Getting Hold of the SEO Fireball - for Web Development
Your website is the center of your digital marketing efforts. It may look attractive and pretty to you, but there is a huge difference between how you and I see it and how a search engine sees it.
Your website is the center of your digital marketing efforts. It may look attractive and pretty to you, but there is a huge difference between how you and I see it and how a search engine sees it. Google considers marketing smarts for crawling a website and if these are not cooked in your website's design, then it would just be a pretty website running the marketing race with one wooden leg.
In this article, we are going to look at the basic requirements for a website to build its search marketing and lead generation, and what would help keep the Google gods on your side.
Before we start, one major thing to keep in mind is that SEO cannot be plastered onto an existing website, in fact, web designing and SEO go hand-in-hand. This lays emphasis on the major role played by web designers to achieve a powerful website and its online reputation. Hence, web designers need to get deeper into the SEO roots for a better understanding of the commercial aspects of websites. Web designers need to be aware of SEO insights that can make a positive change in their entire web design approach.
Let us now have a look at some hygiene checkpoints that would help web developers get better insights for Search Engine Optimization.
Clean your URLs
Your URL is the first thing search engine crawlers see. A URL tells a lot about your page so try to make it as clean as possible.
For instance, take these two URLs:
If we look at the first one, it is a great example of a clean URL, wherein a user can understand website name, category, and the title plainly. While the second URL is stuffed with a lot of parameters which makes it hard for a user to understand what the page is about and they are less likely to click or share this URL.
Title Tag: It is one of the most important on-page SEO signals, giving a strong hint about your page's topic to search engines. Therefore, always include keywords in your title. They indicate what a page is about and this helps search engines decide which pages to display for a user's query. Try to keep the keywords close to the beginning of the title so that search engines do not identify the title as spam. But, do not get too carried away with keyword stuffing. It is important not to include too many keywords in your title. Don't make it an unreadable sequence of keywords, just for the sake of higher rankings. Make sure that readers understand what each page is about by just looking at its title.
Meta description: Meta descriptions aren't used directly for rankings, but they are important for SEO. Search engines look at them to understand a page's topic. Also, they are combined with title tags to form search snippet that is - the title, link, and page description displayed in search results. They kind of work like free ads for your page, with keywords matching search queries. Having an appropriate meta description will increase your click-through rate (CTR) and decrease the bounce rate. Both of these activities look good to search engines and help improve your rankings.
Structuring your website
Focus on the structure of your website for better engagement with your audience. There is always a particular path for the information to flow on a website. This path is navigated by a user to get to the information they are looking for. The web designing should be in such a manner where all visitors can experience the site's navigation with utmost ease. If visitors get a hard time navigating your website or finding required information then the site's traffic will be affected.
Also, make sure that the navigation is not complex for the search engines. As a general rule, do not keep the site pages deeper than 3 to 4 clicks from the homepage. This will allow users and search engines to find the content they are looking for, with ease.
Some websites take a deep approach to structuring their content while some take a wider approach. The takeaway from this point is that your website should be organized in a sensible way and navigation should be simplified.
You need a solid content strategy before starting with web development. Give some thought on what content should be displayed on your website. The most popular approach for content is creating a blog and filling it with unique articles that will highlight specific aspects of your business.
Understand your target audience and use it to determine the content you want to spread through the articles. Site-visitors should be able to read the content of your page - this means that the main content of your website should be text-based (behind the scenes) no images no flash or videos. I know it sounds weird but, get used to the fact that even in this advancing world, you have to go old-school with your content and keep it text-based. You can add some images within your text, to make it interactive, but make sure that you talk clearly about what it is that you do so that the search engines can read and understand your business.
We live in a mobile-first age and majority of users surf the internet with their mobile phones rather than computers. In 2017, Google released its mobile search algorithm - many referred to it at that time as "Mobilegeddon". This introduced a new ranking signal - "mobile friendliness", that is measured by different criteria. Hence, websites optimized for search engines should give equal consideration to mobile layouts of their sites.
To create a mobile-friendly design and maximize results from mobile search, you must think of the requirements of mobile users. Here are some key factors for creating mobile SEO-friendly websites that will help you move beyond simple mobile-friendly responsive design.
If we see from an SEO perspective, mobile-friendliness is a confirmed ranking factor for mobile search. The mobile version of your site will be used by the search engine to review and rank your site. So, work hard on optimizing user-experience for mobile users and reap the rewards for your efforts in terms of traffic and user engagement.
Search engines aren't out there to get you, no matter how much it might seem that they are. All you have to do is try working with them, not against them. At the end of the day, all search engines really want is to provide their users with the best possible answers to their search queries. And if you optimize your URLs, add metatags and description, structure your website and make it user-friendly, you'll be well on your way to high rankings and increased search traffic.
It should be the aim of every website designer to furnish their knowledge of web designing with the key SEO elements that must be considered before, during and after website designing. Because in the end, it is the web developers who will set the SEO fireball rolling. I hope that these basic SEO insights for web designers would be of some help to experienced and new web designers, in an attempt to embed their site's SEO into the design process.