5 Most Common SEO Mistakes Web Designers Make

by macmodi · 28 comments

This is a guest post by Modi who is an SEO and web design expert who works for a London based health spa and telling us today the 5 common seo mistakes that most of the web designers make while designing websites for their client and why you should know them being a client to avoid loss of search engine traffic.

Are you or your web designer just focused on the designing part of the website? Making a site looking pretty is great but design shouldn’t jeopardize other important factors such as:

  • Content
  • Crawling
  • Visibility
  • Rankings
  • Traffic

A very common situation many web designers come across is that they design a great website that aesthetically is very appealing, has great photos, banners, fonts etc but after a few months the phone starts ringing with the client complaining about lack of visitors and traffic.

Great design is not going to increase traffic, although it may have a positive impact in conversion. The most important thing is visibility in the search engine results. A great site that doesn’t rank on search engine is similar to a site that doesn’t exist, unless it has a very strong brand name so people will specifically look for that.

Here are 5 major seo mistakes that a web designer may commit while designing your website and why you should be very careful with it…

1. Everything On Flash

As all SEOs know but many designers don’t, any Flash web-site is no threat to its competitors as it will be seen by Google as a ”black box” without any content. Flash is great for animation, games, illustrations, slideshows and pictures but why would you like to make the whole website using Flash? Just use it reasonably just where you need it and not everywhere!

There are some ways to make Flash SEO friendly but is there one person who believes that a rich-content HTML site can be overtaken by a Flash-driven site? It is very unlikely.

With CSS3, HTML5, and advanced JavaScript (e.g JQuery library) almost anything could be done through programming. Don’t let web designers mislead you just because they know Flash and they can’t provide an SEO-friendly site using HTML and CSS.

What is easy for a designer to make, and cheap for you to buy may be the cause why your site will never meet your expectations. And everyone know how expensive re-designs are, especially if everything has to be changed!

2. Poor URLs

This is very common seo mistake as web designers do not seem to grasp that keywords in the URL are gold!

Matt Cuts from Google has made it clear that Google imitates humans, so if something appeals to a human should appeal to Google too and vice versa.

  • Very long URLs with various parameter/value pairs are definitely to be avoided.
  • Displaying the whole site hierarchy in a URL is also to be avoided as the closer the key-phrase to the domain name, the more power it will gain!

3. Poor Page Titles

Keywords in the title of a HTML document are very powerful and have to be generated considerably. However, poor page titles is a very common seo mistake web designers make and it appears in many different forms such as:

Missing Titles – Those are pages without any page title so will be displayed in the SERPs as ‘Untitled Page’.  Even though it sounds unlikely to happen, a search for “Untitled Document” in Google returns some 18 million pages!

Duplicate Titles – This is when two or more pages have identical titles. This usually happens because web designers have overlooked the page titles so they all end up being titles in the same way, depending on what title the template originally had.

Short Titles – This is a seo mistake in a sense that a short title won’t maximise the possibility to target a few keywords in the page title.

Long Titles – This is also called cannibalization and refers to the situation when too many similar keywords appear in the page titles different pages and search engines get confused as to which page to rank. The title should always reflect the unique content the page and nothing more than that.

Poor Keyword titles – This is another classic problem which occurs when designers include titles in natural language as if they are talking to someone. Stop words such ‘as a, and, or etc’ are always being ignored by search engines. Mixing keywords with other irrelevant words is also a bad practice as this way the weight of the targeted keywords will be devalued.

Brand Name in Titles – There is a tendency to include the brand name in the title of every single page. This is completely unnecessary and if you do it you will be sacrificing important keywords for something that:

  • Appears in the URL
  • Appears in the Logo
  • People may already be aware
  • People may not be interested in

Google can display a maximum of 70 of the characters that appear in the title so think carefully before you decide to waste some of those for something that is not so important.

4. Text In Images

Graphic designers love adding text in images, photos and banners because:

  1. They can create custom fonts that look unique and nice
  2. They can do them quickly
  3. They don’t know any other way to do it
  4. They don’t know how bad it is for SEO

Again, there are many ways to add text in an image so it will be crawled by search engines and add extra value to the keywords of the page. With CSS and JavaScript the same effects can be reproduced. All you need is just a skill-full developer with a creative mind.

5. 302 Redirects

Not all redirects are the same and many people seem to ignore that. There is a fundamental difference between permanent (301) redirects and temporary (302) ones. 302s are not recommended unless you really want to temporarily redirect a page to another one. 302 redirects, especially across different domains can create serious issues and should be avoided. With 301 permanent redirects you would play safe.


So that were the 5 most common seo mistakes web designers make. In case you are a web designer, make sure you make your client’s business search engine optimized, by not committing above seo mistakes.

Or if you are soon going to have a web design work for your website, then make sure you clear all these things with your web designer as a client and make your website design seo optimized.

Do let us know your thoughts about this article. If you know some more common seo mistakes that you have seen on websites that look more focused toward web design then do let us know that.

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About macmodi

Modi is an SEO and web design consultant promoting a London based health spa.

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Zemanta October 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm

The power of the page title is immense, just altering slightly it can make huge movements, and if negative you can alter it back and you will veruy quickly go back to where you were, very powerful indeed. I also think that having related H1,H2,H3 tags helps greatly.

Raj October 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Font also play vital role in indexing of web site. Do not use font that is mostly used. Always use unique font in Titles and in Sub Titles

jhon October 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

It is usually observed that web developer do not care about the title length and as number of character exceeds 70, search engine annoyed at this action and site faces problem in case of optimization.

sam February 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Some wonderful points given here regarding on page seo, here one more points I wanna add about content ,you should have a keyword rich content and You should use heading tags.

Allen June 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Poor URLs and Poor titles are really a big mistake, which web designers makes usually.

Duplication of the titles make website out of track and make more difficult to optimize.

George July 6, 2011 at 12:58 am

The mistakes web designers commit can turn things into a costly affair. I’m not a web designer but works with one and I’ll definitely keep in mind the points that you’ve mentioned in this post Modi. Thanks for sharing, I’ll look forward to read more of your interesting articles.

Akash Kumar October 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Most of the designers like adding flash, images and all kinds of eye catchy stuff that also increases the page loading time. Its better to keep the page size as small as possible and the loading time the minimum.

Tim November 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

User friendly websites are key to success. Internal links using keywords will help create authority with search engines and thus helping boost your page ranking. All the points above are a great start and key to get your smart new website listed by the search engines.

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