How Your Layout Affects Your SEO

by Gary on March 4, 2008 · 5 comments

in SEO,SEO Tips,Website Design

William Slawski wrote a very good entry on the importance of page layout in SEO. To emphasise his point he pointed out to the patent application filed by Kesari and Anandsudhakar in August of 2006 and that was recently published last month. The patent application entitled “Techniques for approximating the visual layout of a web page and determining the portion of the page containing the significant content” is obviously used to help Yahoo! find the parts of a web page that contains the more important content. It seems that at least Yahoo! does determine the importance of the contents of the page based on the page layout, and if Yahoo! does this I guess it is safe to conclude that Google and the other search engines have their own if not similar method of determining the importance of the content based on page layout.

What this means for SEOs is simply that we should emphasise to clients the importance of placing keywords and phrases in the main part of the site. It is also more important to try to get linked to by other sites not just on the sidebar but the actual main section of the site. In short, it is better to be mentioned in a blog post than to be included in a blogroll and most definitely over being placed on the footer. As the abstract of the patent says

“The element that contains the most meaningful content is determined based on the amount of weighted content of elements and their position within the page.”

So remember it is not only the position but also the amount of content in that certain position that affects how search engines interpret the importance of that section of the page.

Furthermore, though most of us do this already, always remember that it is good practice to emphasise keywords by using a larger font size, putting it in boldface, or changing its color.

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  • sathi

    HI Thank you Hannah. Really layout affects our SEO ranking.

  • Dave C

    I have a page 1 ranked site on Google & I am looking at a total re-design & update. I really appreciate your information and will take this into consideration before making changes that might affect the ranking. Out of interest though, how important is the layout compared to the content, keywords & of course links?

  • Andre Colt

    @Dave C
    If you change your design and update your site by replacing your keywords I think it may affect your page rank.I believe layout considered also an off page optimization because what I’ve experience static pages have an edge on the dynamic site

  • Entrepreneur Solo

    I hope this will not affect my PR eventually because I like changing the look of a website every now and again just to freshen things up

  • Spunky Jones SEO

    I haven’t really considered changing the color for keywords. I have always made them bold.

    I will have to try this out in a couple of new posts and see what happens. It will be interesting.

    Page layout should be one of the 1st things taken into consideration when the site is being designed. Too many designers, never think about SEO. There are certain page elements that need to be placed in positions that are best for SEO.

    I do know that a nice layout will help to lower your bounce rate and keep people on your site much longer.

    I believe that the days of footer links are fading fast. At least sitewide footer links. From what I see, they aren’t nearly as effective as the use to be.

    I haven’t used much as far as blog roll links. So, I can’t really comment on that one. However, I have been thinking of doing a link partner page for some time now. My thoughts are to write a little something about each link partner and include a link. I was thinking that this would replace the blogroll in the future.