Designing your website to improve your rankings is all about finding a balance between creating an attractive design and employing search engine optimisation techniques. In other words, it's about designing a website to appeal to search engines without compromising its appearance.

In this article we'll explore some of the key ways to achieve this important combination.

Navigation Menus

Website navigation using JavaScript drop-down menus can help to create an attractive website design. Unfortunately, they also make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for search engines to crawl the website properly. A solution to this problem is to use standard rollovers, which search engines are able to crawl easily, to create a visually pleasing navigation menu.

Alternatively, if you really want to use JavaScript drop-down menus, you could also add text-based links to the bottom of your web pages to offer search engines another way to move around your site.

Images

Search engines read text not images. This means that if your website has little text and a lot of graphics, you won't be giving the engines a clear idea of what your site is about, which could affect your rankings. A way around this is to use ALT tags for each of the images on your web pages. ALT tags are essentially labels that appear when users hover their cursor over images, and they provide you with a way of explaining to the search engines what they represent.

Spiderable text

Search engines love content and the more text you have on your page they more easily they can categorise it. From a design point of view however, too much text can seem off putting and can make the page look cluttered. One way to find a balance between these two competing issues is to write copy broken up by bullet points and paragraphs.

Frames

Frames are not search engine friendly because search engines cannot read frame coding. You should try and stay away from using framed pages if you want to achieve a high search engine ranking.

Designing your website to improve your rankings is not just limited to the areas discussed in this article. However, if you apply these strategies to your web site, you should find that your site rankings improve.