Clean Web Design

As mentioned earlier, a common pitfall with many designers is the strong focus on looks without clean functional code that search engine spiders can easily read. What would be the point of creating superbly optimized content if it is hidden and broken up with lines on top of lines of coding? Thankfully, there are methods of Web design that don’t include “messy” code for the spiders to read. However two commonly used methods (Flash and javascript), although they contain less lines of code, mean absolutely nothing to a search engine.

Flash is an animation program that has increasingly been utilized in Web design. If done properly, a Flash design can be a visual masterpiece of the Internet. However, when a website is built entirely with Flash the html says absolutely nothing of the site itself. The figure below shows how the code is only written to load in the movie. There is no content or links that spiders would use to index the site. So now the owner has a great looking site and no one to visit.

Fig. 3: Flash HTML Code

Flash Web Design

Another common tool used in Web design is javascript is a special coding language that manipulates the design of a site as well as enhances fonts, images, and other features. As with Flash, javascript code fills up the HTML with commands and coding that are of no use to a search engine. Along with non-optimized Web pages, javascript brings about another annoying occurrence that all Internet browsers… the fatal Script Read Error. How many times have you noticed either of these two alerts while on a site?

Fig. 4

Script Error

Fig. 5

Error on page

These alerts are the results of javascript not functioning the same way in the plethora of Web browsers available for Web users.

A great way to get around the coding down falls of Java and Flash is to build your website with a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). CSS designs are able to create a custom look and feel, as well as manipulate buttons, header tags, fonts, etc. More importantly, CSS accomplishes all of this without putting “junk” code into your Web document. CSS is a separate page containing all of the formatting code that gets referenced to by the content pages. In doing this the page of content that you want indexed into the search engines is crisp, clean, and to the point; everything a spider loves to see. Figure 6 shows a .css page where all of the formatting code is located. Figure 7 shows a page designed in CSS. Notice how little code is present and the majority of the information is only content that can be read by a spider and by visitors to the site. Even though there is so little code on the HTML page, the CSS is able to make a visually appealing site without so much mess (Fig. 8).

Fig. 6

CSS Optimization

Fig. 7

SEO Design


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