What is SEO in web design? Everyone has high hopes that their beautiful shiny new website will bring in tons of traffic. Although most businesses are savvy enough to understand that search engine optimization of the site is essential, many don’t realize that SEO should be built into the actual web design process and not thought of as the “next step”.

Here’s my epic new website, now make the search engines like it!

In most cases, that’s easier said than done. To be clear, I’m not saying that you can’t have your website designed by one company and then go to another company for SEO services and get good results. Our Hawaii SEO team has provided stellar results for many clients in this same situation. What I’m trying to impress upon anyone looking to build a new website or do a redesign, is that if you don’t choose a web design development team that includes an SEO expert, you’re missing out on a top-to-bottom rock solid site that has every search engine optimization advantage it needs from the get go.

Why? There are many SEO components that need to be built into the web design (or redesign) process. If some aspects that are integral to SEO are missing, it can be tough to fix or impossible to integrate after the design is completed. So, if your business doesn’t think about SEO until after having the website designed, you’ll more than likely be running a good-looking luxury sedan against a bunch of lean-mean supercars in the Internet marketing race.

If you choose a web designer with an in-house SEO expert, they are sure to factor in developing an SEO-friendly website from the beginning. This ensures your new website is a lean-mean SEO and Internet marketing machine that can compete head-to-head with the competition.

Web Design That is Ready for Digital Marketing

Putting on a band-aid doesn’t always alleviate an issue like building it right from the ground up. Here are some common issues businesses may come across when SEO is an afterthought to site development.

Hosting

A slow site makes for unhappy visitors. A good rule of thumb is to have a server located close to your audience and not in Timbuktu (unless your audience is in Timbuktu). Also, look for something that offers security. If using WordPress, make sure you look for managed WordPress hosting.

Crawling & Accessibility

From the content on the page to the internal links, you need to make sure these are all in a format that the search engines can follow and understand. The main content shouldn’t be in images, flash or video, but these can be used to enhance the content. Be sure you are getting across to the search engines exactly what your site is about and the services it offers.

Website Structure & Search Engine Usability

Site structure is very important in SEO. This is the organization of your website content and a guide for search engines to follow. This is where you’re letting the search engines know the hierarchy of the site and which pages are most important. If you have a proper architecture in place, it will ensure that the site is organized and doesn’t get cluttered over time.

  • Directories / Categories
  • Internal Linking
  • Menus
  • Breadcrumbs
  • XML Sitemaps

These are few of the components that can be implemented to map out your website for the search engines. Doing it well offers a way for you to influence which articles, posts or pages will rank highest in the search engines.

Mobile-Friendly Web Design

We live in a mobile-first decade. More than half of searches are first done on a mobile device. From the perspective of SEO, mobile-friendly design or responsiveness is a confirmed ranking factor for mobile search. Not only that, it’s the mobile version that search engines will use to crawl, index and rank your site.

Page Speed

Making sure the pages of your website load fast is a key consideration for SEO and much of that is decided during the design process. If it’s too slow, people are going to leave for an answer to their query somewhere else. Plus, Google has clearly stated that they use page speed as a ranking factor for search.

Targeting the Right Keywords & Optimizing

Keyword targeting and optimization are the foundation of good SEO. There are lots of little bits and pieces that all work together to make for a great on-page search engine optimization marketing effort. Some of those include:

  • URL/file naming structure
  • Page content optimization
  • Keyword-rich Title tag that is descriptive & compelling
  • Meta Description Tag to draw the click
  • Canonical tag to fight duplicate content
  • Bullet points, bold and italicize
  • Menu and breadcrumb naming structure
  • Headline and other H tags
  • Descriptive image alt tags
  • Canonical URLs
  • Internal linking with proper anchor text

Most of these are fairly easy to implement after a new design (or redesign), with perhaps the exception to directory, breadcrumb and page naming structures, but every little piece makes for a better overall picture. If you are missing out on a few bits here and a few bits there, it all adds up.

Schema Markup

A newer form of optimization, schema markup is information you put in the code of a website that tells what the content means. For example, as Google crawls this blog post, they will see the name “April Chang”. In basic HTML, it would just be my name surrounded by a bunch of other content, but with schema, I can specify that I am the author. That is just simple example.

The schema on this page would also specify the title, date published, image, article body, URL and more. Making it all very clear and straightforward for the search engines to know exactly what the content on the page is.

There are hundreds of markup types. Here is a small sampling:

  • Articles
  • News
  • Reviews
  • Movies
  • Recipes
  • Local Business
  • Events
  • Products

Websites with schema markup have a much greater chance of ranking higher than those that don’t. Plus there is a chance it would improve the way your site is displayed in the search results by way of enhancements through rich-snippets… but that is a discussion for another time.

Do Web Design Right the First Time

There are so many ins and outs of an SEO-friendly web design, that it’s important that you consider hiring a web development agency that has a knowledgeable team of designers and SEO experts that work together to help get the most out of your website.

Who is Meyer Computer, Inc.? We are a full-service web design and internet marketing company in Hawaii that builds, maintains and markets websites throughout the US. We’re ready to help you achieve your website business goals. Get a free consultation today!

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