Web design isn’t just about making your website look pretty, there are also some fundamental things you need to get right. Without a proper website base, it can create instability in the long run. Yes, design choices will have an impact, but it doesn’t mean you can compromise on functionality.
No matter, if you are using the services of a professional or you are designing the website yourself, it is important you understand what needs to be included in your website in order to ensure that you are getting a proper SEO service.
Most web designers these days will build a site with SEO in mind, but it is important you understand what is required, so if they don’t deliver to your expectations, then you can question why.
So take a look below at some of the most important aspects of SEO that you and/ or website designers need to know about before starting the process of building the site:
1. Site Structure
Let’s start off with the basics. The structure of your website needs to make logical sense. Start with the home page and then work the sub pages down from there. For example, if you are designing an online clothing shop, some of your sub pages could be, women’s fashion, men’s fashion and children’s fashion.
It’s okay to have more sub pages within sub pages, but don’t go too crazy as it could become difficult for a search engine bot to understand the structure of your site. As a guide, try to keep the depth of your website to about 3 or 4 layers.
2. URL Structure
Leading on from site structure, the structure of your URLs needs to be well planned out. Changing URLs after they have already been created can be a difficult process with lots of 301s (redirects) to implement. This is why getting it right the first time is important.
Try to make the URL as short as possible, sticking to the major keywords you are looking to target. Try to avoid abbreviations and random numbers and/ or letters.
3. Mobile Friendly Design
In the past, this could have been something you wouldn’t really need, but today it is a must have. More people are searching on Google using their mobile then those searching on desktop. Google is now prioritising mobiles over desktops. So if you want to keep Google and users happy, you’ll need a mobile friendly design.
It is recommended that instead of creating two different versions of your website, that you just create one responsive design. It is important to check with Google to ensure that your website is indeed mobile friendly, you can do this by using their Mobile Friendly Test.
4. Headings and Meta Data
Headings and meta data are two pretty vital things to get right on your website. Your heading will probably be the first thing a visitor reads when clicking onto your website and meta data is what is displayed in search engines and is the information that a user reads before even clicking onto your site.
If you don’t have proper headings and/ or meta data, it can potentially make a huge difference to whether or not people click on your site and whether they stay on for a significant amount of time.
When writing your headings and meta data, it is important that you include your keywords. As well as this, you have to provide an accurate description as to what a visitor will find when looking on your page.
5. Site Speed
Site speed is also a must have for your website, you will need to take into consideration how the different design components of your website will have an impact on the speed. These days, it is important to have a site that loads in about 2-3 seconds. Any longer than that and users will start to drop off.
The good news is that there are a lot of different tools out there to help you get a better understanding of your site speed (for both desktop and mobile) while also offering guidance as to how you can improve the speed. One of the most commonly used speed tools is Pingdom.
6. Image Optimisation
One thing that tends to get neglected is image optimisation. Firstly, yes it is important to have images on your website, it helps to break up the content and visually explain what you are talking about. Then, you need to ensure that your images are properly optimised.
This is because search engine bots can’t see the image the same way a person can. So you need to explain what the picture is. Ensure you name the picture something accurate, including keywords, as well as using the alt tags for your image and ensuring the size isn’t too big that it impacts on load time.