A guide to SEO web design
When designing a website, having a clear plan of how you plan to optimise your website so that it ranks higher in search results of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo should be at the top of your list. Fundamentally, appearing in the first page of a commonly searched topic results in more traffic (and ultimately a higher conversion rate). To ensure you’re always a step ahead of other sites online, having good web design SEO (search engine optimisation) practises and understanding the basic principles of how best to optimise your website for Google’s algorithm will never let you down. In this article, we go over some key components on how to ensure you maximise your site’s SEO capability.
1) Be as descriptive as possible
Also known as on-page optimisation, ensuring your content is as descriptive as possible allows search engines like Google to index your site properly to rank in search results. This can be done in a number of different ways:
Images and Videos: Having a description or caption for your images allows search engines to pick up SEO keywords and match them against search terms with ease. This also applies to videos – providing a transcription allows search engines to easily pick up on SEO keywords as if otherwise, they would be skipping over them.
URL: Optimise your URL by amending your slug to match the topic or title of your page. Your URL is one of the fundamental features that Google will index, so implementing optimised keywords into your URL reinforces Google’s understanding of your content to allow it to rank and optimise your website.
Meta Descriptions/Snippets: Implementing frequently searched questions into your content will allow your website to rank higher in Google, especially if your content gives a clear definitive answer to what people are searching for in the first place.
Structure/Layout: Structuring content on your website with clear and concise paragraphs and sections will allow Google to index your site easily and locate prime keywords.
2) Double check traceability
Utilising an SEO browser tool allows you to understand what search engines are able to pick up from your website. This as a result gives you the knowledge to recognise which parts of your website need to be optimised – whether that’s the content, structure or general architecture of your website.
Another great tool to use for understanding your website’s traceability is Google Search Console. This tool allows you to understand if your website URL is searchable in Google, what existing websites are linking to your website and how mobile friendly your website is.
3) Simplify, simplify, simplify!
This might come as a surprising one, but how your pages are linked to one another (the website architecture) determines how easily Google can index your website. This is because having multiple pages linked to one another in a disproportionate way will slow down Google’s ability to navigate and index your website fast, To understand this better, think about how easy it is for a new user to navigate around your website. Easy navigation will almost guarantee better indexing results from Google. Additionally, having too many pages under one single website will mean a greater likelihood that the architecture of your website will become more complex. In short – keep your website simple where possible.
4) Keep all content unique
This one should be pretty self-explanatory, but Google is not at all a fan of duplicate content (and have expressed this explicitly). Google will even go as far to remove sites from the Google index where a significant amount of duplicate content is found.
For pages that will inevitably be similar in content, using the canonical tag allows the Google index to recognise similar content, and separates original pages from their derivative pages when crawling the site e.g. an ecommerce website may be selling derivations of the same t-shirt in different patterns or colours, resulting in the same product descriptions more or less.
5) Post quality over quantity
Posting quality content will allow your site to rank higher in Google’s machine learning algorithm (“RankBrain”). Google’s algorithm has the ability to recognise how relevant search results are for a certain search term or topic, allowing the search engine to rank your website based on relevancy and popularity amongst users. How popular a piece of content is will always be down to how well it solves or answers what users are searching for in the first place.
6) Optimise your website for mobile devices
Though it may come as a surprise to most of you, the majority of web traffic actually comes from mobile devices (with more than 60% of pageviews coming from mobiles as opposed to desktops) as more and more users take to the world wide web from just their mobile phones. Regardless of this new information, many existing websites have been slow to adapt to the way people are now using the internet, meaning there’s a lot of scope to rank higher than existing competitors by taking advantage of this knowledge that many turn a blind eye to.
To avoid having a high bounce rate from not catering to mobile view, focus on developing and designing your website to be cross-device tested. Optimising your website for mobile view will organically draw more traffic, improve your website’s SEO and allow Google’s algorithm to promote your search ranking.