services, and any other important information you want users to know (about graphic design!).</p>
<h3>Logo Development</h3>
<p>Description of your logo development services. Notice: Logo Development is a service in the category of Graphic Design, so it is still relevant. You wouldn’t want to start talking about Web Video after you’ve declared the Page Title (H2) “Graphic Design”. Make sure your web pages are well structured, it makes the heading tags much easier to implement successfully and correctly.</p>

Which would end up looking something like this

Render Perfect Productions Inc

Basic description of your company, what services they offer, and why your potential clients should choose you.

Graphic Design

Description of your graphic design servies, and any other important information you want your users to know (about Graphic Design, of course!).

Logo Development

Description of your logo development services. Notice: Logo Development is a service under the category of Graphic Design, so it is still relevant. You wouldn’t want to start talking about Web Video after you’ve declared the Page Title (H2) “Graphic Design”. Make sure your web pages are well structured, it makes the heading tags much easier to implement successfully and in the correct way.

Keep Your User In Mind, Always

This is the most important SEO tip of all. While it is good practice to use Title Tags, Alt Tags, and Heading tags, you shouldn’t try to stuff your page full of keywords. Search engines are quite sophisticated and look down upon keyword stuffing. Most of all, you want to make sure that your users or potential clients are able to easily navigate through your site, understand all of your content, and easily access any information they need from your site.

Good Luck and Happy Optimizing!!