Recently, I sat down with a potential client that is considering redesigning and recreating his website. Together, we wanted to see what other Landscape Designers are doing with their sites so that we could make a list of specific likes and dislikes in order to begin planning his website. This was quite the eye-opening experience for me because I was looking at the sites from a Search Engine Optimization point of view as well as looking at the user experience.
We looked at about 10 different websites that were returned for our search term. While Kip was busy looking at placement for navigation, background image ideas and colors and the many different ways that a project portfolio can be presented, I was busy looking at some of the incorrect SEO elements and “breaking of the rules” on these sites that are actually hurting their marketing efforts including:
- Duplicate image galleries on different pages of the same website.
- Paying Google for advertising their website, (PPC campaigns), but not having any tracking software installed such as Google Analytics.
- Not having a proper html structure to the website and using the H1 and H2 tags solely for formating purposes.
- No alt tags on any images. Let’s face it – a picture is worth a thousand words in a landscape designers business – why not use the pictures to their fullest value?
- Music that autoplays as soon as you land on the website. UGH!
- Home pages that use strictly Flash. (Don’t expect anyone but those who type in your url to visit your site).
Not one of the 10 websites that we looked at had the necessary elements in place in order to be presented as an option by a search engine when the correct keyword phrase was searched!! Isn’t that amazing?? I’m thinking that people just don’t know what is involved in creating a successful website. Which leads me to believe they think their website is the Field of Dreams – you know, Build It And They Will Come. (Loved that Kevin Costner flick!)
While my research is good news for Kip and his future new website, it also encourages me to continue my quest to educate regarding the importance of proper design, coding and on-page SEO elements necessary in order to rank for specific keyword search phrases.
Do-it-yourself kind of business owners can refer to these past blog posts for more information about SEO elements to include in your website:
- Website Design Impacts On Internet Visibility
- Best SEO Techniques For Your Website
- Design Websites To Make Both Google And Visitors Happy
And, if you are thinking about in hiring an SEO firm, be sure to read: