Search Engine Friendly Design

Apr 25, 2006 - 2:06 pm 0 by
Filed Under SES Toronto 2006

This is a classic session, with a classic presenter by the name of Shari Thurow from Shari has been doing this session, since the first SES - I believe. Anne Kennedy is the moderator for this session. It has been years since I have seen this presentation, so I figured I sit in to cover it again.

Search engine friendly design is not a site designed specifically for a search engine. She shows a text only page, with crazy h1 tags, and so on - she describes it as a doorway page. Search engine friendly design is a user friendly Web site that can be easily found on both the crawl based and human based search engine (web directory).

Importance of the site design: - End users/site visitors/target audience should be primary - Human based search engines - and then finally crawler based search engines

How you arrange words, how you place graphic images and multimedia files, will communicate to the search engines, what is important on those pages.

5 Basic Rules of Web Design - Easy to read - Easy to navigate ("sense of place") - Easy to find (externally and internally) - Consistent in layout and design - Quick to download --- Easy to Use ---

Easy To Find: - On search engines, web directories, and related sites (industry sites like, thomas, etc.) - Go directly to the relevant page (people should be sent directly to the relevant page) - Within 7-8 clicks, preferably less, as long as... - Most important information "above the fold" (she shows an example of Lake County Crisis Center FAQs page) - Contact information should be easily visible and find (footer, header and never put contact info after your copyright, about us page, locations page)

Search Engines: - Index Text - Follow Links - Measure Popularity

The first two, index text and follow links, are what all search engines do and will always do.


- Are you using words on your pages that match what your target audience types into the search engines? - Do you have a site navigation and URL structure that the search engines spiders can easily follow? - Bring in an SEO early on the site design phase... This happens all the time...

Success SEO depends on those three components... and all three are all important. She explains on the page criteria and off the page criteria. She calls those that claim they can control "off the page" criteria, "spammers."

What kind of text? - The words your target audience is typing into search queries are called keywords or query words. - When visitors view a Web page, does the content appear to be focused? Title tag, headings, breadcrumbs, cross links, intros and conclusions, product/service descriptions, and graphic images... - Visible body text should not have perform any type of action to view the most important text of an individual web page in a browser. - She shows how to select all and copy and paste it into notepad to show body text.

Primary Text: - Title tags - Visible body copy - Text at top of the page - Text in and around hypertext links

Secondary Text: - Meta tag content - Alternative text (alt tags) - Domain and file names

Optimization Tip: How you title and headline your Web pages play a roll in your rankings.

LINK COMPONENT: Site and page architecture

Site Navigation Scheme (from best to worst) -- Text links -- Navigation buttons -- Image maps -- Menus (from and dhtml) -- Flash -- Consideration: dynamically generated URLs

-- You can use two alternative navigation methods on your site. I.e. flash and text links, etc. -- She now shows types of text links, including navigation, breadcrumbs, contextual links, embedded text links (within the content and she shows examples of going overboard), optimize your sitemap page well.

- Informational Pages -- Contain info your target audience is interested in -- Do not contain a lot of sales hype but rather factual info -- Are spider friendly Web pages -- Often have a simpler layout -- Visually match the rest of your Web sites -- She shows the difference between an informational page and a doorway page

Ok, she says something I do not like. If your web developer or seo says they will host everything for you and you don't have to worry about it, they are generally a spammer. I know what she meant, but this is a beginners session and I am not sure how many others understand it. BTW, she is a very detailed and good presenter.

Ok, back.

She shows more examples of well optimized pages. Info pages, glossary pages, tips and how to pages, locations page, category/product pages,

Cross Linking

- In addition to a spider friendly nav scheme and a site map, all sites should have related, relevant cross links. - Hierarchical (vertical) -- Breadcrumbs -- Cats - > Sub cats -- etc..

Type of Web page Page layout and structure URL Structure

POPULARITY COMPONENT: - Number of links - Quality of links - Number of times people click on links to your site - How long end users visit your site - How often people return to your site

Do people continue to navigate your site, link to your site? bookmark your site, return to your site.

Factors the Affect Popularity: - Substantial and unique content - How other sites are linked to your site (all about anchor text) - Site usability - what are the 2 of the biggest complaints about site design?

Other Design Considerations: - What is a splash page? - Why don't search engines like splash pages? - It is either a huge graphic saying click here or flash site with a skip intro link - If you do a splash page, put text below the fold, with text nav also

Home Page Design: - SEF characteristics to include in your home page: -- keyword rich text -- At least one spider friendly nav scheme -- Link to the most important sections on your site -- Visible link to a site map -- She shows examples

That is all... Great presentation...


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