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April 2, 2009

Yahoo!7, Aidan Beanland on Search Engine Friendly Web Design

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Taking the stand as Bruce finishes up, and introduced by our own Jeremy Bolt (BCA Director), Aiden is the regional SEO manager for Yahoo!7. He is speaking on the intriguing topic of Search Engine Friendly Web Design. This will give insight into the type of guidance that web developers need to take into account before designing a new site. Aiden must be highly qualified for this topic; he only has the whole of Yahoo Asia development teams to keep tabs on and chase re: SEO recommendations. He gets straight into it.

Playing the Game

You need to be prepared to fight for resources when a new site is designed or an old site redeveloped. Some elements to take into account when designing a site are:

  • Visual design
  • Technology
  • Accessibility
  • Cost manager

SEO vs. Visual Design (They are not mutually exclusive)

  • Specify SEO requirements before design plans, i.e. unique titles URLs, Hx headings, reasonable amount of copy and spiderable links
  • Treat flash like images or create an HTML version
  • Use image alt attributes and keywords in file paths
  • Apply ‘CSS image replacement’ to replicate text embedded in an image
  • Use CSS layers to position text
  • No cloaking or hidden text using the above points
  • Much SEO relies on link optimisation which doesn’t affect page design

SEO vs. Technology

  • AJAX and client-side processes can affect SEO so you should weigh the cost vs. benefit and use it as an enhancement not for core content and links
    • Use technology to:
    • re-write URLs
    • link to related pages
    • enable progressive enhancement
    • distribute content
  • Let keyword research drive information architecture

SEO vs. Accessibility

  • An accessible site is good for:
    • disabled users
    • low bandwidth users
    • legal compliance
    • mobile browsing
    • older hardware and software
    • search engines

Most of the W3C accessibility tips for allowing disabled users to access sites translate into good SEO practice

SEO vs. Cost

  • SEO is hugely cost effective
  • SEO almost always delivers the highest ROI of any online marketing channel
  • First 80% of SEO benefits come from 20% benefit
  • Medium upfront investment, low ongoing cost
  • Do SEO right the first time to reduce cost
  • Consider the cost of:
    • Not optimising (handing users to competitors)
    • Equivalent PPC traffic
    • Optimising your site after it’s launched
    • Offline advertising
  • Become a web analytics expert to prove your value

Final advice

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.

[Aiden I am sure meant to say beer, the secret to success is making friends with devs. The secret to THAT is beer - Kate]

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No responses to “Yahoo!7, Aidan Beanland on Search Engine Friendly Web Design”

  1. Marc Elison writes:

    Hey,
    Thanks for the great comment, we do have and XML feed and it’s located at http://www.bruceclay.com.au/blog/atom.xml
    Enjoy the rest of the blog posts
    Marc



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