Why Website Design and SEO Belong Together.
There’s a very common misconception out there about web design, and it actually leads a lot of people to launch their online presence with “one hand tied behind their back,” so to speak. That’s a shame, because presenting your website to the world for the very first time should be a springboard to success! It can be, but only if you remember one very important fact: Web design and SEO are intertwined from the very start.
This is true whether you recognize it or not. What that means is that you (or your web design/SEO provider) are setting the foundation for your long-term SEO (that is, “search engine optimization”) campaign as you create your website. If you ignore SEO at that point, planning to start those efforts at a later date once you get your online feet underneath you, you will be setting yourself up for failure–or at least a much longer, more painful SEO campaign journey than you want.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important features of your website that have the potential to either boost your SEO game right from the start…or hold you back for years to come.
Use of SEO Keywords During the Web Design
Keywords are the first thing most people think of when they hear the term “SEO.” Indeed, the placement and density of your SEO campaign’s keywords throughout your website are critical, and you don’t want to have to go back after your website’s designed and try to plug your keywords into the content! Your SEO campaign’s keywords should be researched and established before your website content is written so that your copy writer can include them in a natural manner.
That being said, the actual written content on your website–the words that the visitor reads–is not the only context where your SEO keywords should appear. There are lots of opportunities to display your keywords in areas that no human readers will see, but the search engine crawlers certainly will. Your website’s meta data, page titles, image titles, and other background elements should all emphasize your keywords skillfully to the search engines.
A word of caution here: Beware of “black hat” tactics that attempt to sneak as many keyword mentions as possible into your copy or back end elements. In the early days of SEO, many website designers tried to game the system by including keywords all over the place to boost their search rankings, even doing things like putting white text on a white background so that the reader wouldn’t notice how many times the keyword was repeated on the page!
Today’s underhanded tactics may be less obvious, but they inevitably lead to negative outcomes once the search engines discover what’s going on and impose ranking penalties. Stick with a web designer that follows the rules and does good work rather than trying to take advantage of the system.
Importance of SEO Friendly Navigation in Web Design
Did you know that the structure and usability of your website have a huge impact on your SEO? The search engine crawlers of today are advanced enough to assess how user-friendly your website is, and if it’s hard for visitors to find the information they are looking for on your site, Google will drop your pages in the search rankings.
SEO friendly web design is intuitive, clear, and simple. Dead links, confusing menus, 404 errors, slow loading pages, and other problems that frustrate visitors will torpedo your rankings very quickly. Your web designer should have a robust testing strategy to make sure everything on your site is working properly and communicates clearly to the visitor before it goes live!
Web Design and SEO has Gone Mobile
How many times have we heard it…”My customers find me on the computer, not on their phone, so I don’t need a mobile friendly website.” The reality, however, is that the entire world of SEO and web development has gone mobile. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, that’s an immediate and massive blow to your search rankings–even if the majority of visitors to your website are on computers, not mobile devices.
Great website designers consider mobile friendliness to be a non-negotiable element of any site they create. And the truth is, a website that looks great on a smartphone or iPhone also looks great on a computer screen.
How an Interactive Content is Important for Web Design and SEO
Images, videos, and interactive content are very important to today’s online audiences, and the search engines take note when your website features them. Including these non-text elements throughout your website isn’t essential for your success, but they can give you a boost over the competition! Not to mention, they help you engage the visitors to your site in a more meaningful, personal way, potentially leading to more valuable inbound leads.
Important Elements of a website to get maximum SEO Benefit
The initial design of your website is the ideal time to launch the external elements of your SEO campaign as well. As you plan to create industry articles, external blogposts, press releases, and of course your social media posts, you should build your website with those elements in mind. Ideally, the same provider that creates your website for you is also your SEO consultant, leading to SEO friendly website design and a unified online campaign right from day one.
Keep It Together! Web Design & SEO Are Great Partners.
There are two big problems with starting an SEO campaign after the website is live. First, your SEO provider has to go back and practically redesign much of your website to add keywords, revamp back end elements, and improve any functionality that is lacking in user friendliness. That’s a time and money expense that you can avoid altogether by making your SEO strategy part of your web design in the first place.
Second, the results of your SEO strategies will not become visible until much later down the road. Organic SEO is a long-term game, and it’s important to start it even before your website goes live by incorporating it into its design. Starting your SEO activities after the website is live will delay the benefits and make it much harder to push your site’s pages up in the rankings.