Effective SEO and Web Design are the keys to making a website successful. While on-site and off-site optimization is the starting point for most SEO campaigns, this article will discuss several web design factors that directly play into the success of an SEO campaign.

Site Architecture

A website’s site architecture lays the groundwork for how visitors (and search engines) navigate the site. Think of your website as a hierarchy starting with the home page. How many clicks from the home page will it take to get to the deepest page on your site? Generally, if it is more than three, you should restructure your site to make it so. If a page is buried deep in a website, there is a lower likelihood that site visitors and search engines will ever reach them. To improve conversion rates, design the customer journey and the path you would like them to take when visiting your site.

Building Pages For Keyword Focus

With SEO, it is best practice to commit 1-2 keywords to an entire page. This limits the number of keywords a site can really target unless you build out individual pages for each keyword you want to rank for. This is where e-commerce sites have an advantage by creating individual pages for each product with a description and links pointing to it. For businesses in the service industry, many newer websites will simply have a “services” page listing all their services with bullet points. Do not do this. An individual page should be built out for each service you provide.

URL Structure

URLs are an important place to incorporate your target keywords in a way that makes sense. Beyond that, the way you set up the directories in the URL comes into play on how Google organizes your site in its index. You should be organizing all of your dynamic content to fit under relevant category pages, rather than adding posts and pages randomly throughout the site.

Example:

For the site www.examplesite.com, your directory is what comes directly after the .com. If you have a property management business and have several posts about property maintenance, your URL should look like this: www.examplesite.com/maintenance/post-1

Site Map

Submitting a site map is the fastest way to get your website indexed by Google. A site map tells Google how to properly crawl your site. This is especially important for newer websites or websites that post new content frequently. Many website builders now offer a dynamic site map tool that automatically submits to search engines. If yours does not, enlist the help of a web developer to get yours submitted to search engines.SiteMap

Site Speed

One of the newer things Google has been focusing on in its most recent updates is site speed. Site speed is impacted by several factors, so you should consult a web developer to better understand how to best improve your specific website. For SEO, there are a few metrics that Google pays extra attention to.

  • FCP – First Contentful Paint
    • The first contentful paint is essentially how fast a web browser can load the content on your site for the user. For simpler websites, this is typically not an issue. Sites with a higher ratio of CSS and JavaScript to HTML may suffer from a slower FCP speed.
  • Google Crawler Indexing
    • Google’s crawlers comb through billions of webpages to index them. In order to do this, Google prioritizes the fastest loading portions of your websites. 
  • Mobile-Friendliness
    • Now more than ever people are performing web searches from a mobile device. If your website isn’t well suited to smaller screens and inconsistent internet connections Google will penalize you for it. Many website builders will automatically generate a mobile-friendly version of your site, but it is a good idea to investigate it yourself. 
    • It is important to note that with mobile sites, it may seem wise to remove some content in order to speed up the page. Do not. Google indexes the mobile version of a site first, so it is important to include all of your content.

Conversions 

In a perfect world, 100% of the visitors to your website convert into a new lead. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Websites that focus solely on getting the most visitors will fail to get the increase in sales that should be naturally associated with increased visitors. 

Do some research on the average conversion rate for your industry to get a better understanding of where your business ranks. SEO is the path to getting people to your website. It is up to your website to generate leads. Don’t slack on A/B testing and optimizing your website to convert those visitors.

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