Why building a website with SEO in mind important?
Your website is your digital storefront, the very heart of your digital marketing world. So why is it that so many businesses are not designing websites that drive customers to them? Many websites are missing out on important SEO strategies, while others have no SEO strategies at all. Building a website with SEO in mind create a greater chance of success. Don’t let your digital business come last in the race, build a website with SEO in mind and be a winner.
Although many business owners have heard of SEO, they have no idea how it works when designing websites. Often their focus is only on how the website looks and not on how it will perform. The most beautiful visually appealing site in the world, won’t win a single customer if no-one can find it. It’s like trying to get a racehorse to win the Canadian International with a wooden leg.
To work to their full potential, websites with SEO in mind perform far better than those that try to fix the SEO problem later. After all, you wouldn’t buy a mule and expect it to win a horse race.
In this article we will examine some of the SEO strategies used when designing websites, these will attract the customers you need to be a champion stakes winner.
How to Build your Website for SEO Success
Before you even start the construction of a website, first you need a good marketing plan. A marketing plan will help you know exactly where the attention and detail need to be when building a website with SEO in mind. To assist you with building strong SEO strategies, you can keep a useful acronym in mind – RACE:
Reach = How are you going to attract targeted potential buyers to your website?
Act = How are you going to keep those potential buyers there and make them act?
Convert = How are you going to convert those potential customers into paying customers?
Engage = How are you going to get both potential and converted customers to come back?
When building a website with SEO in mind, keep referring back to your marketing plan to keep you on track.
Search engines use programs called web crawlers (or spiders), that “read” the code on your website. For a site to rank well for SEO it must be easy for the web crawlers to read and understand the content. In order to optimize this, you can use tools such as this free one from SEMrush to check your website for all sorts of performance issues and useful data:
Overall website performance:
Organic keywords and organic competitors:
Paid traffic – keywords:
Paid traffic – competitors:
Look for the following information for best optimization results:
- Which of your website’s pages are most frequently being visited by web crawlers
- If there are any pages of less importance being more frequently visited by web crawlers than more important ones
- Reports of 4xx and 5xx error codes
- Reports of spider traps
When you’ve analyzed the data and can understand how the web crawlers view your page, you can correct the problems by digging a little deeper into the issues raised. There are plenty of websites that can help you with this. For example, if you need to fix error codes, Digital Ocean has a great article explaining just that. If you need to fix spider errors, Yoast explains it in great detail here.
Many businesses use a single name to attract visitors to their website. However, it is often useful when designing a website with SEO in mind, to target niche markets. This can be done by using multiple domain names that all focus back to the same website. If you do choose to do this, it is of the utmost importance to remember this one simple rule; keep all the names you use 100% related and relevant to what you do and what the website is about. It is also important to check that all of the sub-domains point correctly back to the main site.
When choosing a domain name, here are some considerations:
- Keep it easy to pronounce and to remember
- Don’t use hyphens e.g. top-level-riders.com should be toplevelriders.com as the hyphens will have a negative effect on search engine results.
- Keep the spelling simple. Using unusual spellings can make your site harder to find.
- Choose the most appropriate extensions .com, .ca, .net, .org etc.
- Keep it as short as possible
- Keep the name related to your business
- Keep it unique and don’t try to copy other brand leaders
- Make sure the name is also available on other platforms to unify your branding across the web, particularly on social media
- If you’re only interested in attracting local customers then keep the name local too. You can do this by adding your area in the name e.g.: richmondriding.ca.
- You need to establish your brand and grow your business for the long term. For this reason, you don’t want to keep changing your business name, so ensure that you get it right the first time
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SEO Strategies within the Website
When designing a website with SEO in mind:
Focus and align the content to your main objective and purpose.
- Ensure the site is multi-device friendly and can be easily viewed and navigated on all devices, from a smartphone to a computer screen.
- Select keywords that your target audience will use to find the goods or services that you provide.
- Use each page’s keywords within the titles and subtitles of that page.
- Use your selected keywords naturally in the first paragraph of your copy immediately below the title or subtitle and throughout the rest of your page. Avoid keyword jamming, keywords must appear naturally in context within the text.
- Ensure that you select a minimum of 3 focus keywords for each page. These are not just single words but can be long-chain keywords. For example: rather than using horse, saddle and leather as three separate keywords use a sentence such as brown leather horse saddle. By using sentences that your potential customers would use to find the product or service you are selling, you will attract more customers who are looking for what you have to sell.
- Page Layout. Ensure that the key elements of your page are made more prominent. To do this you can use larger fonts, colored or bold text.
- Make page content highly informative, educational, usable and interesting for your target audience. It must give value to the reader.
- Build relevant links into your text. Links should be to both internal and external pages that support the information you are providing.
- If your site is quite large, provide a clearly visible “site search” option.
- If you use forms on your site, ensure that they are well built and simple to complete. Remember that web crawlers find forms very difficult to understand and navigate.
- Social media posts are indexed within Google search engine results. Having a strong social media presence can prove highly beneficial for improving SEO. It also drives traffic to your website. Watch out for our blog on ‘How to Design an Effective Social Media Post’ coming soon.
- If you have a ‘bricks and mortar’ outlet as well as an internet one, then targeting key local business is probably very important. To do this, deploy local SEO tactics.
- Images not only provide great visual impact but can also improve SEO. Be sure to write strong, descriptive Alt tags for the images that web crawlers to understand their content. Bear in mind too that images slow down site loading speeds, which can be problematic. To help this, ensure that your images are of optimum size and resolution. JPEG files should be a maximum of 2000 pixels in total e.g. (1200 x 800 pixels).
- Site loading speeds. The page load time of your site should be under 2 seconds per page. This is exactly why you need a fast hosting provider like A2 Hosting! To test this, look at your Google Analytics information or use a program like Pingdom.com.
- Menu links must be clear and logical so humans and web crawlers can easily navigate through your site. If your site is difficult to navigate, your valuable potential customers will simply leave your site. Getting internal links and clear, intuitive, well-signposted navigation tools correct, is of great importance.
- To strengthen your sites visibility and awareness you can utilize: Regular blog posts, information articles, webinars, ‘How to’ guides, case studies, product or service information, product demonstration videos, user guides, reviews, testimonials, free trial and free consultation.
- Meta Tags. These are the descriptions that advertise what your site or individual pages on your site are about. They must accurately describe your page content, advertise your page in a single sentence (to encourage people to click on your page) and include the page’s main keywords in a natural way.
There are many elements that can cause your website to drop down the search engine results. By avoiding these pitfalls when building your website you can increase your online visibility. These issues include:
- Poor site indexing that can cause pages to become hidden
- Non-text files that the web crawlers cannot read, these can include Flash files, AJAX effects, audio and video files and image files that have no, or poor Alt tag descriptions
- The use of subdomains to split internal content rather than sub-folders
- Broken links
- Duplicate content
- Multiple pages with the same keywords
With good forward planning that provides a solid foundation, it is possible to build a website that not only looks great but also uses strong SEO tactics. This will ensure that your site can easily be found by your target clients and generate business success