Beginner Guide

Why you should focus on designing an SEO-friendly website (and how to do it)

You should focus on designing an SEO-friendly website (and how to do it) written by John Jants Read more in Duct Tape Marketing

Your website is the center of your online marketing efforts. So it stands to reason that it needs to be built with marketing in mind, rather than aesthetics. Yes, there is something to be said about having an attractive website, and you should definitely aim to design a website that has both form and function. But the mistake many small business owners make is focusing exclusively on form, and this is where they miss a big opportunity.

Your website may be the most beautiful in the world, but if you do not pay attention to its function, it is not everything. If you want to build a successful website, you need to start with a solid SEO framework in order to build a site that is easy to find and works with your other online marketing efforts.

Why SEO matters

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what brings new possibilities to your site. If someone does a Google search for a solution to their problem, and your business is able to solve that problem, you want your website to be the first to show up. Think about your own browsing habits: How often do you see the second, third or fourth page of search results on Google? If your site is not ranking on the first page of results, then you are not being seen by most of the people.

Start with Keyword Research

Ensuring high rankings on search results is why it is important to start the website design process with keyword research. If you’re looking for a good or service to provide by your business, start by brainstorming the words you’ll be looking for. This can and should be a long list—write everything down and don’t edit it yourself. Google Search Console can also help you identify words that are already driving users to your site, which can help you redefine your thinking on the list.

Then start reducing the list to 12-20 terms; There are some that talk about the fundamentals of your business and there are some that speak to the specific intent of a user when searching. These keywords will inform all your website design choices from here on out.

Think Like a Search Engine

The way a human sees your site is very different from the way Google sees it as it crawls through sites looking for information that is relevant to a search. You want to make sure that most of your content is in HTML text format. Images, Flash content, and JavaScript are not often seen by search engines as they are crawling sites, so if all the important information about your business is displayed on your page within these dynamic formats, it is possible that Google may be leaving right behind your website when looking for relevant words or phrases.

Using a tool like Google Cache Checker will allow you to see what your website looks like on Google. If your pages are showing up mostly blank, you know that search engines are missing out on crawling most of your content, so you may want to restructure your site to be more HTML heavy.

Consider website structure

In addition to thinking about how a search engine will view your site, you want to make sure you’re building a structure that makes sense to SEO and visitors.

Creating a site map can be a helpful way to think about content and flow. What information do you want to group together? What logical path will visitors follow when navigating your site? How can you make it easier for users to get from one relevant information to another? And how can you structure your website in a way that enriches the customer journey and encourages users to step down the marketing hourglass?

Once you have thought about the user experience aspect of your site, it is time to think about structure from an SEO perspective. Creating a site with a crawlable link structure is important to ensure that all of your content is seen by search engines. There are many reasons why your links may not be crawlable, including whether they are for pages that are hidden behind submission forms, if the links are within the above Java content that search engines are not able to see. , or if there are hundreds of links on a given site (search engines will only go through so many links before crossing a threshold).

create rich content

Of course, all the effort you put into making a site that is easy to find, functional and attractive will be in vain if your site has similar content.

As I’ve said before, the goal of this content should be to establish your business as a leading authority in your field. This valuable material will serve you across the board. This spurs prospects to trust you and prompts them to try and purchase parts of the marketing hourglass. When you continue to create new, rich content, it brings existing customers back to your site for more information, keeps you top-notch with those customers, and makes them more likely to repeat and refer.

Not only that, but when your website is full of valuable content, and you continue to add more regularly, you generate a stream of information that you can use to drive users to your site. . You should place all of your content—blog posts, webinars, case studies, podcasts, white papers, and infographics—on your website. Then, when you share links to all this valuable content on social media or through your newsletter, you are driving all the traffic back to your site.

A website, no matter how good it is, is nothing without a solid approach to SEO. Your website is the most important part of your online marketing strategy, and therefore investing time, energy, and money into building a site that ticks all the boxes for form and function is a worthwhile endeavor.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.

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