How to Make your Blog Design Optimized for Search Engines

SEO Optimized DesignClick to Enlarge

There are so many different blogsites out there talking about so many different topics and wanting to rank in the big three search engines. Search engine traffic is one of the best ones in any website / blogsite. Design is one of the places to start with your SEO’s On Site optimization. Right now, you might not know it, but your design has a big impact on your website’s SEO effectivity.

So here’s the list provided by Cyrus Shepard from SEOmoz and his wife Dawn Shepard (she designed this beautiful infographic) as they describe how your blog design should be like when you want it optimized for search engine friendliness.

Note: This post is reblogged by my brother Kevin Si who is the chief designer of SEO Hacker. You can follow his rants and tweets here.

1. First Impression is Important

No matter how good your content in the site is, its design will always be the first thing the user sees. When your website looks crumpled and cheap, no matter how hard work and furnished your article is, your credibility loses by a huge amount which might increase your visitor bounce rate instead of getting quality hits to your website.

Today, there are lots of web design services around the block that can give you a good design at a very low price or, if you are using pre-made systems like WordPress, there are lots of beautiful themes that you can use on the internet that can boost up your website’s beauty and credibility – which can attract more readers.

2. Seek and you will find

Don’t rely much on Google to find your articles for you. Your website itself should be self-sustaining in making your readers look through more into your pages. A search feature on your website not only helps your users find things that are more relevant to their interest but also helps you in gaining more traffic for your site. Remember User experience is very important in having a good relationship with your readers.

Another good feature of a search in the website is that you can find which keywords are effective and are being searched for in your website. This might give you ideas on what articles you can write and/or tidbits you can improve on. I believe this is called keyword discovery and user behavior as stated by SEOmoz

Optimized RSS feed3. RSS

RSS is something that has been always overlooked by most blog type website. Not only does this feature help you earn avid readers, but it also helps the readers themselves get updated as they have found your website to be informative. Tick this feature on, the little effort you give can go a long way.

4. Crumbs, crumbs

It may sound as a little insignificant but breadcrumbs hold a good part in making your website have a better experience rank to both your readers and Google’s search algorithm. Not only does it help your readers know where they are in your vast internet space, it also helps any search engine to sort your pages in the right category.

5. Navigate Properly

One good principle in creating navigation is try to give your readers the fewest clicks to their desired destination as possible. User experience is always important when your goal is not only get more readers but also have them find your blog posts not only of their interest but also of their comfort.

Also for those seeking to optimize their website in terms of search visibility, it is highly preferred for you to arrange your priorities and make your navigation to have a flat architecture than those with long sub categories. Another point of fact is that, try to minimize the use of JavaScript and/or flash links as search engines do not find it best to crawl those sets of codes.

6. Quality begets quality

No matter how substantial your article is, a good image will always boost your article’s visual design creating a more appealing look for readers. A good looking image will refract a good article, a bad image on the other hand will deceive your readers that your writing is as well.

A bad image also connotes the idea of:

● Good but is irrelevant image to your article.

-This gives your readers the impression that you’re either using auto generated images from the web or you just don’t give much effort to your blog therefore you have visible errors in your front-end.

● Bad quality images

- Obviously a bad quality image is a no-no to your blog because aside from the fact the image is being a very unpleasant visual item for the readers, it also hints to your readers that you have not much taste for quality awareness.

7. Keep it in the Field

The standard size of an average monitor display is 768 pixel in height (width is not of the matter as it depends on your design), with this in mind, in that first 768 pixels that your visitors see, make sure that the substance that is visible in that area is the best that you can offer your readers as this can determine if they will read the article or not. Quote a question, an anecdote, or anything that can capture their interest and/or fancy.

Linking metrics8. Link it Together

If you look at the top ranking sites, usually they provide inter-links in between one article to another, in keywords that you might find interesting. In some cases, they link on other works either to help you understand the topic more, or provide you with more interesting materials other than your current read. Other than the idea that this will educate or entertain your readers more, this also helps in making your readers stay in your website longer in which they can explore your website far more easily according to their flow of interest.

9. Link Lightly

Do not over do your page with links. Yes, links do good and wonders for your blog but having too much of something has always been bad. If you dilute your webpage with too much links without proper page rank, you may have problems with the search engine causing your ranks to be a bit more confused than what you hoped for.

If you have links that holds more importance, it is best that you place it in the body section as the header and the footer get lower priority in terms of search engine value.

A good rule of thumb is to place a maximum of 100 links per page.

10. Don’t keep Ad -ing

There was a recent study that has found there seemed to be a negative correlation between ads (in particular Google’s) and the search rankings. It has not been 100% proven as to how, but there might be damage when you prioritize your ads rather than the first thing you are presenting to your readers which is your content. Yes ads are a great way to earn passively with your blog, but as soon as you focus on it much more with your presentation, there will be a problem that is visible not only to the search engine but to your reader as well.

11. Social Interaction goes a long way

If you have an account in one of these websites: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster (used to), Google+, Multiply and/or YouTube – you definitely have an idea of how social interaction interests a lot of people.

