Why SEO is Essential to your Web Design
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the term given to the methods taken to power your website’s visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank on SERPs, the more traffic driven to your website.
Whether it is for ecommerce or informational purposes, your website has a huge job to do. It must get in front of prospective customers, engage them, and then convert them. In spite of a fabulous and flashy website, unless Google is able to crawl it for relevance and index content successfully, you’ll find yourself ranked far below your competitors who made search engine optimisation a priority in their web design.
If you are established in your business, or a start-up looking to build an online reputation, we want to share some important points to consider when optimising your website.
Mobile Friendly Design
Mobile-first web design is not just the future – it is the now. Every website we deliver is mobile-friendly in its design. It is one of the most important parts of SEO, considering reports at the latter end of 2017 showed that almost 75% of internet searches take place on a mobile device. For this reason, Google has also announced their Mobile First Index which will index and rank the content on mobile sites before the desktop version. Therefore, it is imperative that the content on the mobile version of your website is optimised.
Site Navigation and Usability
Web design that prioritises easy navigation gets a big thumbs up, not only from the Google search algorithms, but also from your prospective customers. More than just the menu bar at the top of a website, site navigation is how you signal to the user where their attention should be. Web design with excessive use of animation, cluttered content, and too many options will impact the site navigation and user experience. A well-structured navigation will encourage website visitors to click through various pages of your site, increasing time spent on the site, and reducing bounce rate. By improving these metrics, Google will view your website as a relevant and trusted service, thus helping to increase your rankings. Again, the ease with which Google can crawl various pages of the site and content is aided by a clean site map and structured navigation.
Those of us with even the smallest knowledge of SEO will probably be aware that keywords are an important component to page content optimisation. The practice of sourcing keywords is different for new websites and those that have been in Google’s index for some time. With a website that has been live for a while, the Google Search Console tool can produce a report showing from what word or word combinations each impression and click comes from. You can then take the less obvious yet relevant keywords to optimise your content around. Where a website is new, keywords can be found using the Google auto-suggest tool within the search bar which may present us with potential keyword trends. Similarly, the suggestions list towards the bottom of the SERPs provides suggestions that relate to the initial search. Common sense can conjure keywords by simply understanding the potential audience and including relevant locations.
The stereotypically poor website content is condensed with keywords and clunky sentences that rather than projecting what your business does, make for a frustrating and negative user experience. It can also be considered as spam by Google and could cause your site to be penalised by pushing it down the page rankings. Keyword inclusion should feel natural in the text. Of course as your business evolves, it is essential that your SEO campaign evolves alongside it to ensure optimum reach and visibility.
Google is the ultimate source of power in the search engines, but that doesn’t mean to say it is all-knowing. Google needs to be made aware of your website’s existence – this does not happen automatically. Without knowledge of a site’s presence, the search engine may not be able to recognise it for page rankings at all. Without a ranking, how can you hope for traffic?
Whilst a web designer will know this, it is not common knowledge to those of us working outside of the industry. The process by which your website and its pages are made known by Google is called Indexing, and is a vital part of the web design process. Once the site is published and verified with Google Search Console, new pages and blog posts must be submitted for indexing.
When SEO is Missing in Web Design
All too often, SEO is an afterthought to start-ups and small businesses that are not necessarily clued up on the essentials of web design. Where a reliable web design agency will ensure SEO is maximised throughout the design process, a lazy web developer may offer a website for £99 to trap the newcomers, but will unlikely have your website ever reaching page one in the search rankings. Whilst you cannot expect to be on page one for relevant search queries as soon as your website goes live, your chosen web design agency should be able to explain and bring you up to speed on the SEO they have implemented. When choosing a web designer for your company website, SEO is a crucial question to put to an agency.
With Google frequently updating its search ranking algorithms in an effort to best suit the user’s search requests, regular updates need to be made to your website’s SEO. There are many ranking factors to consider when optimising a website. Our audits include feedback on your Website's optimisation as well as its design. Get in touch for a free consultation.