Website development and SEO is a task that needs to work together. If it doesn’t you may find yourself with a great website for 1 (you). Each day that I see more websites, I see the most common basic and fundamental aspects of web design and SEO not followed.
Here is a short list of some of the items to look at when your website is being developed to ensure it has a chance in Search Engines to rank for any of your desired key phrases. Naturally, these are items to consider and a professional Web Consultant with SEO experience will be able to reply and implement them accordingly.
- XML Sitemaps
- Friendly URLs
- Simple Design
- Social Media
- Crawleable Menu
- Meta Data
- Good Heading tags
- Fast Loading
There is no reason not to have a sitemap on your website these days, most CMS’ have auto generated sitemap tools. A Sitemap is a way of telling the search engine bot where your pages are and what you’d like looked at. Naturally a search bot will troll through your website but it may hot some snags along the way, this simple tool will exactly show the search bot where to go and what to follow.
Friendly URLs are URLs are ones that have key words and meaningful text in them, some CMS’ don’t rewrite the URLS, and you can have something that looks like this:
as you can see this URL isn’t very meaningful, but it it looked something with key words or page title, then it would be uselful and re-enforce the page’s meaning.
Why complicate your design, your users will be confused and more than likely leave your website rather than wasting time trying to search for their desired item on your website. Having a great layout that works and has a great flow will result in a positive response from your users and also Search Engines.
Linking to social media is important these days, people, with just about everyone on Facebook and/or Twitter, and Twitter being the 2nd biggest search tool (after Google, and yes it beats Bing and Yahoo), providing an easy way to link and share is a normal part of any SEO campaign.
A great looking menu will make your website shine, but if a search engine can’t crawl through it, your pages won’t be catalogued. It’s not good practice to have flash driven menus any more.
Meta Data is the data about data, so we’re telling Search Engines what they are about about to read. Although Google doesn’t use Key Words for search results, other search engines do, and your other meta as in Title and Description are still critical. As for Sitemaps there are tools that will generate descriptions and titles for you based on your content, it’s not ideal, but better than having nothing.
Good Heading tags
Using <H> tags properly to categorise your content will make a difference in your pages searched. Once again search engine bots aren’t intelligent to work out what is what, so telling them is critical. It’s important that images aren’t used for headings.
Content is king. Without content yo have no website. Content includes text, images, videos and audio. Having great original content on your website will yield in great results. It’s worth having proper naming conventions for your images i.e. black-pearl-from-broome.jpg rather than img-009.jpg, you’re telling the search engine what it’s got to deal with, search engine bots don’t have eyes. In addition each media should be using it’s correct tags and utilising TITLE and/or ALT.
Who wants to wait for websites these days? Most CMS’ do have caching tools that will make the experience easier for the user. It’s well known that Google uses website speed as a way to measure it’s results too. So if there are 2 websites of the same value, one loads faster than the other, then the faster one will be ranked higher each time.
The above are some of the aspects that need to be followed for a great SEOCentric website, and using all of the items correctly is what is the art in SEO and Web Design to ensure that Search Engines find your site and have it ranked highly for your desired search key phrases.