SEO – Design Your Site to Benefit Your Search Results and Rankings

There are many factors that go into creating and optimizing your site for success with search engines. This article will briefly overview some of the major flaws that you want to avoid when designing a site. When designing a new site, keep in mind that some of the most artistically creative, and some of the best looking websites are terrible when it comes to search engines and page rank. Why is that? Primarily because they use any and/or all of the elements below – sometimes exessively.

The following is a list of common mistakes and items that you should avoid when creating a new site along with a brief description of the problems that come with.

Flash-based Sites

The problem with flash-based sites is never the design (most flash sites have a great design and user interface). The problem with flash sites is the flash sites are compiled, so no content is ever actually loaded onto the page – the browser just loads a plugin that enables it to display a flash movie file, so search engines can never really crawl, access and archive the content of a flash file – whether it is full of images or full of text, flash files are largely inaccessible to search engines and indexing. This is not to say that your site will not get indexed if it is a flash-based site, it will however (in most cases) just be a single page that gets indexed.

This is because flash only needs a single HTML file to be loaded, once that file is loaded, the HTML page never needs to change; all of the navigation is done within the flash file. If you insist on having a flash website, my best recommendation to you is to also created a clone HTML site, that way when a search engine visits your site, it will find some content to crawl and index rather than a single page of with just a title and flash movie.

Can websites use flash and still be successfully crawled and indexed? Sure they can, I’ve developed many sites that use a balance of traditional HTML and flash elements. I don’t know if there is a specific name for them, but I typically call them “hybrid sites”. I use HTML for all images, text content and navigation, and try to limit flash to minimal usage in animations, backgrounds and occasionally in secondary navigation areas.

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