Professional Cool Creations For Visibility

Many see web design as an artistic creative process. You will see many banner, logo, poster, leaflet and other media designers designing websites for businesses and private projects. Of course how it looks on the eye is important, that "Wow Factor" will certainly help to bag that client. That cool creation can show professionalism and remember that saying that a picture can say a thousand words. This is even a better solution if all you need is a brochure type website and marketing is to be done via social media, the press or even TV. But when it comes to visibility on search engines, a cool creation can also be a liability if not done with some knowledge of how Google perceives the property and how designing a website without this knowledge, can destroy any good rankings and visibility.

the cool board

Designing A Website That Suits Google And The Client

Let’s start at the absolute beginning, what are the top 2 factors when looking at a website that suits the Google Algorithm. The answer lies in mobile suitability and page speed to render.

Mobile First

Google’s Mobile First update states that all websites will be measured on its mobile version and of course it needs to be mobile friendly first before it can do that. This has changed a lot of processes for some designers.

Relocating the mobile version to the m subdirectory ie (m.mysite), was and is still a favourite option to separate the two versions. The problem was that the information on the mobile site was often a watered down version of the master site. Canoncial tags were added to the mobile version to align it with the desktop version. But now there is a role reversal, the best content should be on the mobile version as this is what Google uses to ascertain its ranking value. Hiding text under expandable paragraphs for example a common practice in mobile sites, something Google states it does not like hidden text.

man looking at his mobile phone

Good luck to those designers who have just got a landing page on their mobile version, rankings would have already tanked for the client.

A responsive design is more in line with a better visitor’s experience, only one site to update, only one url to remember whilst switching between mobile and desktop devices etc. But this is where good designers who understand the web, get the high ground against artistic designers.

Creating a property that gets that message across, both in mobile format and desktop, keeping important content near the top, big buttons to click to improve bounce rates and retention times is now a major factor to a cool creation.

Super Fast Loading Times

Although mobile phone speeds are getting faster, page load speeds is a major factor to the quality of a website. It is natural for artistic designers to use high resolutions within images and printing.

Typically in printing a 300dpi would be used, but web design is typically based around the 90dpi mark, but even this is not enough to ensure images are loading quickly enough. Image size is a critical consideration to ensure pages load quick enough, text tend not to an issue.

Of course there is that Javascript. Using too much can seriously slow down a page, even if visually it looks great. It can be even worse on a mobile site, where more Javascript is sometime used. Using HTML 5 for responsive designs can be a quicker alternative; again this can separate an artistic designer from that true web professional.

Understanding how to cache images and javascript through the .htaccess file can also help with page speed times, allowing larger files.

Other Aspects That Can Help Visibility

Many surveys suggest that a larger text base is better for ranking. It is estimated that pages with a text count of over 1800 is more likely to rank high for certain terms. Of course this can’t be 1800 words of waffle, but well constructed and well written content that shows expertise and authority. Designers need to be aware of this.

Developing templates that can expand to accommodate large text areas, where of course header tags (h1, h2, h3) etc are not used for design purposes but only to assist with Google’s understanding of the page. Giving the client that flexibility so when they add their content, they can really show their expertise within their trade, is a really cool creative solution. Limiting the area to write text or add media is not longer a good process.

For years it was standard practice to ensure at least some written content appeared above the fold that would show Google what the page was about. As the desktop version was ultimately used as the measuring stick it was less important within the mobile version, where less space is available. But now we are in a mobile first world, there are questions to whether content still needs to be above the smaller mobile fold, before scrolling down. John Muller for Google has suggested that it is no longer as important, but many SEO Strategists (including me) still believe it still has a positive bearing on its importance. So if the mobile version shows only shows an image or JavaScript with no H1 tags, before scrolling down, there is a chance that page will lose some value in Google’s eyes.

Creative Solutions Should Be Based Around Google

Can you remember the time Google stated, "just make the best website you can and leave the rest to us"? I can, but it is no longer that simple. There really are key decisions that need to be made right at the very start of any creation. A strategic plan needs to set out, if this new creation is to be a brochure site or one that needs to perform well within the search engines. If the answer lies with the latter, then an artistic approach is not good enough, there needs to be a strategic approach too.

Understanding Google algorithm is important, but when it comes to design, a good starting point is the information provided by Google themselves, especially when it comes to mobile first and speed. I doubt it would be any surprise to understand that this article has been written by someone who looks at how design affects ranking, rather than how pretty it looks.

Another mistake designers make, is linking from all pages of their clients website to their own. Google like relevance and if you have just designed a horse based website, then linked to their own website with the niche of web design, it is bad enough, but doing it across all pages is even worse and can get the site banned, or at least lose authority. A better alternative, is adding a citation, with name phone number and website, without the link can help.

Using Eye Resolution Software Like Feng Gui

Once you have designed your website it can help by using software than shows where the users eyes go to, this can help retention and conversion. Software like Feng Gui can record the mouse movements or scroll downs, to identify eye moment. You can then see the images that are compelling or sales messages. Even the best designers needs feedback from their visitors.

Last Comment

I recently bought the url and although I don’t intend to use that brand name I did think it would ne useful for this article. Of course I have disavowed any sitewide links that may have come from previous clients. It would not worry me; if these owners took them away also as I am not the original designer. But it is a reminder that if you want the best chance of visibility, take time out ot learn about SEO and make sure it is todays information, not yesteryears.