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Defining “Search Engine Friendly”

Creating a good user experience is a graphic designer’s top concern when developing a web site. Communicating the client’s message and exetending their brand is also a big task. But as the old saying goes about “a tree falling in the woods,” what if you built a great web site and nobody came?

Creating a balance between graphics, technology, as well as creating a site that is search engine friendly can be daunting. In this article and over the next few months we will explore the different aspects of designing a web site that is well designed not only for humans but for search engines, too.

First lets start with a definition provided by Optymise:

Search Engine Friendly- A web page that conforms to most guidelines laid down by the Search Engines for web page creation and which does not breach any Terms of Inclusion in a Search Engine. A page that is not dynamic, simple in layout and easy in navigation is usually one that is likely to perform better in a search Engine, as it is friendly for a search engine to read.

OK, any time a graphic designer reads the word “conform” or “does not breach” we all should shudder. Additionally the definition above could be simpler, after all we are only making a web site that is “friendly.” Lets redefine the definition in a more comforting way. So, here is the new designer friendly definition:

Search Engine Friendly- A web page that stays within the guidelines as defined by the major search engines.

Isn’t that better? Now all we have to do is worry about what the guidelines are. This is simple except that they change frequently, but there are some fundamental guidelines that will not change. First off, you should be designing the site for your users, keeping this in mind (like you do on all your projects) is the first step.

Be sure to come back next week for more SEF guidelines.