SEO and Design

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a key player in how websites are found on the web. There are many components factoring how search engines rank and read through websites. But for our purposes, the most important thing to know about SEO is that it has been enhanced over the years to deliver users the best, most valuable websites and content. By creating algorithms for how websites can deliver the best content, the search engines can help eliminate (or at the very least hide in the far reaches of the back pages) all the spam on the internet. By bringing forth the most valuable content to the front page of the web, they clean up searches and make sure it is relevant. SEO is a positive yet complicated emergence in the digital marketing world.

How does SEO affect design and user interface?

Structuring a usable design in the digital realm already requires many obstacles. Pixel pushing for the best user interface, matching a client’s aesthetic requirements and branding, figuring out the perfect user experience, showcasing the content hierarchy and important content messaging within the information architecture (IA)… But being able to design with all that in mind, along with an additional layer of SEO strategy, is a task only some marketing agencies can claim to preform.

Here are four crucial items to consider while designing with SEO in mind:

1. Think about your headings. Where will the h1 reside and what typography will make it stand out from the rest of the other headers and copy? Does the h2 appear where a reader and the robots can see and read your focus keyword clearly? There are many values to using your heading correctly, and this article lays out an excellent checklist that is helpful to consider when designing a page and thinking about your headings.

2. Make sure your content sections make sense. Instead of just making designs and throwing some “lorem ipsum” content repeaters, FIREANT works closely with our clients to make sure that each content section has a purpose and an idea, as part of our overall strategy. Because of SEO, content is making a comeback. If you want to survive in today’s digital landscape, you have to strive for purposeful, meaningful, relevant content.

3. Know the bleeding edge. If you have an image with text overlay, chances are you could create a similar, more interactive element using HTML5, CSS3, sprites, and so on. Being able to have that text readable to search engines will do better for you than having an alt keyword. If you must have an image, make sure the alt keyword is used correctly. While it is debated if the alt tag is beneficial or possibly even hurts rankings, tests have shown it still ranks with the robots. For now it is best to use the alt tags where applicable, and use them wisely.

4. UX, UX, UX. The best pages are usable, shareable, and get the users excited about the product, mission, or purpose. All your SEO and content effort will fall short unless users stay on the page and engage with the solution.