SEO Considerations When It Comes to Website Design
Which came first: the SEO or the website? The SEO. Period. No debate. SEO marketing goals should be in mind before you begin designing your site. While you can make some adjustments to SEO after the fact, you’ll be much better off if you take a few marketing techniques in mind when you develop your website design plan.
1) Communicate a Unique Value Prop
Once you know your organization’s mission and what you want to accomplish, the challenge is to find a way to convey your value proposition so that potential customers find it when they search. Conversely, if you are solving a unique problem, or your solution isn’t found with common search terms, look for alternative search terms for your product or service that are more likely to show up in a search.
2) Know your Competition
One of the easiest and smartest steps you can take before you begin your website design is to scour the internet for information about your competitors. Find out how they rank. Know what search terms they are using. Pretend you are a consumer and faux search for products and services to look for potential keyword and SEO advantages you might have against your competition.
3) Understand your Customers
To build a strong SEO strategy, you must understand your customers and the market segment in which you compete. Which buyer personas are you targeting? How big is your online audience? Where do they go for information? By finding the answers to these and similar questions before you begin your design, you’ll save yourself and your customers a lot of frustration by expertly mapping your keywords to your market.
4) Get Technical
Once you understand your customers, mission, and competitors, and you’re ready to build your site, take into account the specific technical requirements expected by your potential customers. These are the building blocks for the rest of your website. Know if your customers expect an HTTPS versus HTTP site. Keep your website design and infrastructure nimble and iterative. Make sure your code and framework don’t impede site speed. If your demographic is global, consider localizing your content. Know what you need to do upfront to set yourself up for SEO success and minimal re-work.
5) Build for the Right Content
What types of content are you most likely to post on your website? Whether it is videos, whitepapers, infographics or blog posts, make sure your website infrastructure supports it, and the functionality is reliable and easy to manage.
6) Keep the Crawlers Happy
If web crawlers have a difficult time finding your content, your SEO search rankings are doomed to failure. Build your site in a way that requires no more than a few clicks to get to the depths of your content. Use heat maps and page-sorting programs to understand how users are finding and navigating your content. If it’s too cumbersome or complicated and the web crawlers aren’t finding the content you want them to see, your potential customers aren’t either.
7) Structure is Key
8) Be Mobile
In this digital age, websites are expected to be responsive. The experience should be similar, whether on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Keep your website design flexible and responsive to a variety of devices, and leave room in your design for the future—you never know what’s coming next!
Don’t be intimidated by SEO. By examining your strategy in terms of “pre-design work” and “post-design work,” you’ll set your website up for success and save yourself a great deal of time and effort in the long run. Happy optimizing!