Acquiring maximum conversions from a website is the end goal of every website owner. One of the largest traffic source till date for any website is organic search. Laying the groundwork to achieve top rank in search results is the way to go. Yet many business owners fail to realize that SEO is an integral part of the entire website design process and only consider it as an afterthought.
SEO and web design go hand-in-hand. Building an SEO-friendly website design from the scratch will ultimately simplify the optimization strategy and prevent duplication of efforts in the long run.
Here’s a comprehensive list on the SEO aspects to consider while designing a website.
Choose Sensible Domain
It goes without saying. Remember that domain represents your brand identity and is something potential leads and visitors will refer to in the future. Ensure that it is unique but makes sense and reflects your business motive at the same time.
Also, there are instances when multiple variants of a domain exist. Make sure all the variants point to the main canonical version of the site.
Choosing the right Content Management System (CMS) is a crucial step in the entire process of building SEO-friendly website. Right CMS can influence your business success in the niche market upto large extent.
There are a lot of CMS available for website development. However, WordPress is currently dominating the competition mainly because its basic functionalities are search engine friendly and simple to operate.
Follow Logical Content Hierarchy
Follow a methodical approach when planning the information architecture. The content of your site should reflect your subject matter and be easy to understand – both for visitors and search engine bots. Highlight the main content (product or service) on main category page (closer to homepage) followed by individual sub-category pages for every sub-point. Focus on a singular topic for every web page.
Optimize Page Speed
Also known as the “Speed Update“, starting July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. Google favours sites that load faster and offer flawless experience to users.
Users are likely to abandon a search result page if it takes more than two or three seconds to load. Here is the official tool by Google to measure page speed for site owners.
This is a mobile-first age and the site owners who still don’t have a responsive site should consider converting. Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and covers both designing and coding aspects.
A user behaves differently when browsing a site on smartphone, so keep in mind their needs and wants when designing the site in order to maximize results.
Often underrated, image optimization can drive significant traffic to your site. Site owners tend to overlook image optimization when designing the page layout.
Large images slow down the speed of a website. The optimum image size to be used is between 30 to 100 kb. Also, other parameters to be considered include image name (use a clear name that describes the image) and alt text (use descriptive text filled with right keyword).
Although search engines have gotten better at handling long ugly URLs, they haven’t perfected the art yet.
URLs should be short, explanatory, and easy to read. Do not use special characters (ampersand, underscore, percentage symbols) or insert too many categories in the link. Separate words using a hyphen (-).
For instance, www.example.com/seo-friendly-design/
Links have always been an important metric for computing search engine rankings. The algorithms have updated with time, however, links (both internal and external) still hold considerable importance among the major search engines.
When designing a website, ensure all the pages are linked internally and there are no orphan pages left. In order to rank well, avoid cumbersome or deep navigation.