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Productivity Tips for Web Designers is the weekly series for web designers who want to enhance their design, software, and freelance business skills and streamline their workflow. Whether you're new to web design or working professionally as a seasoned designer, you'll discover techniques that can help you become more proficient at your craft. Tune in every Thursday for a new tip on topics including typography; SEO; design software like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver; and web coding in HTML and CSS.
In addition, all SEO techniques employed should be performed in an ethical way that does not violate any laws, guidelines, or standard codes of ethics, especially those set down by Google and other search engines. You may have heard about the terms Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO, which generally refer to the ethical practices of SEO providers. Black being bad and White being good. A better way to frame what's good or bad however is to question whether certain SEO practices have willfully disregarded Google's guidelines in a deliberate effort to improve search engine rankings.
Good SEO, like good content, attracts visitors and the more visitors that come to your site regularly the more opportunities you have to convert them into paying customers. As a web designer your role may have nothing to do with marketing or SEO, but there are some things that you can do to your code as part of your web design services that can help with organic SEO. Adding free organic SEO to your pages can be done at any time and in any order.
But for simplicity I've organized 16 techniques into three categories which I call Code As You Go, Cody Tidy Up, and Code Extras. Here are my tips for the Code As You Go category. First, use semantic markup to identify the importance of your content. That means marking up paragraph text with P tags, heading ones, heading twos, em and strong for emphasis and bold, et cetera. Number two, use accessible markup.
First, add meta tags to all your pages. The most important one is the meta description, which can be up to 150 characters long, including spaces and punctuation. Be sure to include keywords near the front of the description and for increased SEO benefits the description can be unique on every page of your site. Second, use unique and thoughtful title tags. Your titles can be up to 65 characters long and should include keywords near the front.
Good titles often identify what visitors can expect to find on the page. Three, use internal links to relevant pages on your site. If your copy includes words for contact us for more information then link the words contact us to your contact page. Number four, fix broken links. A broken link is terrible for SEO. Number five, scan your code in code view and look for coding issues. In Dreamweaver when an error is detected the code editor will alter the color of your HTML to alert you that there's a problem.
And number six, validate your code and correct any errors before publishing. Even little things like missing alt and title attributes can be detrimental to your SEO. As for SEO sociability, consider pursuing as many of the following organic SEO suggestions as possible from the Code Extras category. Number one is embed social media follow links on your site. Establishing a web presence on social media can help attract web site visitors.
Two is to embed social media sharing links on your site so your visitors can easily share your site's content. Visit addthis.com or sharethis.com to get free social share links for your site. Number three, increase your backlinks by becoming a guest blogger or writing articles for other websites and blogs. The more links that point to your domain the better your natural, organic SEO ranking. Number four, add Google+ authorship to your site by adding your domain to your contributors section of your Google+ account.
And number five, another really great thing to do to improve organic SEO is to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools online. Once you sign up you can get the code to add to your site, which can help you identify potential coding problems and offer suggestions on how you can fix them for better SEO. From a non-code content only perspective try to have at least 1000 or more words of text on every page. You also wanna take care to avoid duplicate content, as search engines might ignore or not even index pages that share the same information.
After you've launched your site be sure to submit your domain to Google and Bing so the site can be indexed and visitors can find you. Don't expect immediate or magical results after submitting your domain. In all likelihood, your site may take several days to be indexed. In addition, don't expect your site to be listed on the first page of search engines results listing without spending money on advertising. The only exceptions are when your company has a really unique domain name or has an unusual product or service offering and your competition is slim.
Otherwise, if you don't wanna spend any money on marketing or hiring a good copy editor your site will have to rely on good old organic SEO to naturally improve search engine rankings. Now let's see if you can identify some opportunities to apply organic SEO to a sample HTML file. Pause the video for a few minutes to review the code on this page to see how many of my 16 free organic SEO coding tips you could use to improve the file's SEO. When you're finished come back to review the results.
Welcome back. There's quite a bit that can be done to this sample page to improve the SEO. Most of the issues are in the code. From the Code As You Go section this page needs alt attributes on the image and title and target attributes on the link. The file names and folders should use all lowercase letters, and the page could be converted into RWD. From the Code Tidy Up list this page needs meta tags, a title tag, and internal links. There's also broken links and coding errors that need fixing before validation.
And from the Code Extras list this page would benefit from embedding social media links and social media share links. I hope you enjoyed learning about these 16 free organic SEO coding tips. Think of them as a value added service that you can provide to your customers to keep them happy. The more you use them, the more likely these techniques will become part of your normal web design workflow, making you a better, more conscientious, and valuable designer.
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