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01:08:22 pm

Web Design Issues In Search Engine Optimisation

Good graphic design is essential to any web site wishing to attract and keep the interest of users. But web site owners should be aware of some of the implications of over zealous graphic design for search engine optimisation.

Most folks would agree that graphic design is an essential component in website design and development. Aesthetics can be significant, as the common look and feel of a site can influence its credibility and the odds that a visit will convert into a sale. Another part of graphic design is utilitarian, meaning that good graphic design can simplify navigation, communication and the complete usability of a web site.

Flash is a terrific tool, and used appropriately it can definitely add sound and visual interest to your site. For some websites, maybe those specialising in art, music, video and the like, it may even be argued that Flash is crucial in some cases. The worst examples are those where a whole page, and frequently the main page (the home page), consists entirely of the Flash demo. Such pages generally hold minimum indexable text in any way, together with the content all tied up in the Flash demo... that your search engine just cannot see, read or index! Individuals get a great show while search engines get nothing.

Excessive graphic content works much like a Flash demo. Some websites consist of pages made up entirely of interlocking graphic images, with the images themselves containing the wording of the webpage along with other significant elements such as headers and titles.

So, graphic design is significant, but there are good reasons not to allow graphic designers a free hand in your web development procedure, especially when they come from a strong print or multimedia background instead of a web background. The problem is that, too frequently, graphic designers don't sufficiently understand the character of the web medium and of internet search engines in particular. This could result in a situation where the potential operation of a web site in search engine optimisation terms is critically compromised by "attributes" such as Flash demonstrations, excessive graphic content, and excessive javascript. Used inappropriately, each of those can have serious consequences for where your web site will gradually rank in search engines.

Javascript is just another great tool, and is virtually indispensable on most complex contemporary websites for a great number of tasks. Again, from a graphic designer's point of view interesting click this over here now visual effects such as rollovers and pop up menus can be performed using Javascript. But as is true with images and Flash, search engines don't do Javascript, so that any links which are locked up in Javascript code cannot be followed and those pages will never be indexed. In this respect search engines are quite different from web browsers.

The point here isn't that the baby should be thrown out with the bath water... Javascript, images and flash are all part of the modern web development toolkit. However it's important to not lose sight of the supreme target of most company websites: sales. If the main target of the web site is amusement, then by all means give your graphic designers free reign. But if sales matter, then search engine position issues, in which case your graphic designers will need to be a bit more restrained, resourceful and creative. The truth is, this is a place where real graphic design skills come to the fore... following the old minimalist adage less is more, a really good web designer can reach highly successful and satisfactory designs without resorting to technological overkill.

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