Construct Your Site with SEO in Mind

Construction web

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, all website themes aren’t created equal. There are several criteria to consider when selecting a theme to display your blog, the main thing being, if spiders can’t crawl through your site, they can’t index it. A site with a large percentage of non-indexed pages, also called orphans or stragglers, can suffer in the search engine rankings.

What type of designs do spiders like?

Sites rich in relevant text do well with search engines. Search bots can’t “see” flash, scripts, or images, so if you must include those, first of all, do it sparingly because the higher the code to content ration, the more diluted the site’s text becomes. And if you use a javascript navigation system, include text nav links elsewhere on your page, such as at the bottom. For images, using keyword-rich “alt” text and captions will help. Flash is cool, but consider the purpose of your site — is coolness a fair trade-off for better optimization? (Flash also increases page loading times, but that’s another topic.)

What else should I consider when designing my blog?

Avoid frames. Also, look for a blogging platform that supports 301 redirects and doesn’t disallow crawling through tag pages. This is a big reason for choosing WordPress over Blogger. Tags work to establish the contextual relevance of posts and especially contributes to the effectiveness of long tail searches. Unfortunately, Blogger, which calls tags “labels,” blocks bots from crawling tag conjunction pages. (For more about the effective use of tagging for usability and SEO, read this post by Stephen Spencer.)

Be orderly with your categories — one per post. And add a Google Sitemap to your blog. Use a platform that allows you to create a unique H1 tag for each page’s description.  Chris Pearson, who designed the theme I use on this blog, gives a great, albeit technical, tutorial on how to “markup” your post titles and page headings.

Where can I find SEO-friendly themes?

WordPress theme review ranks themes for their search engine optimization and has a special category for the very best SEO themes. In case you’re curious, this theme, Copyblogger, received an 83/100 SEO rating.

I hope this article helps you in your search for a great theme for your blog.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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