Link Building-Friendly Web Design

Search engines, particularly Google that has a list of its own ranking signals and factors, can influence which results to show. This is despite the inherent limitations of crawlers, bots, and spiders of interpreting content.

But since your website needs to be displayed on the results page to drive conversions, you need to manipulate elements that are within your control, so you won’t be blindsided by these crawlers.

How do you do that? The answer is simple: build a search engine-friendly website.

Importance of SEO-friendly web design

Crawlers see your pages differently, so you must structure your entire website for both the search engine and human visitor consumption. For one, the bots see a skeleton, text-rich version of a web page while the visitors see all the styled elements of that page.

Click the small green arrow down button at the end of the URL to see the cached version of the page that you are browsing. This is how bots view your pages. The more relevant content the bots can crawl, the higher the chance of the page for showing up on the targeted keyword.

Elements of link building-friendly web design

Indexable content

In enhancing the searchability of your website, the content of the website must be in HTML text format. This is particularly true for the most important text or those texts that boost the findability of the website – the keyworded texts.

Non-text contents are ignored by the crawlers so you need to manipulate this as well by adding alt attributes to images or transcription to videos, for example. Do this without sacrificing the visual display styles, that is at the HTML editor.

Choice of topic forms part of various ways to make the website searchable on search engines. As such, if the article will be used as link bait.

Link-bait content, in the SEO world, is considered as share-worthy and link-worthy articles. These are blogs or other forms of content aligns with the point of view of the target market, inciting emotion in them and allowing them to share their experience as they interact with the content. Link-bait content gives practical value or utility to the end-users.

Topic choice affects SEO as well as shares and clicks, or simply the engagement at the article level. This requires more effort when curating and writing compared to the regular articles. Thus, its relevance and searchability must be emphasized. One way to do this is figuring out in the overall design the featured articles, for instance.

Shareability of content, whether these are regular blogs or for link-bait purposes, is influenced by the format. Leverage shareability since social footprint also matters through choosing the right content type such as infographic, comprehensive guide, images, videos, statistics roundups, and tweetables.

It should be a combination of text and visual, although again, the bots should be able to crawl the visual content too.

Best practices

Follow and index

  • Make sure that all the important pages are set on follow, index. While this is the default format, it won’t hurt to check from time to time.

Crawlable links

The pathways of the website or simply, the link structure must be crawlable as well. This is essential in paving the way for the site’s findability. Not just that, however, because crawlability also allows for bigger crawl budget or more pages being crawled on any given crawl session.

Remember the click-click rule? The same concept applies here wherein the user must find what he is looking for in just three clicks. Bots and other spiders must be able to access the most important pages from the homepage. Great content and targeted keyword usage would be futile if the spiders cannot reach these important pages in the first place.

Links must be clickable so that the user may move from page to page. There are instances when the crawlers are not able to go past one link. Links in Flash and Java and iframes are two of the common issues hindering the bot to crawl the page, and not all developers understand the depth of these mistakes.

Also, when certain links are not declared at the sitemap.xml or blocked by robots.txt, chances are, these won’t be crawled. So always check the which pages are being crawled and which are not and how to address them at the Google Search Console.

You would want to conserve your link juice, and pass it on to other links that provide value to your website. A dofollow link is a sign of trust; the many dofollow links your website has, the better from an SEO standpoint.

If you don’t want the spiders to crawl a link that do not add value to the users, then put rel=”nofollow’ tag. Nofollow links are not necessarily a bad thing, but you want your users to squeeze as much value as they can when exploring your website as well as the links you are targeting.

Best practices

Information architecture

  • More than or even close to one hundred links is too many. Keep it at 3 to 5 links per 500 words.

Targeted keywords

Keywords are integral to solving an inquiry. Only information relevant to the keyword used by the searcher will be shown on the results pages. In fact, Google, as a search engine, is a database of keyword-based indexes, not just one big database of links. Retrieving the right pages and ranking them based on relevance to the words entered are at the center of making web design spider-friendly.

Keyword domination on the page still matters today, more so that machine learning is fueling search technologies. If you want to dominate the search engine, make sure that the targeted keywords are reflected on the metadata.

Do not manipulate the systems by abusing keywords, which is also known as keyword stuffing. This practice relates to putting as many keywords as you can on a page, that only confuses the bots.

Best practices

  • Target one major keyword per page, then use LSI or related keywords.
  • Put the keyword in the title tag, meta description, URL, h1 or h2, alt tag, and of course, content.
  • Use keywords strategically and organically.
  • Don’t cannibalize the targeted keyword by using it as an anchor text linking to another page.

On-page optimization

As already noted above, you may only change those elements that you have direct control. These are the on-page elements as follows.

HTML tags

Speaking of tags, there are several HTML tags although the most important for SEO are header and headings, title, images, links, and meta description.

URL structures

How URLs are structured also affect the performance of the website search-wise. URLs appear prominently on a page and the results pages, so it’s only right to make them descriptive and recognizable. Unfit or improperly formatted URLs result in negative user experience. It impacts both visibility and click-through rate.

  • Make URLs appropriately descriptive.
  • The shorter the URL, the better; minimize the trailing slashes.
  • Put the keyword in the URL, if possible.
  • Utilize static URLs such as myoptimind.com/blog/seo-friendly-web-design instead of myoptimind.com/blog?id=2468.
  • Use hyphens and not underscores or spaces.