SEO and Bad Web Design
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When Google came out with its ingenious PageRank system some years ago, the art of web design was changed forever. Web design became more complex as webmasters sought ways to take advantage of (or manipulate) Google's page-ranking algorithm. This customization of web sites for top page ranking is called search engine optimization or SEO. A web site optimized for Google and other search engines employs SEO web design.
Unfortunately, the SEO techniques used by web developers hungry for high page-ranking have resulted in some very bad web design for end-users. Let's look at some of the worst examples of bad SEO web design.
WHAT'S UGLY ABOUT SEO WEB DESIGN?
1. Links, links, links! This is an extremely common fault of SEO web design. You see this often in high-ranking pages in Google. It is when the mass of links far outweigh the amount of text in the page. The page may have a three-column layout, with a navigation bar on one side, the main article in the middle, and a Google AdSense skyscraper or another navigation bar on the other side. (Yes, Google AdSense adds to the clutter and may be peppered everywhere in the page like grenade shrapnel.) The links, of course, are full of choice SEO keywords.
What does this over-abundance of links tell the viewer? First, it betrays desperate SEO web design?the owner will do anything to get to Google's first page. Second, it's telling the viewer to LEAVE the current page and go elsewhere. And often this is what happens. We've seen people get distracted by all these links that they spend more time clicking after links than actually finding the information they need and reading about it.
2. Contrived keyword phrasing. This is the legacy of the keyword-density factor: plain bad writing. Of course, it is possible to write well and still adhere to the rules of SEO content writing. But no good writer can fail to notice the "dumbing down" effect that it has on his literary habits. Writers are forced by SEO web design to use, not their own choice words, but the common words of the masses.
SOME SEO WEB DESIGN TIPS
Does SEO web design have to be so annoying?
Admittedly, not much can be done about some aspects of SEO web design, especially keyword writing; at least, not until Google changes its page-ranking system so as to make this SEO technique irrelevant. But we do have a few suggestions for less distressing SEO web design:
1. Don't put so much clutter in your pages. It's shocking how web designers just don't care about average users who can easily get lost in a maze of jumbled text and links. Put your links in ONE place, say a table below the main text, NEATLY organized with hierarchy. Use choice keywords for the links so your SEO web design doesn't suffer.
2. Don't go overboard with Google AdSense. Place your ads in strategic positions, but NOT everywhere on the page. And do NOT attempt to trick the viewer into clicking them.
3. Don't let your articles get drowned in a sea of links. Keep the viewer's attention on your article, and give the information up-front. Be straight to the point. Post only those links that are closely related to the article's topic.
As webmasters strive for the top spot, their SEO web design can get really ugly sometimes. This may be necessary in a ruthlessly competitive field. But hopefully search engines will get their heads together one day we won't wake up to a keyword-crazy world anymore!
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