Too many people think of web design and SEO (search engine optimization) as entirely separate endeavors. In reality, the two directly impact one another. How you design a site influences its SEO, and effective SEO often requires a good look at your site’s setup.
In the past, when web admins started figuring out how to rank their pages highly on Google’s search results, many started stuffing keywords onto pages like sardines. That was, after all, the main thing Google and other search engines looked for. Over time, though, that has dramatically changed.
Now, Google has identified more than 200 factors it considers when ranking web pages. This evolution has essentially forced SEO and web design to be considered simultaneously when someone is building a website. But never fear – we have the expert insight your site needs to come out on top. Below are some tricks of the web design SEO trade you can use to ensure your target audience finds your site.
Web design is, believe it or not, all about the users who visit your website. Good design has always been important, but Google now gives more weight to the user experience when ranking web pages on its search results. That means effective web design is more crucial than ever.
Below are some upgrades to the user experience that may help your website get onto that coveted front search engine result page.
More than half of internet usage these days is done via mobile devices, and that percentage is only increasing. Ensuring your site is optimized for mobile visitors should be one of the top priorities of any SEO web design service.
If you have experienced visiting a non-mobile-optimized site from your smartphone before, you’ll know that few things are more annoying than frequently zooming in and out as you navigate its various pages.
Creating your website for the smallest device possible in the first place can make it easy to translate essential items of your website into wider-screen versions. Placing an initial priority on creating a well-performing mobile site can save you plenty of time and trouble in the long run.
In other words, start small with your design. Ensure your choices work on mobile before you worry about larger formats. Since the smaller mobile versions of websites are so restrictive, pushing things out into larger display devices is often fairly easy.
The internet has significantly altered the average person’s capacity for patience. Almost half of all mobile internet users will abandon a click if the page takes more than three seconds to load. Those few seconds can leave a lot of money on the table for your business.
Several factors impact site speed, so it’s often wise to connect with a web developer to better understand how to improve your specific website. For SEO purposes, there are a few metrics to which Google pays extra attention.
- Google Crawler Indexing: Google’s crawlers comb through billions of web pages to index them. To do this, Google prioritizes the fastest-loading portions of your websites.
Once you’ve ensured your site’s users won’t be getting headaches when they visit your site, it’s time to get a little more technical.
SEO in web design does need to consider more aspects of a website than just user experience. You’ll also need to make sure you give search engines and the AI they use plenty of information about what your site has to offer.
Title tags indicate to Google and other search engines which keywords you’re looking to feature on any website page. One of the most common errors we at Firestarter SEO see is title tags lacking real intent.
Here’s how to identify title tags for web pages as they show up on Google:
To describe a good title tag, consider a Colorado business specializing in auto parts. A weak title may read as “Home” when it might do better to read as “Specialty Auto Parts – Colorado.” “Specialty Auto Parts – Colorado” is something people will likely search for.
With SEO, it is sometimes best to commit just a handful of keywords to one page. Too many keywords in one space can confuse readers and search engines alike. Instead of going for quantity on a single page, it may be best to create several and focus on just a few words on each.
This is where e-commerce sites have an advantage – many achieve strong SEO by creating individual pages for each product. This technique allows you to target more keywords overall without cluttering your web design.
For businesses in the service industry, it’s common practice to create a “services” page listing all offered services with bullet points. Firestarter does not recommend this practice. An individual page should be built out for each service your business provides to maximize your optimization opportunities.
As you create and refine your site, remember to ensure the organization and hierarchy make sense. A jumbled site map — or no site map at all — will likely cause more harm than good. This is especially true given that submitting a site map is often the fastest way to get your website indexed by Google.
A site map essentially 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. Simpler websites might have a site map similar to the template below:
Don’t Forget to Make the Content Great
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your new website’s design is SEO-friendly is to ensure the actual words are written so engine crawlers can easily read and understand the content.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a hierarchy of headings. For instance, you want to make sure that the main heading (in most cases, the title) is an H1. From then on, each heading should be broken down into H2s, H3s, etc. In doing so, crawlers can better comprehend the content it’s reading.
Your website could be the most aesthetically pleasing in your field. It can have all the best title tags, alt-text snippets, and URL structures.
But if users don’t want to spend time on your website because they aren’t led to a solution for their problem, you won’t find much success.
SEO-friendly web design is a must-have for any business owner who wants a positive ROI from their web presence. You might think that getting a website as fast as possible is a priority. It is, but not at the expense of a thoughtful, ground-up strategy for maximizing SEO.
Gone are the days of siloing these two important parts of website creation and maintenance. Having a knowledge of SEO for web designers is important, but that’s just one piece of the larger puzzle.
Firestarter is an award-winning Denver SEO agency that has helped business owners get tangible results. Interested in rethinking your SEO web design strategies? Let’s talk and discover what solutions might work for you.