Building an aesthetically appealing website is important, but if you’re not getting any visibility in the search engines there won’t be many people seeing it! Considering the sheer quantity of consumers online, SEO is a must for most businesses, constituting one of the most viable modern marketing tools. Through the following design practices you can ensure your site is going to be set in good stead for sustained online visibility. Below is Search Factory’s top tips for creating an SEO friendly site.
Search engines need to understand, identify and draw meaning from a URL’s structure. Considering they use automated software and not humans to index websites, having them designed to be SEO friendly facilitates visibility. A prime culprit for the generation of overly dynamic URL’s is a Content Management System with the generation set to default. Take these two examples:
The first URL is dynamic; alien not only to the engines, but human as well. The second is static and comprehensible, ultimately aiding the search engines efforts to find and index the pages on your site.
Keywords in meta data
Meta data should be viewed as a means of telling Google what your site is about. It can’t read a webpage exactly the same as you or I, so it crawls the data looking for patterns (keywords) to give it an indication of the context. As such, using the wrong keywords in Meta data and website content can be a costly error for any SEO campaign. Before building a site it’s important to consider your business objectives and research the terms people are using to find the service/product you provide. These will be your target keywords.
Then, to present your site in the most efficient manner, you need to naturally integrate the keywords into the following areas (without overdoing it!):
- H1, H2 & H3 Tags
- Title Tags
- Breadcrumb Trails
- Alt Text
- Meta Descriptions
- Website Copy
Images are often viewed as less of a priority than text, but Google do pay considerable attention to them. They can’t see a picture, so you need to ensure you’ve taken the necessary steps to optimize the images on your website, such as;
- Alternative (alt) text, which allows you to include a keyword in the description.
- Ensuring the file size is as small as possible.
- Make the text around the images relevant. Google rewards consistency in content.
- Store images inside folders with relevant names, this will ensure the URL ends in something sensical eg. /images
Make sure an XML sitemap is implanted on your site AS WELL as a HTML sitemap. This will provide a structure to your URL’s that allows Search Engines to find and index the content more easily. If you’re using a CMS, simply install the relevant plugin.
Integrate social media
Social media provides a multitude of benefits not only for SEO campaigns, but branding, interactions, exposure and building credence. If your content is found, shared and linked to by lots of people, it’s an indication to the engines you’re providing something of value. To reap the benefits, add not only social sharing buttons to posts and pages, but social sharing functionality. This removes the step of physically going to a social media platform and interacting with the brand, automating the entire process. Most popular CMS’ will have simple plugins allowing you to easily integrate social sharing functionality.