All You Need To Know About SEO And Web Design

When it comes to SEO and web design, the two should go hand-in-hand. Businesses often invest in a beautiful website design without considering how it will impact their search engine rankings. Or, they’ll add SEO as an afterthought, tacking on keywords and meta descriptions after the site is live.

Neither of these approaches is effective. If you want your website to rank well in search engines and attract organic traffic, you need to think about SEO from the beginning of the design process.

How To Develop An SEO-Friendly Website?

An SEO-friendly website is built with search engine optimization as a foundation. That means using techniques and technologies that make it easy for search engine crawlers to read and understand your site’s content. There are several ways to make a website, but not all technologies are built with SEO.

It requires strategic planning and a structured approach to build an SEO-friendly site while representing your business, products, and services you provide. It is complicated for many businesses as it is not always easy to account for everything you need.

Your website is your marketing tool, and that’s why it needs to be built upon a solid digital marketing strategy with a clear value proposition and business model.

solid digital marketing strategy

Site Fundamentals

There are certain fundamentals you need for your website design to be well-optimized.

Domains

It’s a common belief that having keywords in your domain can help with your SEO ranking. And while that may benefit local businesses, it’s not always the case for every type of business. In reality, it looks drafty. It is advised that you act sensibly while choosing a domain name. Remember, you are mapping it for the real world.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that all your domain variations and subdomains relate to what you do. They should correctly point at your main site and redirect to a single canonical version of your site. For instance, if someone types in www.example.com, they should be taken to your website regardless of whether they include the “www” or not. The same goes for any subdomains you might have, such as blog.example.com.

Hosting

Your hosting is also crucial. A slow website frustrates users and impacts your rankings. Make sure your hosting company is situated where your target audience is located. And, of course, your site should be fast. If you’re using WordPress, for example, there are specialized WordPress hosting providers that can help optimize your website’s performance.

Content Management System (CMS)

Your CMS can have a significant impact on your website’s SEO. There are many options to choose from, but not all are created equal. Some are better equipped for search engine optimization than others. WordPress is a great option in many situations, but it’s not the only one. It is designed to make it easy for search engines to read and understand your site’s content. But because WordPress is popular doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your business. Be sure to do your research and choose the CMS that’s right for your needs.

Crawling And Accessibility

Your website needs to be easy for search engine crawlers to read. That means using a clean and well-organized code. A good rule of thumb is to keep your code as simple as possible.

Indexation

For search engines to read the content of your website and index it accordingly, the main content on your site should be text-based. That doesn’t mean you can’t use images, videos, or other multimedia elements, but the bulk of your site’s content should be text. There are great tools like web fonts that can help you maintain a professional look while still using text-based content. Whatever you do, make sure that your content is written in clear, easy-to-understand language so that search engines can understand it properly.

Link Structure

You need internal linking to help index your content beyond the home page. Internal linking is important for two reasons. First, it helps search engine crawlers move through your site and index your content. Second, it allows users to navigate your site. Internal links should be well-organized and easy to follow. That means using descriptive anchor text and linking to relevant pages.

Remember, search engines use primary navigation, directives, and tools like XML sitemaps to crawl your site and discover new pages. That’s why having a well-organized website with clear internal linking is important. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog to help ensure that a search engine can easily crawl your site.

Website Structure And Information Architecture

Your website’s structure and information architecture play a big role in how well search engines can index your content. It’s important to have a well-organized website with clear navigation.

You can refer to the basic filing cabinet analogy to understand what we mean. For illustration, if your site is a filing cabinet, then the homepage would be the drawer, and the different sections of your site would be the folders. The pages would be the individual documents.

A simple website structure looks something like this:

Homepage

About us

Contact us

Services

– Service 1

– Service 2

– Service 3

One important thing to note here is that services are typically organized in a hierarchical structure, with the main services being listed on the services page and the sub-services being listed in folders. Now in many cases, a sub-service can act as its own page. For example, if you have a catering service, you might have a page for weddings, corporate events, and private parties.

