Running a website has three distinct feelings involved for a beginner. They are: Dread as you feel that starting a website is beyond your capabilities, accomplishment when you understand how to make a site, and back to dread as you realise that you created the site that you want, but it is not designed with SEO in mind. That’s why this article is going to give you a head start with some SEO friendly website design tips.
The main problem that you will face is that there are nearly 2 billion websites available for people to view. That is nearly 2 billion that you have to compete with. While you may have a visually appealing site, it is no use if no one knows it exists.
SEO Friendly Website Design Tips
When you hear “website design,” what do you think of? Most people will think about how the website looks. However, there are more aspects to the design than visual appearance. You need to keep this in mind when you are planning your website and implementing tips to increase your visibility.
Responsiveness is so important that you will receive notification emails from Google Search Console to alert you of any mobile issues that you have. 2017 was the first year that mobile internet use passed 50%, and that is not going to change. More and more people are using mobile devices, so it is naïve of us to only cater to desktop users because that is what we use to create the sites.
Responsive designs will allow people to view your website on whatever devices that they have; desktop, laptop, tablets, phones, etc. Remember that bounce rate is a huge factor in SEO. If more than 50% of your visitors leave because they cannot view your site, that is going to show the search engines that people do not want to see your website.
However, the people who found your website in the first place still want the information that they were looking for. That means that they will go back to the Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs) and go to one of your competitors, showing the search engines that they are better than you and should be ranked higher. The more that happens, the further down the results you go.
Clean Theme Design
This point goes almost hand in hand with the responsiveness. The better the theme, the more responsive it will be. However, having an overloaded theme will slow your site down tremendously, and that too will increase your bounce rate. As we mentioned in the article; How SEO helps businesses, we explain how page loading times will affect your SEO.
Sorry Arngren, we just can’t see the appeal.
The theme that you use is something that you need to consider as soon as you start your website. There are many times that you will see people creating beautiful websites using page builders for every page, on heavy themes because they look nice. Yes, they do look nice, but they can also slow your site down so much that people will not want to wait.
Again, within the responsiveness and clean theme, navigation plays a huge part in SEO. We would have entitled this header “User Experience,” but navigation plays a role for both people and search engine crawlers. Navigation is not only the menu, either. However, that does play a huge part. If you can find what you are looking for easily, you are likely to stay on the site and look for additional information. If you can not work out the menu structure, you are not going to find what you want.
Furthermore, internal linking will help your visitors and search engines find relevant content within your site and stop you from rewriting the same content on multiple pages/posts. As you can see in our theme section above; instead of writing the page load time information again, we have linked to another resource where we have gone into more detail.
There are a few fundamental practices that you need to follow with internal linking, such as relevancy and anchors. We will write an article on that in the future and link it here.
SEO Friendly Website Design Tips – Heading Tags
Our list of SEO Friendly Website Design Tips needs to include user experience in more ways than one. One of the more important tips, is to use header tags correctly. Firstly, headers are used to explain what the section of text is about. For example, if you have landed on this post looking for tips, you may want to scroll through the post to see if there are any idea you can use. If this was a wall of text, it would be useless to you, or at least very difficult to read and digest.
Headers show search engines what your content is about and what you would like to rank for, and allows your audience to find the sections that they need. Many people have different views on how to use H-tags, and the overall decision is yours. However, the way that we use them are as follows:
- H1 – Title only. (The Top 9 SEO Friendly Website Design Tips)
- H2 – Main subheading and Conclusion. (SEO Friendly Website Design Tips)
- H3 – Individual points within the main subheading. (Heading Tags, etc.)
If you are creating a page with more main subheadings (H2), you can add H4 tags at the end of each if the main subheadings do not overlap. But this point continues in the keyword section.
Use SEO Friendly Keywords
Designing a website that is SEO friendly requires planning. There is no point in just writing content based on anything that pops into your head. You need to consider what people want to know and what terms they use to find that information. Having a gym website and not having keywords such as “monthly gym membership” is like letting your customers pass your doors because you have a closed sign up.
Furthermore, they need to be relevant to your own services. Search engines can detect the use of keywords on all of your pages, and understand how/if they are relevant. Confusing them by using terms such as “the best family car” and “gym membership” together will tell them that you are a general website with no authority in the niche you want to be an authority in.
While there are free keyword tools such as Keywordtool.io, they often give you limited information and require a subscription for more detailed metrics. Getting professional SEO help can be a real benefit in this area.
Keep Content Current
Content is King, Queen, and everything else in the world of SEO. Having a list of keywords and nothing else is going to affect your websites ranking in a negative way. Firstly, your visitors are not going to be engaged, you are not telling them anything, and you are not providing any value. Secondly, search engines know that you are “keyword stuffing.”
Keeping your content up to date about your industry and services shows both visitors and search engines that you understand your niche, and that you are trying to offer valuable information, not just trying to get leads. A blog is a great way to show your visitors and search engines that you know what you are talking about. Furthermore, they allow you to easily increase the number of keywords that your site has.
SEO Friendly URLs
Something that many people overlook is the URL of each page/post. Edgehill University has provided a great description of bad URLs if you want to take a look. However, the basic principle is, it should be short, to the point, and have some of the primary keywords in there.
For example, the URL of this post is https://www.rockstarmarketing.co.uk/top-9-seo-freindly-website-design-tips. If we had not changed that URL from the default, it would have been /?p=1254.
The way we have written it ourselves is easier for you and search engines to understand what this post is about as soon as you see it. /?p=1254 tells you nothing about the post, and looks very messy.
Do Not Forget Meta Descriptions and Titles
When you search for something on the internet, all you see is the meta title and description. It is those two sections that prompt people to either click on your website or scroll past it looking for a better alternative. This is a tricky bit to get right, though. As an example, if someone is looking for website tips for SEO, we can add that into the metas. However, if someone only wants to find how to use SEO friendly URLs, we would need to put that into the metas instead.
The problem with that is you are likely to decrease your traffic by being too specific. But you will also lose some traffic by being too broad, too. You are better to explain what the visitor should expect from your page in a captivating manner.
SEO Friendly Images
Stock photo sites are wonderful for adding images to your site. However, some sites allow you to download images that are incredibly huge (4000x6000px and more).
That image above is 2.73MB (as downloaded at the original size). That doesn’t sound like a lot in the world of 512GB mobile phones. However, your Content Management System has to serve that image to every user of your site. If you have a website with only ten images that size, you expect your CMS and hosting provider to show a quarter of a gigabyte. That takes you back to website speed.
While image size is significant, the description is as important. Search engines are not advanced enough to understand what an image is of. That means you need to tell them what they are and how they relate to your page. For example, the alt text of the image above is “SEO Tips – Optimise images.” That shows the visitor and search engines what the image is explaining.
While this article has focused on nine of the top SEO friendly design tips, there are more that you will need to focus on when you have completed these. However, these nine are certainly the best places to start. Some other things that you can do will help your SEO strategy even more, but you may need some professional advice.
If you would like to see how we can help you get the most out of your website design, contact us.