Search engine optimization continues to change at a frenetic rate. However, there are a few SEO website design best practices that will stand the test of time and continue to remain at the top of the list.
These seven SEO web design strategies will always remain important to both the user and the search engines, yet, they are also the most under-utilized techniques for webmasters. Ignoring these seven practices is a very costly mistake.
Here are the 7 top SEO website design tips that will maximize the impact of your site in search:
1. Friendly URLs:
The URL, one of the more prominent on-page signals that Google uses, must be structured in the most SEO-friendly way possible. Not only do search engines use it as a major on-page relevancy signal, but users also read, bookmark, share and type URLs in browsers.
Include the main keyword of the page in the URL or at least a short phrase that will give users an idea to what your page is about. Avoid lengthy URL’s and always use hyphens to separate your words to make it easier to read.
2. Meta Tags:
Meta tags have been around for as long as I remember, and it has stood the test of time to be one of the most effective means to give search engines a suitable way to identify and rank your pages for any given keyword.
Meta tags, or more specifically the meta title and meta description, is paramount for both the search engines and the users. Never optimize your title and description only for the search engines with disregard to the users and visa versa, it needs to work both ways.
That is why you must properly utilize your meta tags by including your primary keyword to help increase your visibility in search but in a way that best makes sense to those who read it. Keep conversions in mind so make sure you write a compelling enough description.
Make sure your title tag is not more than 70 characters and avoid using your keyword more than once. If you used a keyword in the title tag, then there is no need to re-use it in the description.
Keep users in mind as they will be the ones who will ultimately decide if your listing is compelling enough to visit.
If you do not include the meta title and description, search engines will automatically pull random content from your page that they see as relevant to the users query. However, it will not be effective at targeting specific keywords you want to rank for.
3. Website Performance
Have you ever waited so long for a web page to load that you just decided to exit or press the back button? Well, your users are no different.
In 2011, Google made page load times a major on-page ranking factor, and it is increasingly becoming more important as users are demanding a faster online experience.
Implementing website optimization best practices not only helps with your ranks, but it also decreases page load times, and ultimately boosting conversion rates.
Utilizing everything from optimizing images to leveraging browser caching and even a CDN (content delivery network) should all be part of the overall on-page SEO strategy.
4. Mobile Responsive Design
This one is a no-brainer. Google announced in 2015 that mobile searches have exceeded desktop searches. It is no wonder why they cracked down on sites that didn’t meet their mobile standards.
If your website is not mobile ready, then say goodbye to the SEO benefits and the massive mobile traffic that you could potentially be acquiring.
There are different methods for delivering content via the mobile; however, Google recommends responsive web design over using adaptive design, using an app, or utilizing a separate site for the mobile.
When it comes to the mobile, responsive is the best way to go.
5. AMP Pages
As it turns out, a mobile website may not be enough. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an initiative to improve the mobile web and enhance the performance and efficiency of which content is distributed.
Media consumption is at its peak, and with users regularly accessing content wherever they find it, Google recognizes that delivering content via AMP is imperative for maximizing user engagement. Overal, AMP is fast, flexible and beautiful.
We have already seen Google give preference in the mobile results to sites that have adopted Accelerated Mobile Pages, so why not take advantage.
6. Clean, Minimal Website Design
There is nothing worst than when a user who lands on a site only to find a million different links, images, and just plain-out clutter.
Whether your local business, a national company, an eCommerce shop or a blogger, website design plays a huge role in usability, accessibility and conversions. Moreover, the cleaner and simpler your site is, the faster it is likely to load.
Your overall design should make it easy for your users to navigate, making all the relevant pages a click away. Your CTA (call-to-action) should be clear and concise. The visual appeal itself should not confuse or overwhelm the visitor.
Your website reflects your brand, and it can only get as good as the SEO website design company you hire. Avoid designers that use an off-the-shelf template that makes your site look like thousands of other sites online.
Not all design agencies understand SEO. Hence, it is important to work with a web developer who can help you combine website design best practices with SEO best practices, and you will get the ultimate automated marketing machine.
Content will never disappear as a significant on-page ranking factor. In fact, content is at the core of every best practice in Google’s guidelines. Furthermore, everything SEO experts do revolves around content. It is the reason why search engines exist in the first place.
Developing unique, fresh, high-quality content should be a priority for any business or website that is seriously looking to increase search traffic, build their brand, and make more sales.
Google has become so good at understanding search queries that their third most important ranking signal is a machine-learning artificial intelligence algorithm called RankBrain.
As Google harnesses such accuracy in delivering content to an estimated 4 to 6 billion searches a day, creating fresh new content is a key way to meet the demands of users while getting online exposure.
Don’t miss the golden age of online search. The opportunity to deliver a great first impression that engages users while maximizing the impact of your SEO is at its pinnacle state.
You just can’t afford to ignore the importance of these seven best practices.