So here are a few steps to help close the SEO webdesign gap:
- Make sure you have good HTML site structure in place: This means all your your title tags, h1 tags, alt tags and so on are included in your design. I’ve seen a lot of Joomla templates that wrap the H1 tag around the logo (Please don’t do this). Aaron Wall at SEO Book has a great article on SEO HTML site structure if you want ti dive in further.
- Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have a 100% flash website: If you want to use FLASH then build your site in HTML and put the flash as elements of the page, not the whole page.
- Check for code errors: Run your HTML and CSS through the W3C validation and make sure its passes. There is no excuse for this.
- Cut down that menu: If you have large navigation menus, with fancy sub menus then consider scaling that menu down to the more relevant items.
Alternatively, you can put the menu at the bottom of the code and apply a CSS div float position on it so it appears at the top of the actual page.
All these are very basic tips to help create a more SEO friendly design. You have to keep in mind that your site structure and design will lay the foundation of all your SEO efforts in the future. Take the time to make sure its right and you won’t regret it. Also, if you are dealing with a template for a CMS, like Joomla or WordPress, take the time time to address these design issues. Most template have no SEO intentions in mind and will often leave out vital SEO site structure elements like the H1 tag. The point of this whole article is to have you really pay attention to your design and don’t assume just because you have a pretty website it will perform as well as it looks on the SERPs.