6 Things SEO Experts Want Web Designers to Know

Tuesday, 17 September 2019  |  Posted in: Articles  |  6min read

If you want to find success online, the importance of amazing web design is obvious. It’s easy to see when it’s done well. What’s less obvious to many people is the importance of SEO.

Behind every successful website is a painstakingly thought out SEO strategy. If there wasn’t, you would probably never have seen the site in the first place.

If you want people to actually see your amazing web design, and get some real results from your work, you need to plan your web design with SEO in mind.

The best way to ensure SEO success is to plan for it from the start!

 

A quick introduction to SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the process of driving organic traffic to your website from search engine results. The higher your page appears in the search engine results, the more traffic your website will get.

The primary goal of SEO is to get your web page ranking highly for your relevant search queries or “keywords”.

Google (and other search engines) crawl the web constantly in order to rank pages in search results. They use an algorithm to determine the quality of website pages and their relevancy to different keywords.

As the web evolves, these algorithms are regularly updated to better serve web users. This means that SEO techniques used for your digital marketing also need to be updated regularly to keep up with the algorithm.

 

 

If you’re a web designer and you want to ensure your design is following current best practices for SEO, this one is for you!

Here are 6 tips from a SEO Expert to consider in your 2019 website redevelopment.

 

1.  Navigation and content hierarchy

You already know the importance of navigation for your users. But the structure of your website is also how search engine bots crawl your site to determine its ranking.

Your website structure tells these bots which pages you consider to be the most important, and the relationships between them.

Make sure to structure your content into categories and subcategories so that your website architecture reflects the importance of your content and you can improve your ranking for general and long-tail keywords.

Read more about navigation best practices here.

 

2.  Content discoverability

For your web pages to be ranked, they need to be discoverable through on-page links.

If your links are buried or broken, search engine bots will not be able to discover them, so they won’t rank.

Your internal linking strategy should focus on tightening the network of your pages and posts, providing deep paths around your site from every location. Use anchor text tags throughout your content, linking to deep pages which add value for your users.

 

3.  Content quality

The content on your web pages is what tells the search engine bot what the page is about. The search engines like to see new content as it indicates your website is active. Consider implementing a dynamic content feature, for example on your homepage, that automatically shows a snippet of your latest blog content.

If you are redesigning an established website, without an SEO plan, you risk losing the SEO value it has gained over the years. Make sure to do thorough planning for a redesign, considering your keywords and redirecting any removed content.

 

4.  Design & usability

Design and usability are clearly important factors when designing for your users, but they are also important for SEO purposes.

In order to rank highly on Google, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Search engines actually check to see that your website has a responsive design.

A good user experience is desirable for obvious reasons. Additionally, it encourages a longer time on pages, inbound links and shares. This means your design and usability features can actually influence your website SEO too.

 

5.  Crawlability

To make your pages crawlable when designing a website, there are a number of activities to keep in mind.

Firstly, make sure to externalise any JavaScript and CSS by placing them outside the HTML document. Search engine bots will crawl your website through the HTML. Any additional code in the HTML documents will slow down the crawl process and may negatively impact your quality score.

As bots use HTML to navigate through content, structuring your pages properly is crucial. This means using heading tags appropriately throughout your content. You should use the <h1> tag for your main heading and <h2> through to <h6> tags to indicate content hierarchy on the page. If you wish to change the size and style of your headings, use CSS to do this while maintaining correct heading tag use.

Adhering to accessibility guidelines ensures you are following best practices with your HTML markup. The cleaner and more organised your code is, the easier it is to index. We recommend following WCAG 2.0 standards to ensure accessibility and support your SEO.

Bots also use URLs to gain context of the web page. An optimised URL will contain your keywords to describe the content of the page without being too long.

 

6.  Images

High quality images look fantastic visually, but could potentially be slowing your website down. As loading speed is an important factor for determining your quality score, these images must be optimised.

Try using an image compression tool to reduce file sizes without a noticeable loss in quality. Additionally, loading techniques such as lazy loading can help increase your page speed for SEO purposes. Lazy loading defers the loading of non-critical content, so that it loads as you scroll down the page.

Make sure your developer reads Google’s notes about implementing lazy loading here.

 

There is a lot to consider when designing a website, and SEO is just one of those factors. The main thing to keep in mind is to design for your users first. Search engine ranking algorithms are regularly updated to give the user a better experience, so designing with your user in mind is the best head start you can give your website!

Talk to an SEO Expert today about improving your website ranking.

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