Website Design and Development Tips From an SEO Perspective For Startups and Small Businesses
“We recommend that you redesign your site entirely.”
“You have to migrate the entire site altogether if you want to see any progress.”
“The very design of your website is the reason you are not getting the results you want.”
These are scenarios no website owner wants to hear because it essentially means that they are at the end of the line as far as their website goes and must now start from scratch in order to generate revenue through natural or paid SEO. This is why SEO should be a vital factor in your web design and development processes as it can pave the way for long term results saving you from the hassle of a massive site overhaul, which is both tedious and expensive.
Being a complete SEO solution provider, Search Berg has worked on hundreds of complex website and development projects over the last decade. Since SEO is our forte, we incorporate SEO friendly website design guidelines in our business model which comes naturally. The end-result is dashing website that is perfectly optimized for SEO. This is exactly what you want, as a startup or small business owner looking to establish your business on the internet.
When a client comes to us for an SEO project, especially he has not got good results in his previous SEO campaigns, he has a lot of questions to ask such as the following:
- What is a SEO friendly website?
- How to design SEO friendly website?
- What is an SEO web design?
- What is SEO friendly HTML structure?
- How to produce SEO friendly HTML code?
- What is SEO friendly URL?
In today’s post, we will talk about the design and development elements pertaining to SEO you want to seriously consider for your website.
Let’s talk designing SEO friendly website first.
Top Level Navigation
When search engines visit a site, they visit every single page and every single link on that domain. How efficiently the site architecture is structured assists the search engine crawlers to properly index and rank your site for your target audience. Top level navigation is very important in designing for SEO. These are your most relevant pages that you want visitors to find easily when they visit your site.
When creating a flat site structure, be sure to keep pages no deeper than 4 clicks from the homepage. The idea is for search engines to find the content with as few clicks as possible. Of course, this is not to discourage people from not creating subfolders and categories when there is a need for it. However if visitors have to click more than 4 times to get to the content they are looking for, chances are that you have over-optimized and done something wrong. The users should be able to find content with as few clicks as possible.
A flat site structure is visually appealing and creates a positive, professional image on the visitor to your website. This is the most commonly used SEO website design pattern today and also the most popular one. In fact, it is very likely that your competitors are already using it. The flat designs are easy on the eyes and flow smoothly as the users scroll down. It reduces clutter and keeps the content evenly spaced throughout. It is one of the most important factors about how to design website for SEO.
People often confuse content with text on a page. That’s not correct. Content expands beyond words and it can mean a great number of things. If you have a photography site that is full of thousands of images; that’s content. If you are a video library showcasing videos on a variety of subjects, that’s content to your visitors. Determine what kind of content or different types of content will go on your website and then create the design accordingly. This is will result in a more consistent user interface.
The gold standard for today’s websites, not having a responsive design can singlehandedly lead to failure in today’s competitive market. More and more people are using their smart phone and tablets to make purchases. Mobile searches are expected to overtime desktop search any year now. To make the case further, Google came out with Mobilegeddon update essentially stating that sites not optimized for mobile will not be ranked higher in Google. These are all clear signs of the tide shifting from desktop PC and laptop to small phones, tablets and phablets. Your website’s design should be “responsive” enough to adjust to optimal viewing based on which device is used to view it. Devise-specific experiences will enable you to reach more people, and ultimately lead to more sales or conversions.
There is no denying that Flash and JS take responsive design and user experience to a higher level. However, the truth remains that even to this day, search engines have a hard time understanding them. A site heavily based on flash will never rank high for their target keywords because the search engines would not be able to reach it thoroughly and thus not indexed the site accordingly. This is not to discourage people from using Java Script or Flash, however, do it carefully and in order to improve your site’s machine readability, use structured data on those pages.
I hope I have answered to your question ‘How can I make my website SEO friendly?’ with as much details as you want. To have proper SEO results, remember that SEO and website design go hand in hand.
Web development is more straightforward than design as it is purely a matter of following guidelines or making a choice and then going with it.
HTTP or HTTPS
For many it’s an open and shut case to go with HTTPS especially since it is well known that Google uses that as a ranking factor. However, if you are not an e-commerce site or do not take online credit card payments, you can easily go for HTTP.
Site Speed is a very important ranking factor that is often forgotten or overlooked by people new to SEO. In hindsight it might seem acceptable if a site takes 7 seconds to load. However, for Google that constitutes a negative user experience which leads to lower rankings. People today need information at lightning speed. They will not wait more than 3 seconds to wait for a site to load.
Avoid making the main home page of your website image heavy. If you must use images, make sure they are properly optimized for SEO. Oftentimes, developers are under immense pressure to complete the project that they overlook site speed issues that later on become a problem, both for the client and their customers.
TLD or Subfolders
This is a very important development factor that must be addressed before any design or development phase can begin. Most businesses are interested in mainly having presence in multiple countries and target people that speak/write different languages other than English.
There are two approaches to this. Either you invest in regional domain or country level domain such .co.uk, or .com.au. This opens up new opportunities to target individual countries and their regions more closely. This approach does require more investment of time, money and resources, all of which will be needed to achieve and then maintain the same level of presence that of the original domain.
The other approach entails the use of subfolders (i.e. mydomain.com/uk). The good thing about this approach is that no alternate CMS is required. Subfolders can run from one platform or CMS so development costs and website/server maintenance is much lower than that of using a new TLD approach.
These are just a few important considerations to take into account as you take the first step towards SEO friendly website development. For more information, contact Search Berg directly and speak with our representatives or Visit Our Design and Development Page for more information on how our process works and how we can design, develop and live your website within 7 days, completely SEO optimized.