If you own a business, you probably want an outstanding website — one that is appealing and informs users about what you have to offer. It’s also important to understand that you can’t just have a website that looks great and provides the best content. That great content isn’t going to matter if no one sees it! Have you ever thought about just how important your web design is and how that might affect your organic traffic?
This is where SEO comes into play. SEO (search engine optimization) is critical for any business that has a website or an online presence. The goal is to gain more popularity across the web and for your audience to notice you. Your website is the heart of your digital marketing presence, with everything directing users back to it. Many don’t understand that it’s important to incorporate SEO practices into the web design process, not just after the website is complete! Businesses that implement SEO practices during the web design process tend to be more successful with their websites. Those who only focus on SEO after their website is finished are typically behind regarding their digital marketing front. SEO should be a critical part in your web design (or redesign) process!
Developing an SEO-friendly Website
An SEO-friendly site is, most importantly, one that allows search engines to read, understand, and index it in search engines. Ensuring that search engines can understand and index your content is the first step. Next, you need to ensure that your site provides a positive experience for users. Building an optimized website requires careful consideration and strategic planning in representing your business in the best way you can. It’s not always easy, and it takes the right kind of knowledge to understand what steps to take and how to go about it. Business owners should be aware just how important SEO is in web design, and websites that implement it are likely to drive more traffic.
Web Design Fundamentals
When it comes to web developers designing websites, those who implement a little bit of SEO have the most optimized and best performing websites. What exactly does this mean? We’ll share the most important SEO factors to implement when building a website that will give you a strong start in the race of internet popularity:
First and foremost, every website should have a valid SSL certificate, and this should be addressed during the web design process. HTTPS adds security and privacy to a website. It also allows search engines to recognize the validity of the website, preventing third-party tampering. Google recommends that all websites switch to HTTPS if not already, for site security is now a ranking factor.
Google Search Central Blog announced the implementation of mobile-first indexing, and transferred all websites to mobile-first indexing in September 2020. Mobile-first indexing means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking. In the past, the index primarily ranked the desktop versions on content when evaluating the relevance of a website. Since Google switched completely over to mobile-first indexing, your content is primarily ranked and indexed using Google’s smartphone agent. This means that Google now considers the mobile version of your website more when deciding where to rank your website in search results.
Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML. It improves the way search engines read and represent data. Schema.org is a collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex to help provide information that search engines need to efficiently understand the content you post on your website and provide the best results to users. Adding schema markup allows your content to become eligible for rich snippets in search results. Search engine results, also known as snippets, sometimes provide extra valuable information. When results provide this extra information, they are considered rich snippets. Rich snippets are a type of rich results. You need to implement structured data on your website for your content to become eligible for rich results.
Here are search results for “apple pie recipe.” It includes extra pieces of information, such as reviews, calories, and cooking time, and that’s what makes this a rich snippet.
Another type of rich result includes an image or video gallery, which is shown below. In order for your content to become eligible for similar types of results, you must implement structured data on your website.
You should not forget about robots.txt file. When developing a website, it is often necessary to block search engine crawlers from crawling and indexing your website. However, once your website is complete and live, search engines should be able to to crawl and index it. There should be no disallow directives for the pages of your website that you want search engines to index and users to find.
Now, there is a huge difference between “Disallow: “ and “Disallow: /”.
“Disallow: “ with nothing after the colon means that all pages of the site can be crawled with no issues.
And “Disallow: /” means that all pages on your website will be blocked from crawling, and this will put a damper on your site’s performance! Disallow directives should only be used on specific pages that you do not want search engines to crawl, but not the entire website.
Site performance is a major ranking factor for Google. You should ensure your site is performing well on both desktop and mobile devices. You can test the performance of your website using Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix. As mentioned earlier, Google now performs mobile-first indexing, so a great tool to use is Google’s mobile-friendly test. All of these tools are great for giving you insight on your site’s performance. Core web vitals, testing load time, interactivity, and layout shifting, are now a ranking factor for websites. Google ranks websites higher who provide better user experiences, so your goal should be to provide the best experience possible for your users. Here is QCM Agency’s results on page performance.
Think of your website as a filing cabinet. How would you organize your content? What are the most important pages, how do those individual pages dive into more specific content? Your site as a whole would be the cabinet. A high-level category would be a drawer. A subcategory would be a folder, and so forth. This organogram show the organization, with the top level being the broadest category, and each sublevel getting more specific. For example, here is the organization structure of QCM Agency’s site.
Site architecture is always something to consider with web design. You can easily navigate the site if you optimize the architecture. Each individual page on your website should be within some sort of category, getting more specific when going farther from the home page. Let’s think back to the filing cabinet analogy, following this concept.
Cabinet : your website : most broad
Drawers : high level categories : more specific
Files : sub level categories : even more specific
SEO Web Design is Important for Business Success
A business that wants to grow digitally can’t ignore SEO, especially when it comes to their web design. SEO practices result in long-term success and more visibility to potential consumers. When web developers implement some SEO practices into their web design, it will lead to much better performance across the web. Those who tend to ignore SEO when designing a website find themselves with a major headache, having to fix critical issues down the road.
SEO web design helps you rank higher in search engines quicker. In a way, you are often times hitting two birds with one stone. Instead of having to address critical issues after the website is live, you can focus on other important areas of SEO, such as off-page SEO, expanding your presence across the web.
Web design and SEO go hand in hand. The goal is to get users to go to your website, and complete a task. That could be to contact you for a service, order a product, sign up for a newsletter, or something else. When designing a website, think of how you want your own experience to be when visiting a website. You are likely not going to have a good experience if website is slow, the architecture is not optimized, and is not mobile-friendly.
Search engines consider user experiences, and SEO specialists are like user advocates. We understand users and what creates a positive experience. Creating a positive experience on your website is key to getting the results you want on search engines. Google prioritizes websites that prioritize user experience.
If you want to ensure your website provides the best content, is visual appealing, has great functionality, and is seen by Google and its users, contact us here!