I’ve always been a fan of the Google page designs(example) as they mean to me the right blend of usability and technicality. There are a lot of things young bloggers can copy from Google to make their blogs search engine friendly.(You can see my Google inclination in the posts very evidently). Here are a few points I managed to gather for you (These are applicable irrespective of whether you are on wordpress,blogger,typepad or not).
- Simple navigation structure
Google makes it a point to keep their navigational structure simple, text based and always evident. You cannot miss a page that might be relevant to you from the navigation structure. Bloggers should follow this idea – Keep your navigation structure simple, either text based or CSS based and not Ajax or Java or DHTML script based.
Tip – Java/Flash/DHTML site navigation scripts are funky and catchy but that will keep the search engine crawlers from finding what your content is.
- Related posts
Google always have the related posts throwing to you 3-4 topics from their FAQ pages with the title – “You might also be interested in..”
This enhances the user experience by always making sure the information hungry searcher is not deprived of quality content.
Bloggers can make related posts to appear in their posts using the related posts plugin.
- Less images
Google does not use images extensively unless there is a real need to show things as diagrams or photos.
Less images means fast loading pages and less clutter.
Bloggers should use less images, (like for instance button states) instead use quick loading CSS enabled menus and colour effects.
- Highlight content
Google always make it a point that every single time the content should be the hero in their article pages. Never in a Google page can you see an image or any other element stealing the show. It’s always content..content and content.
Bloggers should make sure that the template they use should be one that highlights content more than anything else.
- Keep all the options at your finger tips
In every google page you can see that whatever option you can think of is available with the minimum clicks possible. This could be any related content that is suggested along the right hand panel as you browse along the content rich pages.
Bloggers should make it a point that their best posts and resources should be all delivered in uncluttered boxes/spaces around or near the articles. This helps the user to make good use of their time spent on your webpage, with minimum waste of time.
- Print option on all information pages
Google takes into consideration all sorts of people when writing content. They have a printer button handy in almost all the pages, that can be used by anyone who has trouble staring on to the screen for hours together. Especially when there is lot of content, users have to spent lot of time reading stuff on the screen which can be tedious. Instead printing out the pages that interests them is a good option and enhances the end-user experience.
- Search button on all pages
The idea is to utilize that “unknown entity” from users. It is quite possible that even with all the above options, a user needn’t necessarily find the information he is looking for in your pages. Hence, he can use the search button, which is available on all the pages. He doesn’t have to try too hard to find the search bar, it is more likely to be in the top left /right above the fold.
- Open to feedback
Google is always open to feedback or at least “looks that way”. It has all the feedback (poll) buttons, in all the FAQ pages asking for user’s feedback.
Bloggers can use this on their blogs to get feedback from readers too by using this plugin.
- Two column layout
A two column template with the content on the left hand and elements on the right hand side is the most effective and accepted form of website structure.
Bloggers may have to be unique and select unique templates but it will be great to use a theme that follows this basic principle.
- Use of recognizable common fonts
The font and textual elements used in the Google pages are always simple common ones like Arial. They are cross browser compliant and everyone will find it legible.
Bloggers should make sure that fonts used in your blog are legible to all the readers.
- No funky graphics
The last time I saw a graphic extensive page on Google was it’s April fool prank. Avoid funky graphics as it increases your page load time and kills user experience unless you have a photography or painting based blog. For information and content related ones, it’s a good idea to refrain from using heavy graphics.
- Loads on pages with rich content
Blogs are all about content and that’s what makes them loveable to search engines. So have lots of pages with rich content and when you are tired writing them have a look at the Google pages and you will never quit writing. It’s about feeding food to your crawlers so keep them coming religiously lest the crawler should go unfed.
- Links to other resources
Never keep your pages deprived of quality links to resources like Wikipedia and other authoritative sites. They enrich the end-user experience and credibility to your pages. Google always gives you informative links related to the current topic in their pages. Let the same be with you on your blog articles.
- Use of bullet points
A structured layout for information is not always possible without use of bullet points. And Google does it sweet with capsule bullet points. It is a treat to browse through rich information on bullet points, without which the information had to be all over the place and a waste of time for the user.
- Evident headers
Who is more SEO friendly than Google? None can be (for obvious reasons). Google uses headers that are evident both for search engines(good use of H1 tags) and humans(good use of strong and bold attributes) simultaneously. Bloggers should chose templates that will do the same, by providing the right reading pleasure for humans as well as search engines.