When it comes to digital marketing, which do you think is your biggest asset?
Your website; the center of all your digital marketing efforts.
I mean, which is your virtual storefront? What’s your virtual salesperson? YOUR WEBSITE.
And how you develop and design it to look can be compared with how well you’ve done the interior of your store, and how well of a salesperson you’ve hired that’s really good at selling (because the design will sell).
See it’s a no-brainer that you have to develop a beautiful and functional website to skyrocket your business. But what when it comes to SEO?
Many people fail to get the concept that SEO is something that needs to be in the back of the brain right from the beginning of developing your online presence, or website.
They think it to be a band-aid, that they would use to fix the scars left after the website development and design process. It’s not. It’s something that needs to be thought about right from the beginning, when you start to plan the website.
In today’s article, we’ll be looking at why Web Design and SEO go hand-in-hand and how we can design a website to be SEO-friendly right off the bat. –
Difference Between Web Development & Web Design
So, what’s web development, and what’s web design? Are they the same?
Not really, but they are 2 steps to the same goal: building a website.
If I put it very simply, web development is more of the technical stuff, coding, hosting, and all that stuff, that builds the skeleton of the website.
Whereas, web design is more about designing the user experience which includes the look of the website, color and theme, font, navigation, button placement, and all that things. It can be compared to putting on flesh and skin to the skeleton that web development has built, and the process of crafting it beautifully for a better outer appearance and functionality.
Now, SEO can be implemented in both steps, but web design has more need of it and offers more scope of implementing so. In this article, we’ll be referring to those as a whole to be the process of building a website and talk SEO.
Why is the SEO Perspective Crucial for Web Designing?
Here’s how SEO and Web design (also development) collaborate:
1. Building Mobile-Friendly Website
When you’re building out a new website, you want to build it to be Mobile-Friendly. Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor back in 2015, but many of the websites haven’t caught up yet and still not friendly for mobile devices.
That could bring a massive hit to them (and probably already have). That‘s because searches from Desktop devices are decreasing while searches from mobile devices are increasing rapidly and more than half of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices now.
So by being not mobile-friendly, they’re giving up on half of their users and it has a further impact.
Google notices this; Google notices that half of your users are not getting value from your website and they’ll rank you way lower, than they used to be. If those webmasters had considered this particular aspect, that they’d give up on rankings too, they probably would do otherwise and make their website mobile-friendly.
2. Readiness-Friendly Design
Have you ever visited any of those websites, where you find literally walls of boring text without a break and visual, as long as the great wall of china?
Or any of those websites where the background color literally flashed your eyes? Or those where ash-colored texts are written on a dark background?
Did you like any of those? Or got the information that you were looking for? Yeah, me neither.
Making your content easy to read is one of the crucial aspects of web designing. Use of negative space (white space), line spacing, choice of font, the contrast between background and text, etc. are important considerations in the process.
If one can’t read your website easily and get the information that they were looking for, what’s the point anyways?
And how’s that related to SEO, you ask?
Bounce rate. The bounce rate of such poorly designed websites where reading literally takes effort, is so high.
And that, is a negative when it comes to ranking. Google takes a high bounce rate as in the website is not providing the value to the visitor, and they don’t like it.
You’ll be ranked lower for the same searches from next time onwards.
We all hate a slow website, don’t we? I mean, we initially check our internet, but when we understand the website itself is slow, what do we do? Leave.
Let me tell you a fact. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, more than half of your users are likely to abandon it. How terrifying does that sound?
Now, that’s not all. If you thought that you’d get the other half at least, that might not be the case after a few days if your website stays slow.
Because Google, also does not appreciate slow websites, and considers the speed before determining a position for you in the SERP for all the queries where you relate to. So it’s likely that you’ll be ranking lower for most of the queries that you didn’t use to rank so low for.
So the size of your remaining other half of the audience, is going to shrink as well.
Now, all of that could happen because of a poorly developed and designed website. If your website coding (or CMS) is not done right, it could slow your website down.
If your website isn’t designed keeping speed in mind (too large images, too heavy webpage, etc.), it could also slow your website down.
So you just have to get website speed done right through proper web development and design to not annoy away your users and to not lose SERP position.
How To Develop an SEO-Friendly Website Right Off The Bat?
Now’s the time to answer the big question – How do I develop my website to be SEO-friendly from the get-go so I don’t have to regret something later?
We’ll get into that, but here’s a heads up before that – Before your start to build up your website, you want to have a plan first: What you want to build it for; How you’re going to achieve that goal; Key value proposition and so on things.
To put simply, you need to be clear in thoughts regarding it which will help you take decision easier in the process later on.
Heads up done, here’s the real deal.
To start your website, you first need to buy your –
To get benefits in ranking, you want to buy a domain that’s relevant to your concern, in sense, and also word-wise if possible.
I mean it’s a no-brainer (or is it) that you need to go with a domain that makes sense and relates to your concern because that’s what your users will like, but Google also appreciates that.
If you have other domains than the primary one, you want to ensure that all of those points to the main website (also do the same for the subdomains). This will pass the juice where you want it to be.
Hosting in SEO? How’re they related?
Remember page speed as a ranking factor? That’s how. A superfast hosting will ensure superfast loading of web pages.
Also, other factors are there too. SUch as location – your hosting should ideally be serving your website from where most of your users are located.