There are many other ways to organize your website’s content, but this is just a basic example. The important thing is to ensure that your site is well-organized in a way that makes sense, simplifying navigation and discovery.

URLs

The naming convention is everything when it comes to URLs. A URL should be easy to read and give users an idea of what the page is about. For example, if you have a page about your catering services, the URL should be like: www.example.com/catering-services.

If you’re using a CMS, it’s important to ensure that the URL structure is clean and easy to understand. In many cases, you can customize the URL structure to make it more readable. For example, you might want to use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.

You can also use canonical tags to help search engines understand which URL version you want to be indexed for. For example, if you have two versions of the same page (www.example.com/page and www.example.com/page-1), you can use a canonical tag to tell search engines which one you want to be indexed.

Navigation

Navigation is essentially how users move through your website. It is the key that works with the structure, URLs, and other components to help solidify what each page or piece of content is about.

Many businesses make the mistake of taking navigation for granted. They assume that as long as the menu is at the top of the page, users will be able to find what they’re looking for. However, navigation is much more complicated than that.

The primary navigation should be easy to use and understand. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for without difficulty. It should also be consistent across all pages of the website.

In addition to primary navigation, you should also have secondary navigation. This is typically in the form of a sidebar or footer menu. Secondary navigation aims to provide users with additional links to relevant pages.

It is important to note that if navigation is not well-designed, it can lead to a high bounce rate. This means that users leave your site without interacting with other pages. This isn’t good for business because it means that you’re not converting users into customers.

Mobile Friendly Design

We live in a mobile-first world. This means that more people are using mobile devices to access the internet than ever before. The mobile usage statistics are staggering. And they only continue to grow.

To ensure that your website is accessible to the widest audience possible, you need to make sure that it is designed for mobile devices. This means more than just having a responsive design.

To build a mobile-friendly design, you need to think about the needs of mobile users. What do they want to do on your website? How can you make the experience as seamless as possible?

Some elements to consider include:

  • Click-to-call buttons
  • Large font sizes
  • Easy to use forms
  • Optimized images
  • Social media integration

Moreover, Google has a separate search index for mobile devices. This means that if your website is not designed for mobile, it will not rank as highly in mobile search results. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Page Speed

Today’s users are impatient. They expect websites to load quickly and will not hesitate to leave if a website takes too long to load. Page speed is, therefore, a key factor in website design. Ensuring your pages are

Google’s mobile-friendly test is a great tool for testing the speed of your website. The report will give you insights into what you can do to speed things up.

Some common techniques for increasing page speed include:

  • Compressing images
  • Minifying CSS and JavaScript
  • Reducing redirects
  • Enabling browser caching

Usability

Usability is another important consideration in website design. Essentially, usability is all about ensuring that users can easily find what they’re looking for and navigate your website easily.

There are a few key elements to consider when it comes to usability:

Layout: It should be easy to understand. All of the important information should be easily accessible.

Design: It should be clean and uncluttered. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for without any difficulty.

Visual Hierarchy: The most important information should be given prominence. This will ensure that users see it and understand its importance.

Site Search: If your website has a lot of content, it’s important to have a site search function. This will allow users to find the information they’re looking for quickly.

Content Marketing Funnel

Your website should be designed to funnel users towards taking action. Whether that action is signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or downloading a white paper, there should be a clear path that takes users from discovery to conversion.

When designing your website, you need to think about your content marketing funnel. What kind of content will you need at each stage of the funnel? How can you design your website to lead users toward taking action?

Here’s a structured way to consider your content marketing funnel:

Top of the Funnel (TOFU): This is where you generate awareness. Your goal is to attract users to your website and get them interested in your product or service. This should include blog posts, webinars, videos, comprehensive guides, and FAQs.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): This is where you generate interest. Your goal is to engage users with your brand and start considering your product or service. This should include case studies, demonstration videos, product and service information, user guides, etc.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): This is where you generate conversions. Your goal is to get users to take action, whether signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or downloading a white paper. This should include lead magnets, free trials, coupons, and discounts.

