6 Tips For Designing an SEO Friendly Website

It’s not enough these days to design a beautiful, functional website that addresses your clients needs. If you truly want your client to reap the benefits of having an online presence, then SEO is a necessity. Search Engine Optimization is a method of improving the visibility of a website in search engines through organic search results, and is now a viable online marketing tool for a lot of businesses.

Through the following design practices you can improve a website’s SEO and ultimately their visibility. With these foundations in place, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing the website you spent hours designing (and developing) is now a top contender for search engine visibility. You may also find some of these tactics also go far in improving user experience as well.

Keywords

Keywords are an important part of any search engine optimization campaign. If you’re using the wrong keywords, search engines and your target market may never find you. It’s important when starting a website to first establish what the business objectives are. Do you want to target a local area, national or global? With this plan in place you can then build pages that target these specific keywords, or decide where these pages may go down the line once the foundation is built.

The process of creating
1. Create a list of potential keywords (i.e. words that are relevant but not overly used)
2. Input your proposed keywords into a keyword research tool (i.e. Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Wordstream, etc)
3. Finalize your keyword list based on research (Create a list of both broad and targeted keywords)
4. Prepare them for launch (typically go after 3-4 related keywords per page)

 

Keyword Placement

For a website to successfully integrate into Google you first must tell us what a particular page is about. It’s important to get keywords on the right position on the page, but don’t overdo it. Here are the best places:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description and keywords
  • Website slogans
  • Navigation
  • Breadcrumb trails
  • H1, H2 and H3 tags
  • Bullet points
  • Alt text
  • Title attribute on links
  • The main website copy
  • Internal links
  • Footer links
  • URL’s
  • File / folder names

Search Engine Friendly Navigation

Having Search Engine Friendly Navigation basically means creating a structure that search engines can follow. A major culprit in search engines not being able to find a website is due to the links being images instead of text. So make sure you address this and all links and buttons are text-based. CSS3 can achieve the same effects that Photoshop can, which has contributed a lot in terms of modernizing the web and speeding up load times. Wherever possible, try to avoid the use of JavaScript, as search engines find it difficult to understand and may result in crawling issues. With the push towards mobile devices supporting the web, using advanced scripting languages on your website won’t fly so well, either.

URL’s and Filenames

Having an SEO-friendly URL means search engines can quickly identify what a page is about. It’s also a good tactic to include keywords in the URL as this increases Search Engine visibility.

An example of a not too friendly URL:

A better, more descriptive URL would be:

As you can see, the second option has a better selection of rich keywords, which will help the search engine in their efforts to index you.

It’s also a good habit to name your images using descriptive keywords. An appropriate file name can be the difference between your image appearing in Google images searches or not. For instance the name “1234.jpg” isn’t going to be as successful as “midcentury-furniture.jpg” when someone is looking for design inspiration.

Website Images

  • Images are often an overlooked aspect of SEO, but play just as an important role in the process.
  • You need to optimize your images to achieve faster loading times and subsequent search engine visibility.
  • Try to keep your images’ file size as small as possible so mobile visitors in addition to those with slow internet connections can get the same intended, fast experience.
  • An optimal image size is anywhere from 30-100kb and the best resolution is 72dpi.
  • You can also set the image size as part of the corresponding tag for the image.
  • It’s best to place your images on context in the page. The more relevant the text around your image, the better results you’ll get for rankings.
  • Place your images inside a folder named “images” or something similar so the final URL of the image looks something like this: /images/image.jpg.

Perfect Website Optimization explains how to incorporate keywords into your alt tag.

Social Media

Social Media should be part of your SEO strategy as building relationships and interacting with connections can help build your brand enormously. Not only that but it gives you exposure and helps build a trusted community and gain credibility.
Link building is perhaps the number one reason to jump on board the Social Media bandwagon: the process of visitors sharing links within their own network can result in a large number of inbound links. In summary, social media can provide an organization with an affordable channel that accomplishes results.

Get started by joining:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg

Additional Resources

This guide by Google is a very helpful guide in learning about SEO.

55 Quick Seo Tips Even Your Mother Would Love.

Monitor where you stand with Google Toolbar and Alexa.

