There’s more Web design talent out there than ever before, yet big mistakes are still made – and those mistakes can cost you in terms of search engine visibility. Luckily, if you avoid the most common Web design errors, you’ll go a long way toward safeguarding your online brand.
The most common Web design mistakes that can harm your SEO efforts are:
Forgetting Header Tags (Especially H1)
Header tags aren’t always indispensable to user experience, but search engines love them. They serve to identify and categorize a page’s content, giving context about target keywords. Don’t neglect H1 for any one of your pages, including your home page.
Failing to Optimize for Page Load Times
Load times are becoming a more sensitive issue, especially with limited mobile bandwidth. It’s vital to use design principles like asynchronous loading that reduce the overhead in loading each page. Reduced loading time can directly improve search visibility.
Using (Annoying) Pop-Up Windows
Used right, pop-up windows do heavy lifting for early conversions, such as email subscriptions. But intrusive, annoying pop-ups are more trouble than they’re worth. Be sure to modify or disable pop-ups on mobile, where they can “break” your site.
Leaving Your Images Un-Optimized
Images need to be optimized on two dimensions: Size and SEO visibility. Using the right file formats and enabling image compression will help with size. SEO visibility comes from providing plenty of content, including using keyword-rich alt text for images.
Using Infinite Scroll
Infinite scroll is beloved by designers and many users. Unfortunately, it’s a dead end when it comes to SEO. When infinite scroll is enabled, search engines generally only crawl the content at the “top” of the scroll, leaving much of the rest unrepresented in search results.
Neglecting to Optimize for Mobile
Google is pushing toward a mobile-first experience for the Web. Recently, it began using the mobile version of a site as the first point of reference for how that site is displayed and cataloged. A responsive design that caters to all mobile devices is becoming a true necessity.
Having Thin Content
Ideally, every product or service you offer should have its own dedicated page. This allows you to communicate a complete narrative about everything you do and direct your users to the most valuable content. Rolling categories and products together hinder your SEO efforts.
Web design mistakes can be fixed, but it’s always best not to make them in the first place. With this tip sheet, you’ll be off to a strong start.