Web design and development is an art and a science. The art comes into play of course on the areas of the site that you can see and that are part of the overall look and feel of the site.
While search engine algorithms have changed dramatically over the years and can see and interpret a great deal, they are still limited in the way in which they crawl over the site and the data that it contains.
Your website doesn’t look the same to the search engine as it does to you. While the mantra lately is that it must be a good experience for the user and that the only thing that counts is the user experience, believe us when we tell you that isn’t the case at all. Web design and development requires a level of skill in algorithms and in proper coding methodology in order to ensure that the search engines can see what they need to see to allow your site to be crawled by search engines fully.
One perfect example in point is this– a website that was one of the top wiki websites online was having a lot of trouble ranking in Google. A well rounded site designer, who also did SEO, reviewed the site and used a spider simulator on it. He and found that the code was incorrectly executed and that the search engines could not read the header information on any of the pages, although they displayed correctly to the user. In this case the user experience was a good one, but the website could not get their pages well crawled or showing in search because of a code error.
The website design that you use must be well structured and reasonably well coded without errors. It’s an invisible portion of the site that has to be right in order to ensure that what the human visitor sees is pleasing to the eye and directs them to the places that are important. That same website design however, must also send the search engines to the right areas. The code, the alt tags, the descriptions must all be in order so that the search engines can see what is most important about the site. Both elements are a necessity for the site to be crawled and ranked for the website owner.
Another unseen element of website design are the alt tags. Using images without alt text can be a problem for the search engines too, in that they cannot read what the picture is. This means that the great photo or diagram that you have on your page is invisible in search.
Many websites have real problems with being seen. The content isn’t really indexed and the writing isn’t really designed for the search engines to peruse. A good example is a whole front page done in flash. It looks lovely in many cases, but it’s not readable or usable by the search engines. This means that your lovely site and all of your beautiful sales content isn’t going to be visible to the search engines or able to rank well.
A great coding job, careful attention to details, the right alt text and the right image labeling can make your site far more visible in search, yet it is not part of the visible content of the site. When it comes to website design and development, what you don’t see is often far more important than that which you do see.