The pillars of search engine optimization are on-page and off-page SEO. Both of them depend on a high-quality website. To make sure you are getting the best results with your digital marketing efforts, website design needs special attention.
Whether your site is up and running or you want to start a new website from scratch, you have to learn the basics of SEO friendly web design. It’s never too late to adjust your web design strategies and come up with a website, which is fully optimized for SEO.
Let’s take a closer look at what SEO friendly web design is all about.
In 2021, Google is introducing a mobile-first indexing strategy. It means that search engine crawlers will be crawling the mobile version of the site in the first place. This means that all websites must be mobile friendly. Otherwise, it could be tough to rank higher than the competition that takes care of mobile friendliness.
With Google adopting this strategy, other search engines aren’t far behind. It’s imperative to work on either a responsive website or a high-quality mobile friendly design to get to the high spots on search engine results.
More than 50% of people are using mobile devices to browse websites. Focusing on mobile users helps you cater to the target audience.
Well Designed Content
Content is the king of inbound marketing. It’s an integral part of SEO friendly website design. Since you rely on the content to attract the target audience and rank higher than the competition, you need to make sure that it’s in top shape.
While the value of content is tough to underestimate, the technical aspects need special attention as well. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
· Meta description – while a meta description isn’t a ranking factor, it can affect the website’s click-through rate, which in turn makes an impact on site rankings.
· Page title – page title should be catchy and descriptive. It should also contain a keyword to enhance your SEO efforts.
· H1 tag – use the keyword once in the H1 tag, as close to the beginning as possible.
· URL structure – the URL should be concise and descriptive. Insert keywords and avoid any symbols or numbers. A high-quality CRM should allow you to change the URL according to your wishes on different pages.
· Title tags – Title tags are displayed on SERPs (search engine result pages) and specify the webpage title. They are the second most important SEO factor after content since they show the search engines what the page is about. They should contain a keyword and be accurate, descriptive, and concise.
While high-quality content can help you get higher rankings on search engines, without the best website SEO practices, it may never reach the intended audience.
In 2021, Google will roll out Core Web Vitals. These three parameters will become ranking factors. Web designers all over the world are already paying close attention at these requirements and adjusting web design to suit the search engine’s wishes.
While Google Core Web Vitals are imperative to ranking pages higher on SERPs, they are all part of the overall search engine strategy that aims to improve user experience. Google algorithms don’t just force site owners to rethink website design, they point out mistakes made with user experience.
Search engines want to make the search process optimized for users. That’s why user experience is highly important for your SEO goals. The more you focus on making your website design valuable for users, the easier time you’ll have getting your site to the first pages of the search.
To make sure your website has both what search engines and users want, pay attention to the following aspects:
· Intuitive navigation – users shouldn’t have trouble figuring out how to access other pages of your website after arriving to the home page or any other page. It should always be obvious to them where to click.
· Easy–to-read content – you should break up your content in readable paragraphs with numerous headers and sub-headers. Otherwise, it could be hard to skim or read. Hard-to-comprehend content forces users to close your website, thus upping your bound rates.
· Right choice of colors – while colors don’t affect website SEO directly, they could be the cause of short dwell time on your website. Aggressive, poorly-matching shades could turn visitors away.
· Page loading time – if one page is loading slowly on your site, you could suffer from lower rankings. According to Google, page loading time must be under 2.5 seconds. Otherwise, user experience is affected.
· Use images – users prefer websites that offer images and other media to dilute their content. Besides helping users understand the information you are sharing, images and videos can boost your rankings.
Each time you are contemplating a change in website design, consider user experience. Ask yourself whether you are doing everything possible to help as many people as possible enjoy being on your website. If you aren’t sure which design decisions work best, consider a/b testing some of the elements.
Voice Search Optimization
Almost 40% of internet users take advantage of voice search. Voice search optimization is an integral part of SEO friendly website design. Whether you have a new website or contemplate revamping existing SEO strategies, you need to implement best practices for voice search optimization.
· Featured snippet – to maximize your chances of appearing on voice search results, you need to shoot for the featured snippet on Google. This involves providing valuable and concise content that answers to the audience’s questions.
· Loading time – your site isn’t likely to appear on voice search results if it loads slowly. If you want to reach top spots on the SERPs, keep the page loading time under 3 seconds.
· Optimize for mobile – mobile friendly website is the key to ranking higher on voice search results. Google reports that almost 30% of the global population uses voice search on mobile devices.