The content marketing funnel will inform the design of your website. You need to ensure that the right content is easily accessible at each funnel stage.

SEO

Search engine optimization is another important consideration in website design. Essentially, SEO is all about making sure your website is designed in a way that makes it easy for search engines to find and index your content.

There are a few key elements to consider when it comes to SEO:

Keywords: You need to research the right keywords to target. These are the words and phrases that users are searching for when looking for the products or services you offer.

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: These are the title of your page and a brief description of what the page is about. They appear in the search results and should be designed to attract clicks.

Header Tags: These are used to structure the content on your pages and show the hierarchy of the information.

Alt Text: This is the text that is used to describe images. It’s important to include keywords in your alt text as it helps search engines to index your images.

Rich Snippets: These are the extra bits of information that appear in the search results, such as star ratings or pricing. They can help to attract clicks and improve your CTR.

SEO should be considered from the very beginning of the website design process. You need to ensure that your website is designed to make it easy for search engines to crawl and index your content.

These are just a few of the key elements to consider when it comes to SEO. Once again, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re targeting the right keywords.

Image Optimization

Images are an important part of any website. They can help to break up the text, add visual interest and improve the user experience. However, they can also be a major contributor to slow loading times.

It’s important to optimize your images before you upload them to your website. This means reducing the file size without compromising on quality. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Save your images in the right format. JPEGs are best for photos, and PNGs are best for graphics.
  • Reduce the resolution of your images. 72dpi is sufficient for most web images.
  • Use a compression tool to reduce the file size of your images further.

It’s also important to include alt text for your images. This is the text used to describe the image, and it’s important to include keywords in your alt text as it helps search engines index your images.

Common Issues That Can Affect SEO

Some common issues can affect your website’s SEO. Web designers need to be aware of these issues and take steps to avoid them.

Duplicate content

This is where the same content appears on multiple pages of your website. It’s important to avoid duplicate content as it can confuse search engines and lead to a drop in rankings.

There are a few ways to avoid duplicate content:

  • Use canonical tags: These are used to tell search engines which version of a page is the original.
  • Use 301 redirects: These are used to redirect traffic from one page to another.
  • Use unique titles and descriptions: Make sure that each page on your website has a unique title and meta description.

Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is where multiple pages on your website target the same keywords. This can impact the ability of your site to have one page that strongly targets a given term.

Where the site architecture and hierarchy have been carefully planned, you should eliminate this during the planning and design stages.

Suppose you do find yourself in a situation where you have multiple pages targeting the same keyword. In that case, you can use 301 redirects to consolidate the pages and redirect traffic to the most relevant page.

Domains, Subdomains, and Protocols

This can be an issue if the site is available on multiple domains, subdomains, and protocols.

For example, if your website is available on both www.example.com and example.com, or both http:// and https://, this can lead to duplicate content issues.

The solution is to use canonical tags or 301 redirects to point search engines to the preferred version of the site.

URL Redirections

If you move your website to a new domain, you will need to set up 301 redirects from the old domain to the new one. This is important as it ensures that any existing links to your website will still work and that traffic is redirected to your new site.

If you’re redesigning your website, you will need to set up redirects from the old pages to the new ones. This is so that users are taken to the right page and so that your SEO is not affected.

These are just a few of the Essential SEO elements to consider before, during, and after a website design. By taking care of these elements, you can help ensure that your website is designed in a search engine-friendly way and performs well in the search results.

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Jeannie Brouts

by Jeannie Brouts

Jeannie Brouts is a Marketing Manager at SEO Vendor. She has 10 years of experience in White Label SEO and online marketing. Jeannie loves writing about the latest ways to help businesses market and produce results.

One comment

  • Avatar
    Owen Reinger

    October 24, 2022 at 7:09 am

    I was a late bloomer when it came to the SEO world. I didn’t how important a website should be SEO-friendly and that the two should go hand-in-hand. All thanks for this content!

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