Web Design Basics that Will Improve Your Site’s SEO
Much like Rome, a website isn’t built in a day. So many designers spend countless hours on their websites, only to realize when they have finished that the site isn’t drawing in traffic like they expected. Without proper attention to SEO in the design stage, you’re overlooking some major web design basics and could be sacrificing your Google ranking.
Proper SEO in the frame and content of your website is absolutely essential. Search engines, mainly Google, are the number one way that consumers get to your website beating social media. If the proper SEO isn’t in place then you won’t be high in the rankings.
Since 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, without good SEO your website might as well be invisible.
This article will go through some of the web design basics so you can ensure that your website is built on strong foundations to be optimized for rankings.
Even if you aren’t building your own website, read on so you can ask your designers the right questions.
Appropriate Keyword Focus is a Web Design Basic
Probably the first thing anyone thinks of when it comes to SEO is keyword optimization. It remains a highly important factor when Google is determining your website’s ranking.
However, it is no longer simply based on the number of times a particular keyword appears on each page like it was in Google’s infancy. So-called “keyword stuffing” was an exploitative practice on the part of some website owners, cramming a certain keyword onto a page over and over.
Luckily for web users and companies doing SEO the right way, Google no longer falls for this tactic. Instead, Google tends to reward content that is more comprehensive, detailed, and valuable to readers about the topic being searched for.
This does not mean that keyword optimization doesn’t matter. Instead, it means that you need to create quality content that features your keywords.
Tips for Creating Better Keyword Optimization
- Research and focus in on the most important keywords. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to get you started. When using the tool, if you’re business targets people in your area, make sure to focus on local results.
- Base your keywords on what people are searching for. Too often, companies build their keyword optimization around what they want consumers to search, rather than what they’re actually looking for. Make use of Google’s Adwords tool to find keyword conversion and search terms data. Do this research before you begin writing your content.
- Pay attention to what keywords your competitors are using. Keywords that are too popular will make it difficult for your website to break through in the results, so consider a less common but still valuable option.
Don’t Forget About Your Meta Content
Meta content, which Google displays on their results page, counts towards your ranking. Meta titles affect your ranking. Meta descriptions technically don’t, but they will affect your click-through rates, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
So how do you optimize it?
First, keep it short and sweet. Meta titles should be kept between 30 and 60 characters. Even if the hard limit is 65, try not to hit the maximum.
As we said, meta descriptions don’t technically count towards your ranking. However, they are very important for click through rates. This is because when users see your meta title and description, they will decide for themselves whether they think your page is worth visiting. So while you’re optimizing it always keep readability in mind.
When people are scanning through search results, they’re going fast, so keep it short. It’s tempting to use your full 165 character limit, but if you can get the necessary information across in 140 or less, go for it!
While meta tags used to be important in the past, Google tends to ignore them now. Don’t bother trying to use them; instead, focus on the keyword optimization within your text that we talked about above.
Find a Balance Between Appearance and Optimization
On their own, things such as images and Flash, which make your website far more engaging, aren’t read by Google’s web crawler. So, you could have a beautiful, informative infographic that isn’t doing anything to bring you new traffic because it isn’t searchable.
So how do you solve this?
- ALT text for any images on your website. This allows Google to “read” them.
- Ensure all your textual content is in plain HTML instead of as images or Flash. This doesn’t mean sacrificing beauty; instead, use web fonts from sources such as Google Fonts. This will give you the visual flexibility designers often use images to attain, while still being crawlable.
- Improve the SEO of your images by providing accurate, appropriate file names that include your keywords.
- Incorporate roll-over text or expandable div panels to add crawlable content to images. While for your users, an image can speak for itself, Google’s crawlers won’t pick up on what’s being displayed. If the image is providing more than simple ALT text can explain, web design tricks like roll overs or expanding div panels can let you include valuable crawlable text without sacrificing your design.
It’s very possible to have SEO optimized websites that are still visually appealing. Just check out these examples.
Link Together Your Content
Customers and web crawlers rely on links to move through your website. Make sure that your links are set up in a way to ensure all pages are reachable and the organization makes sense.
The best way to do this is through a hierarchical structure. By organizing your content according to topics and categories, with menus to aid navigation, you’ll make it easier for customers to get to your pages, and the linking will allow crawlers to categorize your whole website.
Next Steps: Have Your Site Built
Now you know how to lay strong SEO foundations for your website. By paying attention to keyword optimization, meta content, design elements, and linking, you can make sure that Google reads all the content on your site and gives you the good ranking you deserve.
Want some help building a strong SEO and design optimized website? We can get started with something new or help you optimize your existing website.
So get out there and make beautiful, searchable websites that both your customers and Google will love!
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