The Fundamentals of SEO Web Design

Geri Mileva on Marketing Design

SEO DesignIntroduction

Website design and site performance are inherently linked, as design has a significant effect on a website’s ability to rank well on search engine sites.

Both design and marketing have to be incorporated when creating a business’ website. Unfortunately, for some companies, the marketing strategy is only introduced after the website has already been launched. This can cause issues for the site’s SEO.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization refers to any activity or technique that aims to improve search engine rankings.

When a user types a search term into a search engine site like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, the engine displays links to pages that it considers relevant and authoritative.

A site owner would naturally want their site to appear on the first few pages of the results, because the majority of users only scan and click the results found within these pages.

Importance of SEO

Search Rankings

SEO can be likened to quality control measures that enable your website to provide authoritative and trustworthy content.

When you have quality content and links within your site, your ranking remains high and you’re much more visible online compared to your competitors.

Moreover, most online users don’t search just once. They tend to edit their search terms and search again. If your site is consistently included in these search results, you gain more visibility and reach a wider audience.

With enough time, users will give your site their vote of confidence and trust it as a reliable source of content.

Conversion

Aside from credibility, SEO can also reward your business. It allows you to market your products and services to people who are already looking for them.

Ranking high in search engine results means you are easy to find. Those who’ll be clicking on your site will mostly be qualified leads who are searching for businesses like yours.

You can then gain a lot of site traffic and have more opportunities to convert through sales, subscriptions, downloads, and many more.

SEO Categories

There are two main categories of SEO. In order to reach higher rankings, you need to understand both and how you can design your website taking both categories into account:

On-site SEO

On-site or on-page SEO consists of techniques that you can use to make your website search-engine-friendly. This involves adjusting elements on your site so that Google and other engines can easily read your site and rank it accordingly.

Some of the on-site SEO techniques you can apply include providing relevant content, being smart about titles and keywords, gaining healthy internal links, and making your website responsive or adaptable to mobile devices.

Since you can control how these features are integrated into the website, it only makes sense to start with on-site measures when optimizing your website.

Off-site SEO

While on-site strategies should be the first priority in SEO, it’s equally necessary to deal with off-site SEO.

Off-site SEO refers to actions you can take to promote your site online apart from advertising. These include building your links with other relevant sites, as well as social media marketing.

These happen when you combine good content with strategic relationship-building on the web. If your site is successful with off-site SEO, it can be recognized by search engine crawls and ultimately increase your traffic, positive brand mentions, and conversions.

How to Achieve an Effective SEO Design

As mentioned, SEO processes must start with on-site techniques as site owners can largely manage these elements. This section will highlight four on-site techniques and one off-site technique that you can adapt:

Search-Engine-Friendly Content

Quality will always be a must when it comes to content, but it’s actually SEO that can boost your audience reach.

The first technique is to use headings and sub-headings. These are very useful because they make your content easy to skim. Users are more likely to share resources that are easy to read. Headings and sub-headings allow keyword placement, which also improves SEO.

SEO can also involve article length. While the minimum word count is 300 words, there is no maximum. Keep in mind, though, that if your article is too long, you could drive readers away. It has to be just the right length depending on the topic.

In addition, use credible sources for your published content. Search engines can determine whether your links are reputable, so stick with high-quality sites that add validity to your content. The better the links, the higher your page will rank.

Keyword Use and Targeting

Keywords are still one of the best ways to optimize your product page, blog post, article, or any other content.

Check the popular keywords that your audience is using for their searches, and include these keywords in your content and titles. Images can also benefit from keywords, so add them to image files and provide ALT tags.

However, remember not to overstuff content with keywords. Not only will this affect the quality of your content, Google could penalize your site as well. Keywords should only be 1-2% of the entire text. So, in a 500-word article, you can have 5-10 keywords.

Find the balance between what your readers can appreciate and what the search engine crawlers can recognize and rank.  

Proper Title Tags

A title tag is a piece of HTML code used to tell search engines what the title of your page is. Search engine crawlers see the title tags and use them along with your content to evaluate whether your page should be ranked highly or otherwise.

Aside from search engines, title tags also help users decide if they will click on the page or not, since it is the first piece of information shown on the search results page. And as a rule, the more you attract traffic, the better it is for your business.

For businesses, it’s important to include main items like the business or site name and location in title tags. Meanwhile, for blogs, a catchy title with a keyword is the way to go.

Meta Description Tags

Meta tags are the snippets of text that show a page’s information on the search results page.

There are 4 types of meta tags, of which title tags are the most crucial. These days, with changes in SEO processes and Google’s ranking system, other meta tags (meta keywords attribute) are no longer effective for your site performance.

Nonetheless, you still have to optimize other meta tags, like the meta description. This is the piece of text right below the title tag that explains to both search engine crawlers and to audiences what your page is about.

A compelling meta description could entice users to click on your site, especially if the description includes the exact keywords they were looking for.

Link Building

Among the SEO techniques mentioned here, link building is the only off-site SEO process. It may be a difficult undertaking for most site owners, but link building has great potential to enhance your search engine ranking.

Build links by engaging authority sites to partner with your site. For instance, you can offer to guest post for an authority site. This is mutually beneficial for you and the authority site—they get the content, you get the link.

You can also search for other sites that mention your brand and ask for links. Furthermore, you can contribute to relevant resource pages, or sites that link out to quality content pages.

These techniques enable you to formally associate your own site with these quality websites, increasing your credibility, and therefore, your search ranking.

Conclusion

SEO enables your site to be accessible to audiences online. Whether you own a small, midsize, or a large enterprise, SEO needs to be a part of both your website design and marketing strategy if you want to achieve traffic, user engagement, and conversion for your business.