As a web designer you should be concern with SEO because it is one of the most important aspect of your job as a web designer and developer. Here are eleven easy rules that will immediately improve the SEO of your site.
Rule One : No cheating, Do you really think you could cheat google
Do you really think you can outsmart the engineers at google or bing for that matter. Think again. If you would walk into a room full of genius engineers do you think you could outsmart them. I don't. Well google and bing have hired hundreds of phds and genius engineers to work for their search engine and make sure no one cheats the search results. Dont Cheat. It will only bring you trouble.
Rule two : Keep your keywords
Pick your keywords and use them naturally in your text, it is as simple as that. No keyword stuffing in your page it does not work, use your keywords naturally in your text. Use the sentences , headlines and links.
Rule three : Content is King
Content is king period, you want to be found, user don't search for design they search for content, a site with great content will always win over site with poor content or no content at all. It is as simple as that. Every page on your site should follow the inverted pyramid. Each page should start with an H1 with titles and your keywords. The first paragraph should be the resume of the entire page.
Rule Four : Keep it clean, clean code is easier to search
The HTML of your site should be well structured and follow code conventions. Your code should follow these guidelines, Navigation first then H1 Tag and then follow with the first paragraph etc. Try to use descriptive tags when useful. Your site could still be unique and cool that what CSS is there for.
Rule Five : The home page is the most important page
Your homepage is the key to your site and content being found. Your home page should be the link between the world of search engines and your content. Your homepage should summarize the rest of your site. simple.
Rule Six : Make your links meaningful
Search engines put a lot of attention on the links of your site and the words used in those links. Never use “click here” or “see more” for a link. The link text should describe where the link will take the user. Links such as “Get a FREE quote”.
The more relevant links on a page are the easier it will be to find the page. Again do not over do it, don't go overboard and link to everything and everywhere on your site. Again the links should have meaning for your audience. Always make your site thinking of the end user in mind. And you will be fine.
Rule Seven : Title tag to win it
Every page in your site should have a title and a short description of the page. Title tags should contain your keywords. Always remember that the title tag is what the end user will see in the search results. Your title tags should invite users to click on the link.
Your navigation links should have title attributes that match the titles of your pages. This looks like <a title=”name of page” href=”link”>. It’s a small thing, but it will give you a significant SEO improvement.
Rule Eight : Alt tags do matter
Every image on your site should have an Alt tag. Especially image that are relevant to the page. Your Alt tag should be focused around the subject and keywords of the page, For example if your page is focused on CSS tricks labelling a screenshot “example of CSS gradient” will improve your page ease of being found.
Rule Nine : Do Not ignore meta tags
Meta tags are not what they used to be, SEO was, back in the days, the way to SEO success, not anymore. You should always consider the description meta tag. This meta tag is the text that will show up in the search results as the description of your link. Very important tag.
Rule Ten : Have a site map
Make sure you have a sitemap. This is an XML file that includes your sites structure, you should always have one and you should give it to google or bing.
Rule Eleven : Design for Humans
Search engines are designed to find content for humans, so design your sites content for humans that’s it. Your job as a designer and developer is to make your content appealing to humans and let the Bots do their job to find your content. Human Content is King.
For further readings I recommend this SEO guide for designers