If you’re a UK-based website, choosing a hosting that can serve you from a UK-based server will help improve the performance, and also could send a minor signal to Google that you actually are UK-based and you might get priority in this concern.
CMS or Content Management System
CMS has made life a lot more easier. Now you don’t have to code a lot to build a website, rather you could use a CMS where the coding is already done. Someone with zero knowledge of coding can build a website with CMS.
But, there are a few options here and it’s important you choose carefully. You want to choose one that’s user-friendly and the technical things are done right from the perspective of Technical SEO.
For most people, WordPress is without any doubt, the best CMS.
If Google can’t crawl your site properly, it doesn’t thoroughly know what you do on your website. So it’s a very crucial step in the SEO web development process that you make sure your website is easily crawlable by Google bots.
You want to do sensible and logical interlinking on your website to help the bot jump from one page to another. You need to take care of any 404 errors and broken links so that the bot doesn’t get stuck in its path.
If your website is not crawling-friendly, Google will be in the dark of many of your pages, and they simply won’t know what it’s all about and therefore those won’t rank well.
Many of your pages might not get indexed at all, which will hurt the SEO performance of the site quite brutally.
How your structure your website, is important, to both your users and the search engines.
Your website might have numerous pages. But structure them properly and in a sensible way, they’ll be effortless to find.
Say you run a car repair business and you provide a ton of services regarding cars. If you want to keep all of those pages in the main navigation bar, that’ll be a mess.
You could do this rather:
– – Washing and Polishing
– – – Car Wash
– – – Car Polish
This way, it’ll make a lot of sense and be effortless for the users to find their desired service, and they’ll like that.
And what users like, Google likes too.
Your URL should make sense as well, because context is further pointed towards by URL. A sensible URL provides yet more context to both humans and search engines.
All, your URL structure is a ranking factor and what you write inside the URL, sends a strong signal to Google to understand what that page is all about.
So if you can insert your keyword in the URL, that’ll work in favor of you to get a better rank and will further assure the reader that they’re on the correct page.
Take this for example:
Which one makes more sense? The latter one, and it also has the keyword for ‘car wash service in ABC location’, so it’ll help to get a better ranking as well.
For a bottom line, if everything regarding building a proper website structure is executed properly, a user and a search engine should have a pretty good idea of your website and a webpage on it before they even have a good look at it.
And that’ll lay a solid foundation for you to do your typical SEO practice on them to get lucrative ranks.
Now, there’s more. If we were to discuss every nook and cranny of it, this will be a multiple-hour read, and grasping that much information in one go seems a little too overwhelming.
Developing a website is still not the easiest task and on top of that, ensuring SEO is checked in every step makes it even more daunting.
Probably that’s why, I’ve seen many businesses prefer to leave this task to the experts and hire agencies.
If you’re willing to walk in the same path, there’s one task you can’t avoid and can’t sit assured assigning that to somebody else – that is, hiring a web design agency that’ll pull the job off.
This is going to be a major determining factor of how successful your website is going to be in its assigned goal. Would you like a hand taking such an important decision?
How to Hire an Agency for Proper SEO Web Design?
You want to have a checklist here. A checklist of the agencies’ capabilities to tick certain boxes. An agency need to be capable at these things –
Obvious. Does the agency understand SEO?
That’s the very first question you want to ask. Because if it doesn’t understand SEO, there’s no way it can implement that into web design.
And just understanding the basics isn’t enough. To pull off the job successfully, it requires way more than that. I’ll always prefer agencies that feature SEO experts in them or provide separate SEO services as well.
This way it’ll be ensured that there’s always an SEO expert looking over the designers’ shoulder and making sure SEO is done right in every step.
Make sure the agency is good at developing not only search engine-friendly websites, but also making them user-friendly, because users matter the most.
The agency needs to understand the core concepts that go into creating a great user experience. And it isn’t all about making a website look good, it’s much more than that.
A website could look great and still deliver a terrible user experience, so don’t get fooled. And that’s where veteran design agencies differentiate themselves from novice ones.
They know how to design a website that’ll not only look attractive, but satisfies the needs of the user with minimum required effort, and make them have a great time on your website.
You want to hire one just like that.
Conversion Rate Optimization
It’s very crucial for your business. Your agency needs to be top-notch at converting as many users as possible. Because that’s what is going to earn you sales, leads, or whatever your concern is.
Your web design agency needs to know the ins and out and the best practices for conversion rate optimization. That could be the placement of a call-to-action button or image or form, choosing the color gamut, and whatnot.
If they do a good job at this, you’ll get the maximum value out of your visitors.
And Obviously, Development and Design
Imagine the agency ticked every other box, but failed you at the core job – the development and design process of the website itself. That’ll be the least desired situation for sure.
So make sure you hire an agency that gets the core job done perfectly. Just developing a website isn’t enough, but it needs to be done in an efficient manner.
Unnecessary lines of codes will just make your website jammed and slow. And there’s no respect for slow websites in 2021 and beyond.
Right off the bat, it needs to be developed having the mobile-first approach in mind, because the internet is continuing to get more and more traffic from mobile devices.
And you don’t wanna fall behind.
SEO is what you may call, a long-term game, and marks its presence in every step of building a successful website. And you better be ensuring that SEO is taken care of in the development and design process of the website, otherwise, you might have to pay later.
If you aren’t confident enough to do it in-house, hiring a professional agency would be a better choice.