Web design and search engine optimization work hand and hand. In fact, the way a website is designed will have a direct effect on its ability to rank for relevant keywords and keyphrases. In most cases, companies wait to hire a marketing team once the website is completed and live.
Not only is this the incorrect way to launch your new website, you are also setting your business up for failure when your design and marketing teams don’t work closely together. Websites designed without SEO in mind can cause ranking issues in the future.
It does not matter what industry you are in, you should always develop your website using the best practices for SEO. When the project first begins, digital marketing strategists should always be involved when designing and redesigning websites. This is important so the designer will build a website that is search engine friendly, allowing the website to compete to be on the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing.
In this article, we will discuss what methods you can use to make sure your new website is SEO friendly.
High Quality Content
In order to create high quality content, you must start planning before the design or redesign phase begins. For each page you plan to create, ask yourself, “what’s the purpose of this page? What do users need to know about this product or service? The design of the website and the content should both help convey the message effectively to users. The website design should compliment your content and your content should complement your website design.
The content on your website tells the search engines what the pages are about. There was a time when keyword stuffing and duplicate content was enough to get on the first page. Now, modern SEO is all about relevant, unique and quality content.
Google, Yahoo and Bing always want to provide the best results for users who search for products or services on their search engine. Their goal is to ensure customer satisfaction so users will keep coming back to their search engine for more information. The more users, the more advertisers, and search engines are all about attracting advertisers to make a profit.
Search engines reward websites that offer great experiences to users. For a user, there is nothing more frustrating to click on a website that is in the first position on the search engine results page (SERP) just to find out that the site is difficult to read or use. When a user has a bad experience with a website, the search engine is held responsible.
Good user experience is measured by the time spent on a page of a website, the number of internal links and social shares. Search engines see these components on a website and the site is rewarded with high rankings on the SERP. This is why it is equally important that your website is fully compatible with mobile devices. Over 50% of all internet traffic is from a mobile device, it is a must that you build a website that is mobile friendly if you want all users to have a good experience on your website.
From a design perspective, your goal should be to create a site structure that is intuitive and easy for users to engage with. From an SEO perspective, your goal should be to create a site with a structure that allows pages to be crawled correctly, inbound links and images. When done correctly, these goals can be achieved simultaneously and your website will benefit from it. Your most important content should be a priority when structuring the website. Keywords and keyphrases should be strategically placed as well as links.
Even though search engines are fairly sophisticated, they are limited to discovering content through links. If the proper links don’t exist in your content, or if they are buried or broken, your content will not be crawled and will basically be impossible for your website to rank.
Be Cautious During The Redesign
Be aware that the SEO value of a website is in jeopardy during the redesigning phases. If you decide to redesign a website without the input of a search engine specialists, you risk losing valuable SEO work you spent years building. Many companies fail to realize this and set their new website up for failure before it’s even launched.
Before you start the redesign process, you should audit your website so you get a good understanding of the titles, meta descriptions and rankings of all the pages within the site. Take notice if you have pages that are redundant, outdated or no longer exists. Redirect pages in your new website if you are changing your URL structure. Also look for pages that are generating a 404 error, you will want to redirect those pages also. Which pages rank well for your targeted keywords? Map out all the sites content to make sure high-value content does not get forgotten in the redesign.
Web design has a huge impact on your SEO efforts. Companies spend countless hours trying to create content that attracts links and social shares, but never take the time to realize that their website is not mobile friendly, or that pages on their website are not being indexed correctly. Understanding how design and SEO work together will help your website take advantage of every opportunity to rank for keywords and keyphrases that matter to your business the most.
Redesigning your website can be a stressful task, especially if it is your first time doing so. If you are in the middle of a web development project and feel that you are in over your head, don’t worry. You can hire an SEO agency that specializes in web development to perform an audit before your new website goes live.