Should web designers factor keywords into their design?

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Web design has changed a lot since the early days of the Internet where we used to stuff keywords into our copy with little regard for the overall authenticity of the design. These days, it’s normal to see sites with images only ranking very well, due to the fact Google now takes a much broader look at the sites authority, relevance and credibility.

That aside, there’s no doubt that the Google algorithm does contain an extremely complex latent semantic indexing capacity. In layman’s terms, this means that Google’s mapping the relationship of certain words to each other, which would make sense if you consider the monumental task of ranking websites based upon language-based queries, and generally doing a pretty good job of it.

Our process for incorporating keywords

Our designs are always visually motivated. If someone wants a purely image-based website were not going to try to persuade them otherwise based on some old-fashioned content of such engine optimisation. That said, in most cases client preferences to allow for a paragraph of text and, in those instances, it simply makes sense to play to the algorithm a little bit. Look at the home page of our site as an example. The few lines of text that we do include makes good reference to what we do, and where we do it. We feel this is useful for both normal browsers and those mysterious robots which crawl the website to establish relevance.

How would I find a good list of keywords incorporate into my design?

There are many great tools out there and, at some point, we may consider a whole article in reviewing those. The quick and dirty answer, however, is that the Google AdWords keyword planner is a good place to start, although there are definitely words left out of there. The other awesome tool that is a near-daily visit from the barefoot web design studios is known as keyword, which is a genius bit of kit that actually scans Google for all the A-Z words added as a suffix to a basic keyword. For example: web design articles, web design books, web design CMS, and so forth. There’s both a free and a premium version of keyword tool.IO, and when you remove the geo-specific phrases from this list is usually as good place as any to start your research.

The other obvious place is simply your own noggin. We recommend starting with a piece of good old A4 for jotting down all the words which spring to mind as being core to your business process. From there you might move to Wikipedia, and other ranking websites. We’re also big fans of on which does a phenomenal job of assessing keyword density and comparing it to your competitors. This functionality is even available for free assuming you only do a few analyses per month. To this is a good place to start, as you draw together your keyword lists and consider the right balance between design, SEO, and user experience.


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