Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important component of your online presence, and one that should be incorporated into your web design process. Many business owners make the mistake of delaying SEO until their web design is complete, but SEO and web design should be an integrated process. Indeed, the main way that you drive traffic to your website is through SEO – so while it’s important to have a beautifully designed website, if you don’t have a comprehensive SEO strategy you won’t get traffic to your site.
So then, how do you build a website that integrates SEO and web design? First, recognize that SEO is not an afterthought, and many web design elements should incorporate your SEO strategy. A truly effective SEO design allows search engines to read pages across your site, make sense of your content, and improve your visibility in search engine rankings.
Search engines rely on web crawlers to scan and explore your web pages, and a carefully planned SEO strategy ensures that these crawlers find relevant information that relates to searches by consumers. This means your business and products or services are adequately represented. There are a number of ways this can be achieved by integrating SEO into your web design. Let’s take a closer look.
First, consider your domain name – does it relate to your business, products, and services? Likewise, if you have alternate domains or subdomains, they should redirect to your site properly and they should reflect your business. Some novice web designers also make the mistake of thinking that your domain name should feature your main keywords – but this may not always be the case. Your business name is a great start, but you must carefully consider domains so that you represent your business well.
Additionally, don’t cheap out on hosting. You want a fast, platform-specific host that is located where your audience is located. For example, if you are building a WordPress website, find a host that works well with that platform. Speaking of WordPress, your content management system (CMS) is also critical. WordPress is a great platform that works well with Google, but there are other choices available. Choosing the right CMS for you means that you can build the type of site that is best for your company.
Finally, building a site that is accessible to users and crawlers involves careful consideration of indexation and link structure. Crawlers absolutely must be able to read your site’s content in order to properly explore it. The main content of your site needs to be text-based rather than media-based (e.g. text trumps photos, flash, and video). Obviously you want to have multi-media content on your site to make it appealing to visitors, but ensure that you have quality text content that is accessible to crawlers. Internal links are also important for indexing content outside your home page so include navigation links, search engine directives, and sitemaps that can be crawled to unveil other pages.
As you can see, SEO is an important and integral part of your web design. If you are unsure of how to best build SEO into the web design process, it is always best to work with experienced professionals that can help you build the best and most visible site possible.