Like the design, SEO also has a large impact on content visibility. However, most experts in the field struggle to communicate the key concepts clearly to the designers. This, in turn, leads to a situation where even well-designed websites are poorly optimized for SEO.
A good website can drive humongous traffic, but in order to attract relevant, geo-specific website traffic hailing from the target segment, SEO should be utilized effectively.
A research conducted by HubSpot shows that 77% of people research a brand before getting in touch with it. This means your site structure, content, marketing practices – and of course, design – must be appropriate if you want tremendous search results.
Both off-page and on-page SEO are imperative to the ranking process for any website on Google. Here, we are going to discuss how web designers can design an SEO Friendly website that ranks well and looks great by having a good command over on-page SEO.
1. SEO-Friendly URL
Although as a designer it is not your responsibility to organize the URL of the website, you do play a significant role in structuring the web pages under the domain.
Search engines dislike ambiguous, extremely long and complex URLs. This is why the best URLs are clear and logical, containing hyphenated keywords to make it more readable. Keyword use in a URL also acts as a ranking factor.
For instance, if someone is looking for a female motivational speaker, they would definitely prefer to click: www.domain.com/female-motivational-speaker. Plus, Google will also mark it as valuable, making it easier to rank. On the other hand, a URL like this one – www.domain.com/post/id9584392 – will not be rated well by Google.
2. Image Optimization
On a fundamental level, web designing is mainly about images and colors. You integrate pretty images and use bright colors, and there you have a visually appealing website. After all, who doesn’t get impressed by big and beautiful images?!
Although images can dramatically enhance the appearance of a website, optimizing them is extremely important as well. Heavy images affect your website’s overall speed, thereby hindering you from ranking. Plus, Google’s latest algorithm prioritizes speed. You should, therefore, compress the images to a suitable size while ensuring its quality and resolution aren’t compromised.
Add descriptive alt tags to the images wherever possible because search engines take alt attributes into consideration when finding out the relevancy of the page to the keywords a searcher looks for.
3. Smart and Responsive Design
Statistics reveal that more than 57% of all online traffic in the US comes via mobile devices. Moreover, now Mobile-First Index rolled out by Google parses the mobile version of a website when indexing and ranking it.
When designing an SEO friendly website, you should make sure it is both attractive and responsive. Having a website that harmonizes with numerous websites – in other words, a responsive website – impacts your performance on Google in a number of ways.
Responsive web design allows users to enjoy a smooth user experience across multiple devices. Moreover, if we look at it from an SEO perspective, a responsive website has the same URL for both the desktop version and the mobile version, which means you can increase your external backlink count by driving links to a single URL.
5. Quick and Easy Navigation
A navigation always poses a great challenge for most designers, especially when they have to build a site with multiple layers and pages. When this is the case, you need to spend extra time to determine how navigation will work.
It is a good idea to place the navigation bar either along the left margin or at the top. Make sure the navigation is not difficult, so users can easily find what they are looking for on the website.
Usually, when search engines land on a website, they check out the navigation and use it to crawl the rest of the site. If the site has pages without a navigation link or orphan pages, search engines may entirely skip those pages. Therefore, you must link your pages together efficiently.
6. Limited Use of Flash
Most of the search engines and devices don’t respond to flash in a friendly manner because they cannot read it. Consequently, they skip the pages where they encounter flash, hurting the page’s SEO.
So, if you’re aiming for an SEO friendly website, it is advisable to completely avoid flash if possible. Choose a better alternative like HTML5 that is readable by search engines.
Although for a long time the responsibility of SEO has been designated to marketers, post-development and technical SEO approaches are swiftly gaining prominence.
This puts you in a special position as a designer, now that you can create websites that are built for SEO success right from the initial coding level.
Author Bio: Loius Martin is a Creative Marketing Manager at Invictus Studio, a web design company in Texas. He has been guest blogging for quite a long time about design, SEO and branding. You can follow him at @loiusmartin1