When designing a website, it's so easy to focus on the aesthetic aspects. After all, it's those sexy design elements that really catch the eye, right?
While there is some truth to this, we encourage you to instead make the functionality and user-friendliness of your website design your top priorities. Why? Because these two key factors will greatly benefit your SEO strategy.
When it comes to website design, SEO needs to be taken into consideration from the start. All too often, SEO is an afterthought in the website design process, which results in a number of websites that don't add much value.
If you want to achieve a website design that will benefit your SEO strategy, here's what you need to do:
1. Identify the keywords your audience is using.
We recently shared several free and highly effective ways to conduct keyword research to find out which keywords your audience is typing into search queries. Arming yourself with this information is crucial in order to create relevant content that will drive traffic to your website.
Of course, once you identify these keywords, you'll want to make a point not to overload your content with these keywords. This is referred to as keyword stuffing, which will most certainly have negative repercussions on your website's ranking.
Instead, find ways to naturally incorporate these identified keywords into your content. You can do this by creating helpful, information-rich content. When you think about the keywords and phrases that your audience is typing into search queries, writing this type of content will come much more easily. Be sure to incorporate these keywords into page titles, the body of the content, tags, and meta descriptions.
2. Consider your URLs.
If you don't take into consideration your URLs, you'll probably end up with lengthy, indecipherable URLs that don't make it very clear as to what the content on your website holds. This can create a problem because just like your audience, search engines give preference to URLs that make it easy to understand what the content on the webpage is all about.
As a best practice for creating URLs, use dashes (-) instead of underscores (_) between words. By doing this, Google will be able to return results for a single word used in your URL as well as the group of words. The big takeaway is that using dashes in your URL can create more opportunities for the pages on your website to be found.
In regards to the optimal length for your URL, try to keep it under 60 characters. This will allow for your page title to be fully displayed by most search engines.
3. Choose responsive website design.
We've talked about the value of responsive website design a lot on our blog, and with Google now giving preference to responsive websites in rankings, your business can't afford to not consider this solution.
More people are using their mobile devices to browse the internet, and we can expect this to increase in the future. That's why optimizing your website for mobile viewing is imperative in today's day and age. Responsive website design is the best way to accomplish this as it automatically adjusts the website to provide for the optimal user-experience regardless of the type of device used to access the website.
Making SEO part of the discussion very early on in the website design process can allow you to create a website that not only functions for your business, but also provides for an enhanced user-experience for your visitors. This is why SEO needs to be a paramount aspect of your website design.