You may not know this, but when it comes to developing a website, you really need to consider two different audiences:
- Your website visitors, customers or potential customers
- Search engines – Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo etc.
You need an SEO-friendly website so that your website can be understood and ranked highly in the search engine results pages; this in turn will help your ideal customers find you a lot easier. But you also need to consider and create the very best user experience for visitors to your site; when people land on your site, they need to find just what they are looking for with ease.
So before we go on, let’s answer an important question…
What is SEO Web Design and why is it important?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of making your website more visible by making it easy for search engines like Google and Bing to understand. The more ‘visible’ your website is to search engines, the more likely it will appear on page one of the search results.
You can find out more on why this is so important in our other blog discussing the benefits of Organic SEO. But consider this: when was the last time you looked past page one of Google or any other search engine to find what you were looking for?
According to research, the first page of search results receives 95% of web traffic, while the second page receives only 5%. That means the second page isn’t even a close second, which is why ranking on page one is everything to a business that wants to be found online.
SEO web design is an important element in helping you reach page one of the search results. Let’s take a look at what Cariad does to ensure our websites are built to rank.
Developing an SEO-friendly website
This might sound daunting, developing an SEO-friendly website, but in a nutshell, all we are talking about here is designing a website that allows search engines to crawl and read pages across your site without issues, as well as to interpret and understand your content well enough that it can ‘rank’ your website higher in the search results. There are some of the key things we do at Cariad:
Website SEO Fundamentals
Before starting any web project, it is important to consider these fundamentals for every website.
Your domain name can be an important factor when it comes to launching your business online. This is why it’s important to take time to carefully consider the available options, and possibly include any keywords. You’ll want a domain name that is short, memorable, and relevant to your business. You will also need to ensure that any subdomains point to the main site and redirect to a single canonical version of the site. For example, if you want your website to be mydummydomain.com, you should have a redirect set up from www.mydummydomain.com to the non-www version.
Slow hosting can really hurt your SEO and give both customers and search engines a bad impression. Read more about hosting and other website performance ideas here. Find a good hosting company with which you can build a good relationship. We use a local cloud-based hosting company to make sure all websites we build and host are set up for success from the start by being hosted in the right environment.
Content Management System (CMS)
There are literally tens if not hundreds of different CMSs to choose from, but our preference (and our clients’) is WordPress. It is the leading CMS platform on the web today, with over 43.1% of all websites being built with WordPress. It is simple for marketing teams to maintain and update, ideal for SEO teams to work on and optimise, and it gives the developer complete control to structure and build the website exactly how they want with SEO best practices in mind from the start.
Before we kick off a new website project, we will discuss and agree – with the team as well as the client – on the best website structure to go with to make the site well-organised and easy to understand. Initially this normally takes the form of a proposed sitemap so that everyone has a clear, top-level overview of what the website will consist of, together with the key areas to take into consideration for design and development.
According to the latest figures published by Statista (on January 30, 2023), 59.16% of all global website traffic came from mobile devices. Mobile responsive design is nothing new and should be the de facto way to build any new websites in 2023 and beyond. All websites that we build are designed to look great on any device. If your website isn’t looking so good on mobile, it might be time to revisit that and work on making sure your mobile experience is great, both for your customers and for search engines crawling your website and testing for these things.
If your website is currently slow, we have some great articles on how to improve its page speed performance. However, it’s important to know that speed is an ever-important SEO ranking factor and something that should be optimised as it is being developed. There are a number of things that can affect your website speed, including:
- Web hosting
- Code bloat
- Third party scripts and packages
- Large page sizes
Many factors can influence site speed, and it is best practice to monitor and analyse this while the site is being built to avoid having to go back and fix issues later.
Meta Titles / Meta Descriptions
You can optimise pages on your website with unique meta titles and meta descriptions which show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) which can be enhanced to help improve things like CTR (Click through rate). We make sure that all pages across the website are SEO optimised before we even go live with a new website.
There are many technical SEO aspects that should be considered with every web design project, including:
- URL structure
- Simple navigation around the site with menus, breadcrumbs, filters and more
- XML Sitemap
- Robots.txt file to direct and control which pages can be crawled by search engines or not
- Schema Markup
Aside from image size and format there are also a number of other optimisations that can be done for search engines including:
- Image Name
- Alt Text
- Using the correct image sizes
- Add OpenGraph and Twitter Cards for social shares
Balance between web design and SEO
The best way to achieve a well-designed, SEO-friendly website is to work collaboratively with a team of experts who know the requirements for your site and your business from the beginning. Ensuring the website developer, web designer, SEO consultant, and business owner all work together on the same page with the same clear goals and objectives is the key to success.
Remember, ultimately you are writing for humans, not search engines. However, with these top tips and a methodical approach to SEO web design, the two go hand in hand.
FREE website SEO audit
If you already have a website and are not sure if it is SEO friendly or not, then you may be interested in our FREE website seo audit of your website which will show you how it stands up for the search engines. You’ll be surprised at how much a website SEO audit can reveal, as there are a variety of things we look for in an audit.