Designing an SEO Friendly Website
- Keyword Research
- Search Engine Friendly Navigation
- Website Load Times
- Website Images
- Keyword Placement
- Add Social Elements
- 301 Redirects
Before I even start a website design/build, I establish what the business objectives are. Many businesses will have a clear plan of what they want to achieve in terms of targeting. This may range from targeting the local area, national area or even global.With this in mind, when designing wire frames, deciding on customer journeys and sitemaps, you can start to build, in addition, pages for content that target these specific keywords based on your findings, or at least have a plan of where these pages may go down the line once the site has launched.
Now when I say search engine friendly, I mean a navigational system that the search engines can read and follow. One of the many factors of on-page SEO is the internal linking structure and the navigational system is the backbone for this. Having buttons and links which are text-based is a major plus and great for accessibility.
Every so often a big update is done to the search engine algorithms. Normally the news is about Google and a SEO factor that was introduced early 2010 was website load times/speed. I experimented with this and found by speeding up a site in terms of various elements, did have an affect, so much so that a website I experimented on moved up 3 places in Google.CSS files – remove unwanted/unused code or place all the code on one line per div/class.
Website image size.
File size – remove white spaces and any unessential line breaks in code, keep it streamlined.
As a golden rule, a website has eight seconds to sell the company and/or products and there is nothing worse than waiting for a website to load, especially large images and backgrounds. As mentioned above, website load time is a factor and the two best tools I have used to reduce image file sizes are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Fireworks – admittedly Fireworks did the slightly better job, even though it was only a few kilobytes.
So, one of the major factors of SEO is telling Google what the page is about. This is done by writing great “user-focused” content. Within this content it’s important to get the keywords in the right position on the page. Here are the best places: Title tag, Meta description and keywords, Website slogans, Navigation, H1, H2 and H3 tags, Bullet points, Internal links,Footer links.
2011 has had a shift in terms of SEO; social is now a contributing factor. Not only is social a good way to demonstrate to potential customers that the company has a voice but social networks like Twitter helps towards good rankings. Make it clear that the company is available and contactable on social networks with prominent buttons and icons. Adding the Twitter feed on site can also help with keyword placement, regular updates (you must be a daily user of Twitter) and can also speed up the Google cache rate (i.e. the amount of times Google visits the website and checks for updates).
Sitemaps are purely designed to tell the search engines about all of the content on the website. This will ensure that the search engine bots find all of the content that may be 2 or 3 folders deep within the website so this content has a good shot at ranking for specific keywords and phrases.
Tells the search engines that the page has moved to a new location and needs re-indexing. Tells the search engines the page has been renamed and needs re-indexing. Any links that were pointing to the old page will now flow through to the new page via the redirect. As links are an imperative part of SEO, you can’t afford to loose these valuable links, thus retaining good rankings.s