Conclusion

These are a few important ways to ensure your website reaches visibility in search engines. Although there are methods in place claiming you can reach the top spot in Google overnight, nothing is as effective as first having a solid foundation for a website in place first – the rest will fall into place. Of course, nothing can help you sell yourself as much as having a trusted, reliable product or service to begin with but with these measures ensure your online presence is seen. Take inventory of your web marketing goals and use the tools that are most appropriate to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Stephanie

15 Smart Tools To Help You Build Your Freelance Business

Discover the awesome tools we use in making our clients comfortable and happy in learning new things every day.

Download Now

Comments

  1. abhi says

    Nice to read this post till now i have read many posts regarding seo but i didn’t find such a crystal clear explanation. Excellent work. Please write post on off page optimization in brief way. Keep up

  2. says

    Hello Stephanie,
    One of my friend shared this article link with me. I read it and I was feel very Lucky that I get chance to read such a Beautiful, Precise article on SEO. I love it!!! Great Work !! Keep it up!!!

    Thanks,
    Vijay P.

  3. Alex says

    Great article Stephanie! Thank you! I really believe that optimizing the permalink structure is one of the most important steps for building good SEO.

  4. Richard says

    Actual quality of content is another point.

    Google have been cracking down on the “black hat” strategies which sites use to climb the rankings.

    If a search engine thinks your strategy is stuffed with keywords, full of hidden text or using some other unethical practice, your first page positions can soon go. Worse still, you could see your domain name banned from the search engine…

  5. Hannah says

    Great overview. So many people completely neglect the online marketing aspect of their site when they are in the design/production phase. It really does need to be at the heart of the process from the off.

  6. Elaine Jones says

    Stephanie great article, thank you for sharing. One of my favourite SEO books that has some great tips and tricks is the “The Art of SEO”.

  7. Norbert says

    Very detail and easy discussion! Essential help for any newbie like me :)

  8. says

    Hi there,

    I love this article very much. Thanks for sharing those advices. Few months ago I added on a wordpress blog 1 picture to each article as there weren’t any pictures before. Now I have lots of traffic from the image search via google. It’s just amazing what can happen if you adjust a little “screw” in the whole SEO thing.

    I really enjoyed reading this, a lot!

    Thank you and have a great one. Cheers from Germany,
    Tobias

  9. says

    Nice easy to understand article.

    One comment on keywords in titles and headings – it’s beneficial to have the most important keywords/phrase at the beginning.

  10. Tom Ross says

    Great article Stephanie, I always need a little reminder about some of these points (especially alt tags on images!)

  11. Michael Francis says

    Great article. This helps to explain SEO to people who are NOT designers as well, and why it is as important a service as web design.

  12. Mario Francis says

    This is a great article. Easy to understand for those who are NOT designers as well. Now they will know exactly what we mean by SEO, and why it is a valuable service we provide in addition to web design.

  13. Stanley says

    If you see an image you like, try to make your own…if you see an interesting layout, try to use it as a reference. This way you’ll have a fresh, original site instead of a page full of backgrounds, animations and javascript functions from an overused library…and your site will stand out from the rest.

  14. says

    A nice checklist =) speaking of on-page optimization Title tag is really important and well written Meta description can influence the click through rate on search engine result pages. Anyways some SEO flaws can be compensated by a stunning web design as it’s an organic link bait =) just take some time to upload your site to web design showcase sites =)

  15. enursa says

    Wow. nice tips. I agree with you. Keyword is the main factor to build the site.

  16. Chris says

    Thanks the a well written article covering some great SEO territory. I especially appreciate the discussion about Keyword research and tools. Very good advice right up front – thanks!

  17. Geoffrey says

    Very valid and useful points! SEO is a taunting task if your are new to the subject. There is so much to understand and leanr. I think your 6 points are a very good place to start when trying to understand SEO.

  18. Pratt says

    I am impressed with this article. I’m just starting to get into SEO and Internet Marketing. There is soooooo much trial and error involved. I’ve been trying out a lot of methods. I’ve have found that wordpress is wonderful for me. Many of the plug-ins available have taken the guess work out of creating a site. It’s very easy.

    • says

      Brilliant read! Helped me a lot with the alt tagand Urls (till now I had the y?=131313 things in the end) . You can benefit from Social Media if you know how to make friends. Also you can’t miss the Alexa and Google ranking, they are crucial for your site visibility.