8 Web Design Elements that Can Hurt Your SEO

When designing your website, you want a web design that is attractive, functional and appropriate for your organization. It is also important to consider how well your web design lends itself to SEO. Certain design elements can negatively impact the SEO of your website, limiting the amount of exposure you can get on the web. Here are a few examples of SEO-unfriendly features and your alternatives.

Dynamic Websites

With dynamic websites, the web content being viewed depends on the user, as opposed to static websites, which display the same content to all users. Although great if you want an interactive interface, SEO for dynamic websites can be challenging. For starters, dynamic web pages tend to have long, non-keyword-rich and ever-changing URLs, which can make crawling and indexing problematic. Plus, many dynamic websites employ the same title and meta tags for every web page in the site, an SEO no-no.

For best results: Avoid tricky dynamic website URLs by configuring a Mod Rewrite (or Windows IIS alternative, ISAPI), which generates SEO-friendly URLs. Also, give each web page unique title and meta tags.

Flash Elements

Using Flash, designers can create eye-catching and engaging applications, including video and animation. While certain search engines can crawl and index Flash files, the technology for searching Flash files that the search engine’s are using is fairly new. And generally Flash files do not rank well, if at all.

For Best Results: Use Flash elements sparingly in your design and never as an essential part of your site’s navigation (i.e. opt for Flash video and not a Flash menu). Also, search-optimize each Flash element with text to bolster chances of indexation.

HTML Frames

In designing HTML sites, frames are often used to divide different kinds of content on a page. Placing content within HTML frames can block it from being crawled and indexed.

For Best Results: Don’t use HTML frames for your website’s layout. You can get the same effect with SEO-friendly alternatives, like PHP or CSS.

Websites with Little to No Content


Sometimes, less isn’t more. Search engines tend to favor websites that offer up plenty of content to crawl and index. If your site simply consists of a home page, chances are that the search engines won’t find your site valuable.

For Best Results: Add themed inside pages to give search engine bots more content to crawl and index.

Large Files that Lengthen Download Time

Recently, Google announced that a website’s speed will play a role their ranking algorithm. If your website is slow loading for any reason, you could be sacrificing rankings and, ultimately, traffic. Also, longer load times can turn off potential customers, hurting conversions.

For Best Results: Keep file sizes as small as possible to keep load times down so search engine bots will crawl and index your content and customers won’t get frustrated.

Content Management Systems

Although helpful tools for managing site content, some content management systems are not equipped with the necessarily tools for SEO mark-up.

For Best Results: Select an SEO-friendly CMS that allows for easy content categorization, pagination controls and keyword-rich URLs. Ask us about our SEO-friendly CMS option.


Site redirects can help you retain extra traffic, whether you’re directing traffic away from an old website or a slightly-off domain name (i.e. yourwebsitename.com to yourwebsitename.org). However, if not set up correctly, the site to which you’re pointing can miss out on indexing or link love, which can negatively affect page rank.

For Best Results: Use a 301 redirect, which will help your new website get deserving attention from search engines.

Excessive Inline JavaScript and CSS

Although scripts add functions such as image rollover effects and form input validation to your website, scripts can add significant amounts of time to loading because of the additional time it takes for search engine spiders to read lengthy script code.

For Best Results: Check that all website scripts on your website are essential and contain as simple and clean of code as possible to keep load times to a minimum.

CyberMark can develop SEO-friendly web designs that will ensure maximum visibility. Contact us for a free web design consultation and quote.

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