In terms of SEO, the layout and design of your website is your foundation. That might sound surprising, as one of the first things many people think of relative to SEO is the importance of keywords. As essential as it is for your site to be easy for humans to understand, you’re not going to get humans to see it unless you make your site structure easy for search engines to interpret.
It’s important to look at your site through the eyes of a search engine. The most important parts of your website should appear in text form in the HTML of your site.
1. Meta Tags. Meta Tags within your code are used to communicate to webmasters; they provide the search engines with information about your site. If the webmaster is unable to decipher the code, it will simply ignore the information.
2. Text: Search engines can’t read images (including pictures, logos, and images of words), videos, fancy java plugins, or audio content. That’s why it’s crucial to provide what’s called ‘alt text’ for images, transcripts for videos or audio, and supplemental text with any java plugin. This accomplishes a few things:
- If an image file won’t load, the alt text will display so that visitors to your site will know what was intended to there.
- For indexing purposes, alt text tells search engines what your image depicting.
- These text options are a key starting point when creating an "accessible" website aligned with ADA regulations; this is especially important for healthcare-related sites.
3. Title Tags: The creation of clickable Title Tags can greatly increase your chances of being seen on search engines. Title Tags are
- Are an essential place for keywords.
- Are easily obtained b y the search engine from the site's code.
- Are often the first statement searchers will see in the search results page.
- Are located on the “Tab” at the top of your browser page
- Populate from a meta tag embedded in the page’s code.
- Generally 55-60 characters in length
4. Crawlable Link Structure: Ensuring that your site has a crawlable link structure is an easy way to maximize the effectiveness of SEO. As you design your internal pages, it's improtant to remember that search engines (and human eyes) understand structure. Here is what we mean:
- Imagine you have a website with a domain name of “CompanyABC.com. On the home page is an “About Us” button.
- The “About Us” URL should be structured as follows: “CompanyABC.com/about-us.”
- By looking at this URL, search engines and human eyes understand the main page is CompanyABC.com, and within that page is another called “About Us.” It is as intuitive as an old-fashioned Table of Contents.
Structuring your site is both an art and a science. When creating a new site or modifying your existing site, it’s important to follow the guidelines we’ve shared so that your products and services can be found.