Web site design and search engine optimization

Its helpfull to think of any website as having 2 levels of content, the first level or foundation is made up of the layout, navigation and content that is hard coded into the web page, if you want to court the search engines to appear high up in the search results these first level elements are very important as this is all the search engines will normally see.

The second level sits on top and will contain things like 'flash format' animations or movies and visual effects generated by 'javascripts', this second level may look good but it won't be seen by the search engines and so will not help you in the rankings.

It is possible and quite common for some web designers to build your site only with second level elements, it looks good but is virtually invisible to the search engines, if your going to be found online its because the search engines can read and rate your first level content, thats all they can see.

Obviously there is a 'middle way' you make a good first level for your content that the search engines can see and is supported on as many devices as possible, then the second level is built to be lightweight while adding visual impact to enhance your branding etc,

Unlike some designers We dont rely on this second level to present your content, all your content, layout, navigation and styling is hand coded into the first level, it requires a deeper understanding of the web page language and structure and is slower to produce but is by far the better way.

Caution

Some elements of this second level are not supported as standard in a web browser while others can be turned off, for example 'Flash format' movies used by so many websites cannot be seen unless the person accessing the website (your potential customer) has installed the 'Flash format' player.
The recent rise of the 'ipad' and iphone' which does not and will not be supporting 'flash format' means at best should your website be found any 'flash' elements in your site wont be visible on these devices, at worst if your whole site is built around 'flash' you will not be visible at all.

So if you want to use second level elements to 'Jazz up' your site its better to use them sparingly and not to rely on them for your main content, layout or navigation.

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