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In today’s day and age simply having a website and being online, is only one part of the equation. More and more businesses are beginning to realize the importance of professional SEO website design.
So what exactly is SEO web design?
SEO web design is web design and development with the future visibility and goals of the site at the forefront of all design decisions.
Without SEO being a factor in web design, like is the case with so many “cheap websites” the result is often a website with limited flexibility, poor functionality and essentially needing re-built from the ground up or at the very least huge amounts of time spent preparing and replacing the majority of the site for search engine compliance.
SEO and website design are indeed two very different industries, however that being said they are very much parallels that should and can work in harmony with each other. Without an SEO complaint website, off-page SEO and digital marketing efforts are almost near impossible!
Without off-page SEO and digital marketing the chances of a website climbing up the search results and attracting traffic that converts into customers are slim to say the least!
Simply having a website that looks good in the eyes of the owner, is a small drop in the ocean.
A website needs to not only look good, but also function well, be easy to navigate and be friendly in the eyes of the search engines!
So now we’ve covered what SEO website design is, here’s 6 top tips to make sure your website is not only seen well in the eyes of your intended audience but also the search engines!
The design of a site is not only an essential aesthetical requirement, the design of a website runs far deeper than just design. Design not only supports and compliments user experience, design is also the backbone to a websites function.
You may be thinking that’s complete rubbish, how can design be function?
Well, when you take a look at the mobile market and how mobile users have skyrocketed over the past 24months exponentially. If a website is not designed with mobile users in mind, the website may well receive visitors but the chances of those mobile visitors converting into sale, contact or indeed staying on the site for very long – are minimal.
Responsive website design has become a popular choice for many businesses seeking a professional website that caters for desktop users and mobile users.
This is one example where design meets function in order to improve user experience. By improving user experience you not only meet the demands of your audience, you also fare well within the eyes of the search engines, and a point to you for the first step in SEO friendly web design!
A websites navigation is another crucial aspect when it comes to SEO friendly web design. One way to test how easy your website is to navigate is to try and navigate through your website – without using the main menu bar!
You might be thinking… that’s the whole point of the main menu bar!
Yes you would be right, in a sense.
A website is strengthened by good internal linking, this not only helps your intended audience navigate easily through related pages and topics without having to constantly scroll up to the main menu bar or indeed break their reading flow to go and search for the next related article, page, product or piece of information.
By internally linking your websites pages through call to action areas and in text links also known as anchor text. You not only improve user experience, but you also fare well in the eyes of the search engines and to add to that those small, but major improvements help increase the rankings of the site by allowing distribution of link juice throughout the site.
Internal linking is one of the most important SEO friendly web design tips there is, by learning and reviewing this practice on your site, you can even use this technique to help boost pages that are weaker within search engine rankings!
Instantly you’ve gained another 3 points in the eyes of the search engines, your target audience and you’ve also just improved the power of potential search engine rankings!
There is an old 3 second rule of thumb within the web design industry!
That being, if a website is slow and sluggish, within 3 seconds if that website hasn’t loaded then the visitor that just landed will soon be bouncing off to a faster more functioning website!
It’s true, people don’t have patience not when it comes to surfing the web and browsing for information, products and services. The world of the web is infinite, each day becoming noisier – all noise we have to be part of, like it or not we need to use the internet – it’s no longer an option.
So when a website fails to load within a 3 second window of opportunity the chances of receiving traffic that converts into sales, growing your audience and rankings – again fall flat.
One of the main factors that effects a websites speed are plugins, scripts and extensions overload. Common with many content management system websites.
Another factor that holds immense weight with a websites speed are images.
Having images on the site isn’t the issue, the issue is images that are not optimized! It’s a good practice to get into with whatever graphic package you use, but as you design and develop your images – when saving, optimize them!
I see this cardinal sin so often, SEO friendly URL’s is another practice that’s worth getting into the habit of preforming as a page is completed or at least before the website goes live!
Basically, every page of a website whether that be a product, post or actual page of site has its own unique URL (Universal Resource Location).
A websites URL is essentially the address of the webpage, this “address” is unique to the sites main domain, for instance the main domain of this site;
Each and every page, post, product or service within this website is preceded with the websites domain. For example this recent blog post starts with the websites domain, followed by the article category, followed by the post name.
A bad example or rather a default example of a page that’s not been changed to reflect the page contents or what the page is trying to rank for would be;
The above example shows no indication of what the page is about, nor what it is trying to be included in the search results for.
Same is applicable with a websites pages, for instance this page relating to web design begins with the websites domain, followed by the websites page;
So why are a websites page URL’s important?
Page URL’s help to tell the search engines what the page is about.
Page URL’s (Among other things) are essential to SEO web design and should be keyword targeted, to gain maximum benefit and also help signal to the search engines what the page is trying to rank for.
Page titles are in the same category of importance as page URLs.
By correctly titling your websites pages you’re sending yet another signal to the search engines of what the page is about and what you’re trying to rank for.
Alongside sending the right signals to the search engines a websites page that’s correctly titled and keyword targeted not only stands a much better chance of showing up in the search results of what your intended audience is searching, it also stands a better chance of catching their attention!
Below is an example of a page correctly titled and keyword targeted (Among other things) for the search term Digital Marketing Agency Glasgow.
Once a website has been designed and developed before it goes live you need to make sure the site is accessible to the search engine bots!
After all, if the bots can’t get in and crawl the website there is little chance of it ranking well.
Two vital files that must be added to any website seeking search engine success and high rankings are an XML site map and a robots.txt file.
An XML site map helps direct the search engine bots through the website and allows them to crawl the website pages and return the information back to the search engine. The information returned by the bots tells the search engines what the site is about and what the site is trying would like to be included in the search results for.
A websites robots.txt is a file created to tell the search engines any pages or parts of the site you perhaps don’t want included in the search results.
By making sure you have both these files in place you can be sure your website is allowing access to the search engines, can be crawled and information found.
SEO website design goes far beyond the scope of this article and should be something that’s designed and developed into a website from the beginning.
So many businesses seek website design services then a few months later look for some SEO.
SEO web design is a fundamental factor necessary for a websites success not just within the search engines, but also from an online and digital marketing prospective as well as from a user experience stand point.
Hopefully these 6 simple tips for SEO friendly web design will help your website stand a better chance of search engine success and customers that convert!
If you’re looking for professional and targeted small business SEO services, get in touch we’d love to talk and love hearing about new projects and company goals!
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