Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Website Design Do’s and Don’ts

This is a general list of website design do’s and don’ts. Some of these apply not only
to Google but to all search engines in general. Some may be obvious, while others
are not. Adhering to this list will not only improve optimization of your site, but will
likely make it easier on visitors to your site in the form of reduced download times
and better navigation between pages.


• Do use a reliable Web hosting provider. If your site is down while Google
visits your site, you may be dropped from their index for a while.

• Do create relevant, timely, and useful content on your site – particularly for
your home page. This may be obvious, but often is overlooked in search of
the magic bullet or quick fix.

• Do update your content frequently – particularly your home page. Sites that
frequently update their content get visited by Google more often. This also
gives your visitors a reason to return to your site regularly.

• Do create lots of relevant content and pages on your site. It is better to have
50 short pages than to have 10 long, flowing pages. Make sure each page
contains a minimum of 200-250 words.

• Do use your keywords in the page title, headings, the first paragraph, and in
link text. These are the main places that Google looks – the title is extra
important. It also helps to bold or italicize your keyword once per page.

• Do keep your page size small. Both your customers and Google like smaller
pages. They download (and are crawled) faster and are easier to read. For
every second it takes your page to load, you lose 10% of your visitors. You
have 5 seconds to “hook” your visitor, otherwise they will go elsewhere.

• Do create unique titles and descriptions for each page. Unique titles are a
must. Don’t skimp on this.

• Do optimize any PDF and Word files on your site. Google will index these will
any other page on your site. If these files contain duplicate content, put them
in a separate folder and use the robots.txt file to disallow crawling.

• Do use a shallow site structure. If you can manage it, keep all your web
pages in the same folder on your server as your home page.

• Do create a “Related Links” page for adding links to other sites as part of your
reciprocal link exchange campaign. Make sure you have some content on
this page – don’t just have a list of links.

• Do create a “Link to Us” page that contains link code that can be simply
copied (or email this information to link partners). You want your link text to
contain your best keywords.

• Do put JavaScript code in a separate file and link to it. This makes pages
load (and get crawled) faster.

• Do create a stylesheet file and link to it from your pages. This makes pages
load (and get crawled) faster.


• Don’t use page redirects on your site. Google has been known to penalize
sites that use fast redirects.

• Don’t use "doorway pages" hosted on free servers, or create one-page “mini-
sites” as such pages usually have very low PageRank. Spend time adding
new content to your main site instead.

• Don’t repeat your keyword endlessly on a page. Keep your keyword density
below 20% or so, otherwise Google may consider this as spam - as might
other search engines.

• Don’t use hidden text on your site, such as using white text on a white
background. Search engines consider this as spam.

• Don’t use tiny text with extremely small font sizes. Search engines may
consider this as spam.

• Don’t use hidden image links on your site. Hidden image links are 1-by-1
pixel sized images inside a link tag.

• Don’t use frames. Although Google can crawl framed sites, they are
problematic in other areas. Most sites don’t use frames.

• Don’t use elaborate image maps, gratuitous animations, or Flash on your site
if possible - especially on your home page. Google needs to see actual
textual content on your pages!