Search engine optimization is all about achieving the balance between great website design and SEO best practices. In a Google-free world, you could pretty much design any type of site you want. Since the search engines, however, drive so many purchase decisions, business owners must provide prospective customers what they want to see in order to have a chance to get the sale. At the same time, businesses must also provide the search engines what they need to need to see in order to get organic rankings.
Customers often like to see clean, elegant designs with creative phrasing and content. Websites have a fraction of a second to make an impression and less than three seconds to convince a visitor to read more.
Search engines need to see relevant content, both that is authoritative on a subject, as well as fresh and current. BY nature, SEO-friendly websites will have more text than websites that are driven purely by design.
Thus, SEO web designers are always making tradeoffs between great design and great seo strategy.
Until recently, a highly effective SEO friendly technique was to stack the top of a website with high impact imagery and clear text messages. More of the relevant, search engine friendly text could be stacked at the middle or bottom of the page.
Earlier in 2012, Google modified its algorithm to factor in content that is “above the fold” . The company had heard complaints from users regarding the position of the relevant content on the ranked pages. Many users reported that the content they were looking for was either not cleary visible nor easy to find. Rather that reading the desired content, user typically had to scroll past images or (more often) a page that was top heavy with advertisements. This did not make for a good user experience. As such, Google alerted its algorithm more heavily weigh content that is above the fold.
Our site is meant to showcase some fundamental concepts in search engine friendly web design. While our left home page panel is a little awkward, its right in the “above the fold” bulls-eye. This is a perfect example where business owners must consider layout strategy in order to get as many search engine algorithm points as possible. While our way is not the only way, it clearly illustrates how “above the fold” should be factored into web design strategy.