SEO Web Design is the practice of integrating form and function with equal emphasis on search engine spiders and human visitors alike. One facet of SEO Web Design for example, deals specifically with increasing the crawl-ability of your content for search engine spiders by employing cascading style sheets instead of tables for layout and design. This alone substantially reduces code-bloat and separates the text from the images (until requested from a browser which then consolidates the appearance of the text and images from the style sheet).
Employing strict / valid CSS is only one technique for integrating optimized design into your pages. This one tactic alone ensures spiders quickly grasp the subject matter of your content, which in turn determines if all of your relevant pages are indexed or omitted from the search engine. If your pages don’t make the grade (as a result of flaw-ridden outdated HTML formatting), then your may as well forget about hitting the top 10, let alone getting past security (the spiders).
Pages that have excessive loading time can either time-out or simply suffer from bogged down rendering time, which can invoke penalties as a result. Not to mention, pages that do not load quickly have higher bounce rates than those that load faster. So, if keeping the traffic that finds you is important, then this is one step in the right direction.
Optimization implies more than just a fancy word with five syllables, it represents in a nutshell removing or streamlining questionable components that are known to conflict with concurrent sites that grace a series of top 10 results (and clean, structured HTML code is high on the list). Not to say that you can’t rank in the top 10 with HTML errors in your code, large unoptimized images or by using tables for design, but if you are not grandfathered into search results and are competing for prime visual space above the fold, then essentially eliminating any element of your pages that could trigger a red flag from search engines is a task worthy of endeavor.
In fact, you would be surprised to know that many sites are overlooked each and every day as a result of poor grooming habits according to search engine spiders (who only call it as they see it). The first step in creating a solid foundation for search engine positioning is to remove any thing that could potentially circumvent your long term goals. Site structure, the frequency of adding new content (fresh content is an invitation for spiders), the topics and categories used to tie the related pages together, the links (both internal and external) along with hundreds of minute details all have their impact on rankings.
But, more often than not rankings do not hit their respective ceilings because of the quality of the content or the number of backlinks pointing at their pages, but the cleanliness of the code or the organization of the website structure is the culprit that should be hedged at it’s source (or rather at the level of source code respectively).
Aside from factoring content, eye-tracking studies, color analysis and and usability into the design (to create a complete user experience), there are aspects to SEO Web Design such as infusing a compelling call to action, building a strong series of internal links and hundreds of other delicately synchronized criteria that can be reduced to ashes from simply having bloated lines of HTML code in your pages or strikingly similarly oversights.
A spider trap from something as simple as that could be one milestone hemorrhaging valuable ranking potential from your pages. You would think that design and SEO are synonymous, but rarely are such things considered from people strictly focusing on aesthetics alone, nor is design high on the list for most logical developer tech-types who are all about function first and design as a by-product of the process.
Errors or excessive code not only eat up valuable bandwidth, but also leave spiders confused about the content on your pages. So if you like your design or are partial to traffic from search engines, you may wish to reconsider a face lift and remix your older outdated pages into compliant code that validates.
In closing, feel free to review our basic SEO Web Design tips as well as SEO Web Design tactics for starters. It’s not rocket science, but optimization is about the sum of it’s parts and how well they perform together. It’s better to never say never and make assumptions about what could be holding your site back. Links and themed content are important, but having a pleasant user experience ranks just as high on the list, so web design without search engines in mind is one way to throw your return on investment (ROI) right out the window multiplied by every page that exists for your site. With a solid foundation optimized for humans and search engines alike, every page benefits and yet another calling card out there working 24/7 on your behalf.