· Long–tail keywords – when people use voice search, they tend to ask long questions instead of typing short queries. This means you have to implement long-tail keywords into your site content, such as blog posts, articles, location pages, etc. Make sure to avoid thin content.
· FAQ section – since queries by voice search users contain questions, you need to have a section that offers a question with a concise and descriptive answer. This wouldn’t just help users find your website but also improve its chances of appearing in the featured snippet.
· Doman authority – domains with high authority have an easier time appearing on top spots of search results. To improve the authority of your domain, you have to work on the strategy for external links (backlinks). The more authority sites link to your pages, the higher their authority will become.
· On–page SEO – the standard on-page SEO strategy that you make to appear on search results works well for voice search optimization as well. Focus on meta data, internal linking, content structure, title tags, header tags, and the like.
Voice search optimization and SEO overlap. By working on SEO friendly website design, you are going a long way toward making it appealing to voice search visitors and generating organic traffic.
When it comes to digital marketing, voice search is gaining immense momentum. Ignoring it isn’t an option. The voice search market is growing fast, putting websites that ignore optimization far behind the competition.
While you are focusing on such aspects as mobile friendliness, linking, and URL structure, you could be missing the need for website accessibility.
Website accessibility allows people with disabilities to have full access to the information on your website. With more than a billion people in the world suffer from some type of disability, by ignoring the accessibility issue, you could be alienating your target audience.
While website accessibility isn’t regulated by law in the USA, some courts see the absence of accessibility as a violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) act. For your business to avoid an unexpected lawsuit, you need to follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Website accessibility often overlaps with usability, helping you get to the top lines of search results. Some of these aspects are:
· Descriptive alt text for images
· Easy-to-read content structure
· Descriptive anchor text
By following website accessibility guidelines, you aren’t just helping all users access your content but also achieving an SEO friendly web design.
One of the main elements of an SEO friendly website is optimized header tags. Header or heading tags indicate the beginning of a content section. A section’s title is also considered a header.
To optimizer header tags, you need to keep them concise and descriptive. Make sure to add the most relevant keywords. The closer you put the keyword to the beginning of the title (H1 header), the more appealing your site will look to the search engine.
Putting keywords into content headers allows Google and other search engines to understand the context of your web page. Without a keyword in the right place, an SEO friendly website may not get the rankings it deserves.
For smaller headers (H2,H3,H4,), you can insert less important keywords. However, you want to stick to putting them closer to the beginning. These headings are a good place to implement long-tail keywords to make your website SEO friendly for voice searches.
The goal of smaller headers is to tell the reader what to expect from the rest of the content. They also break the text down, making it easier to skim.
The example of headers for your SEO friendly web design can look like this:
H1: 3 Pillars of Digital Marketing Services
H2: Create high-quality content
H3: The ideal content length
H4: Best blog post length
An SEO friendly web design doesn’t just allow search engines to crawl your page easily, it helps users find the information they are looking for.
Use Internal Linking
Internal links help search engines crawl and index new pages on your website. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook it when designing a solid SEO strategy. It could be that you have high-quality web content available on your website, but Google simply doesn’t know about it.
While eventually, the search engine will get to it, links can speed up the process. The more internal links you add, the better your web design will be. These links will also make it easier for users to browse your site, improving their experience.
Always look for opportunities to add internal links to your content. Some CMS systems like WordPress suggest links automatically.
A well-structured site is a key to SEO success. Even though search engines don’t see it as a ranking factor, improving navigation can increase the dwell time and decrease the bound rate.
Excellent navigation is more than just a well-designed menu on the top of each page. It’s the way you allow users to navigate your website easily and find relevant information. Besides links, buttons, and menus, you have to work on the design elements of each page.
The user should intuitively understand where to click to continue browsing your website. Ideally, you should plan the navigation before you start building each new page. However, you can adjust it with existing websites as you go.
To help search engines notice your efforts, build and update XML sitemaps.
Social Media Connection
While you are working on an SEO friendly design to appeal to the search engines, remember about social media platforms.
By connecting your website to social media accounts, you are helping with digital marketing efforts, thus bringing more visitors to your site and making it more appealing to Google and other search engines.
When it comes to SEO friendly design for your website, it’s imperative to take a close look at important aspects of each page. Besides an enhanced visual appearance to appeal to the target audience, the website should satisfy search engine crawlers. To do it, you have to focus on technical elements, best SEO practices, and top-notch content tactics.
Whether you are just starting your SEO efforts or want to tweak your existing strategy, it’s never too late to rethink site design.