Peanut butter and jelly. Chips and salsa. Cinnamon and sugar. Some things just belong together.
The same is true for search engine optimization (SEO) and web design. You might not automatically put these two together, but their love affair runs deep. When you have these two working in cohesion you get something that’s greater than the sum of their two parts. You get a website that is not only aesthetically pleasing with high usability, but you also get the keyword recognition and placement you want in search results. Let’s take a closer look at why the budding romance between SEO and web design makes them the perfect pair.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process by which you can increase the volume and quality of traffic to your website via search. When you go to Google, Bing or Yahoo! and search for information, the search engine will deliver results based on the content of the pages it has crawled. The process of SEO ensures that your website has content that the crawler will rank highly for specific keywords that relate to your business.
Why is SEO important to your website?
Your website is an integral part of your business. It’s how customers connect with your brand and discover your business. It’s how you generate leads and convert sales. You’ll want a high volume of visitors to your website, but you’ll also want those visitors to be high quality, matching well with the services or products you provide. If your website offers poor SEO, it has a lower chance of being discovered because its chances of being served on the first page of Google are much lower. And where your website ranks can significantly impact your business. Studies show that 75 percent of users won’t scroll past the first page of search results.
How can you incorporate SEO into your web design?
So, your next question must be: “How do we set up SEO & web design in a way where they are guaranteed to have a lasting relationship?” While there are a myriad of ways to incorporate SEO into your web design—it’s estimated that Google uses over 200 factors to get their rankings—here are a few of the top things to consider:
Start from the beginning – You must incorporate SEO during the design phase of building out your website. It will be much harder to add it back in at the end once you have all the content up. If you’re working with a design firm, make sure they are well-versed in incorporating SEO best practices into their designs.
A solid foundation – Get organized with the right website structure. You’ll want items to be found based on their level in the hierarchy following the structure of your website, the main page, subpage and then individual item. Here’s an example: Pet Care > Dogs > Grooming Services > Nail Clipping
Navigation – Once you have your organization all set up, you’ll want a site that’s easy to navigate for both the crawlers and your customers. Move past your main menu and consider how users get from one part of your website to the other. Can they easily view a product, its images and add it to their cart without any hiccups?
Domain and URLs – These need to make sense and be easy to type out. Keep your domain short, sweet and pertaining directly to your business. You’ll also want to incorporate redirects back to the main URL. Then, use your main domain to create URLs that concisely identify your pages. Take our pet grooming example:
The need for speed – Make sure your hosting is up to the task. Google found that 53 percent of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. If visitors are bouncing due to page load time, it could impact your site’s ranking and ultimately impact sales.
Make it mobile – Part of that speed is making sure your website is optimized for mobile. In 2020 it’s hard to believe we’re still talking about this, but here we are. With 63 percent of Google’s US organic search coming from mobile devices, being mobile-optimized is a must.
Text-based is the best base – Crawlers have to be able to get in there and read your site. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw aesthetics out the window, it just means that there has to be some solid text content on your visually stunning website.
Imagine that – Image optimization is often overlooked, but it really shouldn’t be since search engine results pages (SERPs) deliver image results too. Make sure your images include an image name, alt text, are the right file size and are shareable. Image text is a great way to help your SEO and shouldn’t be ignored.
Cultivate good content – With great content comes high SEO ranking. This not only includes your main website pages but also blogs, articles, case studies, videos and more. You should be consistently adding to or updating content on your website.
A match made in heaven
SEO and web design work hand-in-hand when creating a website that tells your story and gets highly ranked during the search. A good content management system can help you organize and update your website while practicing SEO’s best tools. Being on top of optimization doesn’t mean that design has to take a backseat. A good design team will be able to implement SEO into a website that looks great and gives users an outstanding experience. When SEO and web design come together, it’s true love.