Most people, regardless of why they have a website, want to have traffic driven through it. It is therefore imperative that even during the early stages, you design your website to be SEO-friendly. Without this, any business or leisure website is going to struggle to succeed. Listed below are some things to consider when thinking about designing an SEO-friendly website:
It is important to use keywords properly and in the right places. If the keywords you are using are wrong, it might prove very hard for search engines (and subsequently, any potential customers) to find you. Before starting to design and build the website, ascertain what you are going to use it for and what type of customers (including their location) you are expecting to attract. Figure out which keywords are applicable to what you are offering. Then, narrow down the list by carrying out viable and thorough research. Ideally, by the end of it, you will have around 3-4 keywords for each page.
You need to consider carefully where you are going to place the keywords and the following are just some of the recommended spots:
- In the URLs
- Title tag
- Internal links
Speed and performance
Speed is very important when trying to improve your website’s SEO. Keep an eye out for any pages that are loading slowly or are taking a long time to open.
With regards to images on your website, try to keep them as small as possible. Larger images take longer to load, which is very frustrating for someone with slower internet speed. Having faster loading times will also maximise search engine visibility. Make sure that you use text with any image you provide, this will give you a better ranking.
Search engine friendly navigation
This means designing and developing a website that search engines can easily crawl. For example, it is better to use CSS for you navigation links than images because that way web crawlers find relevant text and not just an image.
The way your URL is structured is very important because it can have an effect on how a search engine ranks your pages. URLs should be kept short and user-friendly. Use hyphens to separate words and although you should use keywords that are relevant, try not to use too many.
Meta tags supply search engines with important information:
Meta description tags: these tags basically give a short description of the page content. This description is used in the SERPs underneath your web page’s title. The meta tag is like an advertisement for your website and so it is important that you choose your words carefully, have well-thought out content and don’t use too many words.
Meta robot tags: these tags are used to signal to search engines to advise how you would like them to access your website. You have the option to signal to a search engine that you do not want a particular link or page to be followed (but bear in mind that the default is that every link or page will be followed until indicated otherwise).