How to fold SEO into your website design

Written by Maddy Bogacki  |  26, August, 2019  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Are your website designs sensitive enough to modern SEO tactics?

Incorporating SEO best practices into your website from the ground up will help you to increase the quality and volume of website traffic, and deliver a more pleasing user experience for your site visitors.

Follow these tips to build a business website that both bots and people will love.

Mobile friendly design

Is your website mobile friendly? B2B buyers demand a mobile-first approach, and it's critical for successful SEO.

Google uses both the desktop and mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. 

Fail to optimise your website for mobile and you alienate a significant portion of your audience.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Font - Small fonts will result in penalties. Your copy should be easily legible, even on smaller devices.
  • Tappable areas - Is it comfortable to browse your site on a touch screen? Search engines consider 48 pixels to be the minimum standard for tap targets. This is so that a simple tap of the finger will comfortably register as a click.
  • Page speed - Pages take longer to load on mobile. Sluggish page speed not only has a punishing effect on your bounce rates, it also raises a red flag for search engines.
  • Image file sizes - Hefty image file sizes are the biggest culprit of slow page load times. This makes image optimisation for web a rewarding task. We've got plenty to say about the topic.
  • Available content - Do not dramatically reduce your content for mobile users. Content gives crawlers the context they need to understand what your website is about. You may need to rethink how you display some elements, but stripping content out completely limits your SEO potential.
  • Site navigation - It should be effortless for mobile users to access and use your site navigation. To improve consistency and UX, try to keep the link structure on mobile as close to the desktop options as possible.

In the design phase, it can be useful to set up multiple art boards for each page that you create, so you can see the plans for desktop and mobile side by side.

RELATED: 3 simple reasons to love mobile first design

Website architecture

A website architecture considers ease of use, interaction, UI, information, visual design and content strategy. It's the roadmap that connects your pages and shows how a visitor might move from A to B.

How clearly you structure and label your content has a large impact on whether or not your users will be able to find the information they need.

A logical layout will help you to achieve your business website goals. It also has a notable impact on search engines' ability to interpret your content, understand your company and identify the topics that you are an authority on.

Organising content into topics and subtopics is sensible. You should also make sure that your URLs, titles and meta descriptions are keyword optimised and relevant to your page content. 

Content structure

A big wall of text can be intimidating. Consider how your content is presented, and look for ways to break the message into bitesize chunks. This will make it easier to read, understand and remember.

Using a variety of headers, sub-headers, bullet points and images makes your content more engaging and easier to scan for answers.

Session durations (how long a visitor stays on your page) are another ranking factor for Google. It's important to make sure your presentation isn't putting people off so that they are tempted to spend longer with you. 

As for pleasing the bots, optimised H1s and H2s (etc.) help to spell out your content topic, and indicate top priorities. Headers should stand out, be descriptive, and give a good idea of what follows.

Clear content structure will improve your SEO.  

User intent

It can be incredibly frustrating to click on a link and arrive at content that is drastically different to what you hoped for. Imagine you just clicked on a statistic in order to find out more about the source, and you were shipped off to an unrelated post. Wouldn't you feel misled?

Always strive to understand user intent and deliver valuable content that answers your visitors' questions and caters to their interests. Give them what they're looking for.

You can learn more about specific user goals by engaging in:

When people can easily find the right information, they spend longer on your site. Google interprets high engagement positively, and assumes that the page in question presents good answers to your visitor's query. Consequently, your URL will be ranked higher.

CTAs and hyperlink copy should be explicit about what they are linking to. This gives users more power to choose whether or not your offer is suitable for them, resulting in an increase in the quality of your leads.. This also makes it easier for people using screen reader to understand their context and purpose.

Inclusive and accessible web design

Digital content creators are becoming more aware of the need to cater content for people with impaired vision and/or hearing. 

Screen readers enable people to engage with content they cannot see, and there are increasing steps to make digital content more accessible for everyone. There are web content accessibility guidelines, and checkers, in place to help.

Furthermore, Google ranks accessible web pages higher in its SERPs. Good web design takes all of this into account and aims to create more inclusive digital experiences.

Image alt text optimisation is one of the most important steps to achieving this. These short descriptions reveal what your image is about, and give valuable information about how it is being used on your website. Alt text is also read by search engine crawlers to build a clearer picture of your page. There are many other things you can do to optimise video to meet web accessibility guidelines, such as monitoring text and images for sufficient contrast and appropriate colour combinations - especially for the colour blind.

Another way to make your website more accessible is to think carefully about voice search, and how you can design your website to be more voice search friendly

 

Whether you are starting from scratch, undergoing a website redesign, or adding new pages to an existing site, these tips will steer you right.

Approach your web design with a strong focus on SEO best practices and you'll greatly enhance the UX for you visitors, as well as your search engine rankings.

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Topics: Content Marketing, Search/SEO, Web design, Websites, Images

Maddy Bogacki

Written by Maddy Bogacki

Maddy has a degree in Fine Art from Oxford University, as well as an MA in Game Design. She is a Creative Consultant and digital art enthusiast. Maddy contributes to the Equinet blog on topics relating to visual content.