Whether you’ve just commissioned the build of your first website or are planning a site migration complete with redesign, considering SEO factors from the get go will help your traffic. If you want your site to be found, then it needs be optimized for search engines and you can read our recent post for more information of the importance of SEO and for Google’s views on the matter.
Here at High Impact, we consult on a lot of website builds, working alongside designers and developers to ensure the technical foundations are in place for SEO success. We also work with clients who have had their sites up and running for some time and have been under the impression SEO would automatically be factored into the build of their site. These clients are unhappy to find out there are a number of on-site fixes that need to be carried out.
So, how can you ensure your site is optimized for search engines? There are many extremely capable agencies and individuals out there who can and do build sites with SEO in mind, and of course there’s also the option of asking an SEO agency to provide advice too. Whichever option you go with, this post should hopefully give you the start of a checklist of things that need to be addressed as well as an idea of why SEO and design can and should go hand in hand.
Why does your website build need to consider SEO?
Factoring SEO into your website construction gives you a solid platform on which to build traffic because an optimised site considers the user as well as search engines. URL structures, internal linking, robot txt and how onsite copy elements such as titles, h1s and meta descriptions will be formed and all need to be considered as essentials within the build. Your aim is to put in place a solid site framework that’s easy for site visitors to navigate and easy for Google to read too. This means you may also want to think beyond these basics and consider elements such as facets, local target pages and an onsite search box. All of these have the potential to help your user and can benefit your SEO too – either by signalling to Google that pages are relevant or giving you extra added data that you can factor into future campaigns.
Is it only ecommerce sites that should be designed with SEO in mind?
You might think SEO would be a minor consideration for a site that doesn’t sell products or provide a service but it is imperative to factor SEO with any site should the objective be that it is found. Traffic is equally important on websites that drive enquiries and sell products, so SEO and design really need to work together to drive visitors to the right pages and persuade them to act.
For other types of sites such as online publications and blogs, SEO can help provide all-important traffic, visits and page views that influence ad sales and can also give solid data should you consider selling your site at any point. With this in mind, it’s hard to justify ignoring SEO on the design and build of any site.
Why does website design affect SEO?
When considering the impact of site design and build on SEO, it’s easy to get caught up thinking about all of the technical basics we’ve outlined. In reality, good design is just as essential for SEO success as site build and the ‘offsite SEO’ or specifically, linkbuilding. Online, people are just as likely to judge a book by its cover as they are off, and it’s people who decide whether to link one site to another. Having an attractive site that functions well counts in your favour when it comes to persuading people to link to it, after all, if Google considers a link to be a vote for your site, what type of sites would vote for yours if the design and content aren’t linkworthy? As well as general aesthetics and relevant and informative content you’ll need to think about load speed too. You should view your site in the eyes of users as well as search engines to help traffic to convert, webmasters to link and Google to gather the information it needs. Once your new site is up and running don’t forget to assess its performance – you don’t want a redesign to negatively impact it – so if you notice a drop in traffic it’s worth checking all the on site basics are still in place.
A note on redesign and site migration
In the wake of algorithm updates and penalties some businesses are opting to migrate, rebuild and rebrand. While this is an extreme course of action it is one that offers the opportunity to address any previous build issues as well as improving attention to detail when it comes to putting in redirects. This is an important topical subject that deserves a post in its own right, so for now we’ll just state the obvious and say an SEO experts input is very valuable during this time as they will tell you what to preserve, amend and re-signpost.
The importance of site design and SEO and their impact on one another cannot be underestimated as they are the key ways to gain an edge over your competitors, and when it comes to winning trust and loyalty from customers, the cheapest option doesn’t always win.
We’re happy to consult on site design projects and migrations too, so if you’d like to discuss future plans for your site, get in touch on 01202 237121.