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Tips for SEO, Web Usability and Site Design

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Starting a site design or re-design project for your company's website can be overwhelming with all the details you must decide on and consider. In doing so, the issue of SEO and web usability is quickly forgotten or placed low on the priority list.

Whether an e-commerce or business-to-business lead generating site, it is critical to the long-term performance of the site to implement not only the SEO factors in a site design, but to consider all elements of website usability in the equation.

Following are some helpful tips for SEO, web usability and higher web site conversion on a new site design or re-design project:

* Site design: EASY always wins-out over good, smart or even better. If the site is EASY to get around, visitors will stay longer.

* Visitors like small packages of info.

* Visitors like structure.

* Better design means Less Eye-Movement. Less eye-movement leads to higher conversion.

Design Site Pages W/Visual "Roadmaps":

a. Have points of high contrast to attract the eye. b. Utilize different font sizes (i.e. larger fonts for headings) c. Use faces - faces are visual anchors for users. They are comforting. d. Blue underlined links. e. White space - surround text, images and clickable links w/white space. f. Utilize pictures for color contrast. g. Use captions on pictures. h. Use motion (flash or video).

Be Consistent:

a. Alignment - use alignment to separate different information from different sources i.e. Headers separated w/larger font and white space.
b. Navigation - i.e. same nav on each page.
c. Same visual anchors on each page.
d. Same use of white space on each page.
e. Same use of headers and small text "chunks" - easy for visitors to spot and read.
f. DON'T mix with too many font styles.


1. If you have long left navigation or menu bars, use Headers/Headings for visual "anchor points" - improves "find-ability".

a. Use no more than 7 items under each heading.

b. Users will use and remain on navigation longer if you group navigation w/Headings.

c. Organized Navigation Will Enable Find-Ability.

2. Avoid top navigation that has mouse-over drop downs. Not SE friendly, users do not prefer them because the drop downs often obstruct page content.

3. Users still prefer left navigation on larger sites.

4. If using graphic navigation, code embed alts and titles for Search Engines.

Product Pages:

1. Don't forget to use SEO best practice on-page optimization on all product pages (page specific meta data, H1's, unique content).

2. Position Add to Cart button in close proximity to product price - either directly under or next to.

3. Add to Cart button should stand out in color and appearance (i.e. 3D).

Checkout Pages:

1. Utilize "button gravity" - users will always be drawn to the last button on the page

a. Position Checkout button LAST - easy to find.
b. Position Continue Shopping button next to Checkout button.

2. Offer multiple ways of payment - with specific selection function, i.e. pay by phone - have phone number listed, credit card, PayPal, etc.

3. Allow "Guest" checkout (no registration required to checkout).

4. Avoid requiring registration before checkout.

Lead Generation Forms:

1. Provide free informative white papers in exchange for contact info/filling out form .

2. Keep online forms targeted and as short as possible.

3. Include a privacy policy link / secure email link near "submit" button.

Other SEO Site Design Tips:

1. When using flash, position and limit flash to specific, strategic areas for color and contrast. Avoid all flash site pages and avoid embedding relevant, keyword rich content in flash.

2. Whenever possible, position main keyword rich content w/H1's within prime site real estate (top, left).

3. Users still rely on logo to be positioned top left - and as a link to Home page. An SEO best practice hint: use your page.

In addition, while implementing SEO and web usability to your site design - redesign, test, test, test. Hire a usability testing company or do A/B testing in house to obtain proven statistical results. Ongoing testing even after the site design project is also recommended!

In conclusion, implementing SEO and web usability in a site design produces tangible business results in the big picture. Keeping the big picture in mind during the site design - re-design process is essential.


SEO and web usability ( expert Valerie DiCarlo helps companies large and small - worldwide - enjoy a long term improvement in website visibility, increased brand awareness, a continuous flow of new sales leads and higher revenues. To discover how you can improve web presence, visibility and conversion with improved web usability for your website, go to:

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