Communication is not a one way transfer of information, it requires feedback. In which there is a need for a reciprocating action from the receptive end to reply back with another idea. In the world of the internet, it’s called “Commenting”. Commenting is the blog’s form of communication with its readers. A blog that can communicate with its readers is a blog that grows; Grows not only to the reader’s favor but to the search engine’s as well.

Daily shares in Facebook12. Sharing is caring

Have you ever seen the word “retweet” “like” or “+1″ in blog posts? Have you ever used them? Sharing in online media now produces 10% of internet traffic. Facebook by itself shares 4 billion pieces of digital content everyday, digital content includes: videos, photos, notes, posts, links etc. Imagine how many people can see it if you put a share feature beside your article that enables your readers to have 1 click access to post it on their Facebook or twitter – your market expands exponentially!

Also now that Google+ is starting to play in the social game, their +1 feature also plays a good leverage in boosting up your ranks in search engine according to how much “+1″ you get from your circles.

13. Need for speed

No matter how beautiful your blog is, with all the fancy 3d illusions and the large hi-res background, if it is not optimized for fast loading, you will probably lose readers. Why? What good is your web design if it is not visible to all? Always remember that the internet is beyond your borders, its international! Your readers come from everywhere; and everywhere means that they don’t always have the same fast connection that you have. To some it may take as fast as a blink of an eye for the page to load completely, To some, it may take as long as 7 seconds, and still to some, it may take longer. According to SEOmoz’s Geoff Kenyon, an average load speed should be about 2.9 — this is to consider that you want to be part of the 50% of the websites in the internet, but heck, if you can optimize it to be faster, go ahead!

14. Connect, Correct and Direct

When you think you’ve finished your site already as you type the last code, think twice. No matter how proficient you and your developers are, there will always be a problem that will arise sooner or later. Since we are talking SEO, the hardest thing about these types of problem is that it’s invisible. Problems such as broken links, improper redirects, missing pages, etc. are not visible much at the front end. So you need tools that are specifically designed for these problems such as:

Xenu Link Sleuth

Screaming Frog

● SEOmoz Web App

As for design concerns, you also have to test your work on different type of browsers and different sizes. The most famous site for this service is Browser Shots which offers it free to some extent.

Blogging Platforms Metric15. Pick a platform

Since we are discussing about blogs, if you have yet to decide on how to make your website, there are already ready-made systems provided from the internet. The most reliable, common and recommended are

WordPress

Tumblr

These systems provide you with versatile but comfortable options to help make your process in creating one easier. It’s secure, user-friendly and customizable so if knowledgeable, you can tinker around with it according to your wants or needs.

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Comments

  1. says

    What a great post. I appreciate it being so concise. You cover it all; headlines, concise, code, design, EVERYTHING! I’m easily passing this on. This would also be great for small business because the things you outline would not be over most online people’s heads. Keep up the great work!

  2. says

    One thing that i like here that you mentioned couple of times is that after all the crucial thing when somebody wants to read your blog is first TITLE tag and then PICTURE.

    Picture is so crucial. When we see picture we are creating in our mind what we are gonna to read. We did not start to read, but we have feeling that we already know what is coming :)

    • Kevin says

      Hi Art! It’s just a matter of placing the codes in your blog. But do also take note that the design needs to have room for your ads. :)

      Just a side note:
      Although Tumblr is a VERY good blogging platform, it focuses more on having a large social circle with similar interests than promoting your website. If you are aiming for followers inside tumblr, you may get a lot of readers but chances are you have a low chance of getting monetized. But if you are going for the people outside the tumblr population, you may have the chance to earn but you have to hide your site as hosted by tumblr.

      It’s highly recommended that you get your own domain name for your blog because when your site has the “tumblr” word in its domain name, you don’t get the same reputation you should get, as the tumblr community have a different definition of “blogging” already.

      But again, I will emphasize that its blogging platform is really well made for those that want to start in the blogging career.

      Cheers Art! We wish you well in your endeavor!

  3. says

    Hi Kevin! Thanks for the advice! I think I need to be serious with my tumblr now. I am in “learning” stage for now on how to earn money online. I will bookmark this post and subscribe to your site so I can be updated to any “helpful” tips you may have in the future! Thanks kababayan!!

    • Kevin says

      Aww thank you Art! Tumblr is a good stepping stone for bloggers because of its community. In that site, you will know who your topics and writing styles appeal to, and what they might be interested in.

      Also, be sure to link the article to your site below so that they can click it and be directed to your site no matter how reblogged it is. :)

      If there’s any topic or concern you have for us to write about, feel free to tell!

      To your progress and success! Cheers kababayan! :)

  4. sanwalsarwaan says

    Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  5. Mike says

    I enjoyed reading through your posting. I need to say that it was the 1st article on your blog I genuinely enjoyed and in which I had a feeling of agreement, know what I mean? In any case, keep posting and I’ll be back once again.

  6. Mike says

    I just want to say I’m newbie to blogging and seriously enjoyed you’re page. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your website . You definitely come with exceptional article content. Regards for sharing with us your web-site.Good info. Lucky me I reach on your website by accident, I bookmarked it. thanks a lot

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