Web Design and SEO: Tips and Tricks
Web designers tend to get caught up in their designs so much they forget about marketing best practices. The marketers sometimes wish the developer of a website did things a bit differently. Possessing the knowledge of some basic SEO tactics can be the difference between a good and great designer. An even better designer will work in unison with someone who specializes in Internet marketing.
If you are a web developer and do not have a lot of knowledge when it comes to SEO then this is a great place to start. Understanding the basics of optimizing a website will effectively create happier clients as their website organically reaches new heights in their search engine ranking. This article is also great for a small business who would like to fix up their website in house. On page optimization is not an overly difficult task, but it requires enough knowledge not to engage in over optimization, a practice that novices sometimes engage in.
Search engines like Google love content for indexing. Not all content is created equal however. The content on a website should be very readable and easy for the end user to comprehend. Failing to do so will hurt ones search engine ranking rather than help it.
Another pro tip is not to write for search engines. Yes, search engines are the ones that rank your website, but they’re not the ones that truly read it. Each page and blog post should attain backlinks over the course of time. These are links that point back to your website. If readers enjoy a blog post, we know now more than ever they are likely to share the link to that post on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Making your readers happy will have a greater affect than making search engines happy.
Many websites now take advantage of having a clean link structure, however this was not always the case. A good link structure is readable, concise, and consistent. For example, you want your link structure to look something like
(websitename).com/products as opposed to
This can get even worse by creating a very deep folder hierarchy so instead of just the forward slash and the page (/page) you have /folder1/folder2/listingofallprodcutscreatedin2016.
Keeping these linking structures consistent as I already pointed out is important. Your website probably has an XML sitemap, and this helps search engines index your website. By creating a consistent naming structure search engines will reward your ranking.
Internal linking is a great way to build SEO, and it’s also a great way to destroy it (see avoid over optimization). This is one of those particulars when it comes to building a website and SEO. A web designer should be very good at creating internal links based on the content provided.
A good rule of thumb is to split up internal links 50/50 so 50% link to top level pages (navigation bar), and 50% link to deeper pages such as blog posts. The 50/50 rule helps create a balance and prevents someone from over optimizing their top level pages which tends to happen a lot.
Another tip here is not to use keyword heavy internal links as well. Google is very good at picking up on this and will drop a website down in ranking a lot. As soon as it is fixed it tends to come back quickly. For example, if I linked to my portfolio page every time by website said portfolio or web design portfolio it would hurt my rank. If you are interested in checking it out though, it is located here. See what I did there?
Social Media Sharing
Take advantage of social media every chance you can. Encourage your customers to share, share, share! Creating opportunities for customers to talk about content and share it helps them feel like they’re a part of the brand, aka brand loyalty. I pointed out earlier it is important to get backlinks to your website, and this is one of the best ways to do so!
A responsive layout adapts to any size screen. This means the website should look good on a computer, tablet, phone, or any other device that has Internet capabilities. This helps keep continuity across the website on all devices, and it helps search engine ranking.
Gone are the days where it’s cool to have m.website.com for mobile devices. Go ahead and check out this website on your phone. It’s the same exact website as the one on your desktop, however it makes a few notable changes. The menu does not stay fixed, information becomes centered, and the menu is condensed so it doesn’t take up the whole screen. This is the future of web development. If your website does not have a responsive layout it’s better to make the changes now instead of suffering the consequences later.
Avoid Over Optimization
Over optimization is the art of taking things a step too far. I wanted to finish on this to leave a lasting impression when it comes to creating internal links which is the most popular way to over optimize a website. If a customer is on the website already, acknowledge the fact they’re there. They don’t need a thousand links using keywords to direct them around. A well thought out navigational menu with a couple added internal links is all one needs.
Many Internet marketers have done this themselves in the past and they will tell you exactly what I am. Don’t add a lot of keyword heavy internal links. No one wants to lose 50 spots on Google because they were trying to do the right thing. Remember to cater to your customers and not search engines. If you did a good job with the layout of your website directing customers to the right places, then you are golden.
Above are some great tips to start understanding what it takes to integrate a strong SEO foundation in a website. A great web designer does this and works with Internet marketers to maintain success. It is important for you to realize as well this will not solely drive tons of traffic to a website, increase conversions, or get you the top spot on Google. What it does is set your website up for success and in conjunction with a strong marketing campaign this can be easily achieved. The work all starts on the website though, so if you are paying a couple thousand dollars for a website, make sure your designer knows what they are doing. If they say it is not their job to worry about SEO, they’re not a designer worth paying.