When you’re designing a new website, it’s extremely important to keep search engine optimisation (SEO) at the front of your mind. Although many people don’t realise it, SEO and web design are closely linked, and poorly structured sites often struggle to rank in the Google search results.
Unfortunately, SEO is quite a complicated process. If you’re designing your own website for fun, you might not know where to start when it comes to SEO. With this in mind, I’ve put together a number of things to keep in mind when you’re designing your site to make sure that it ranks as well as possible from the beginning.
Get The Fundamentals Right
There are a few important things to get right before you really even start building your website. If you can nail them, you will be well on the way to designing a winning site with the potential to rank at the top of the search engine results pages.
Your domain – Although you might not realise it, your domain, or website address, actually plays a large part in your overall SEO. Make sure that your domain is logical and closely related to either your niche or your business name. Similarly, make sure that all sub-domains point straight to your main site with 301 redirects.
Your hosting provider – At the same time, it’s extremely important to choose the right hosting provider. Choose a host that’s fast, reliable, and close to your audiences geographic location.
Your content management system – Most people use WordPress to build their website, but there are numerous other content management systems and website builders out there. Make sure that you choose one which is compatible with SEO-friendly design.
Get Your Structure Right
Once you’ve nailed the fundamentals, you should start working on your overall structure. It’s extremely important to make sure that your site is logically structured and designed with search engine crawlers in mind.
To start with, make sure that your main content is indexable. Basically, this means that you should explain everything important in writing. Videos and images are great, but search engines won’t know what they’re about unless you specify it.
Similarly, you need to make sure that your site is linked together intuitively and in a way which can be understood by a search engine. Make sure that you use an XML sitemap, and consider using a third party tool to optimise your link structure.
Design For The User
In the past, keywords and backlinks were the most important things for ensuring a high search engine ranking. However, recent updates mean that Google now focuses more on the user experience than anything else.
This means that every part of the design process should be centered around optimising the user experience and encouraging people to spend time browsing your site. Think carefully about things like your navigation menus and page load speeds.
Ultimately, web design and SEO are extremely closely related. It’s important to design your site with SEO in mind, because not everything can be added later without significantly changing your design. Take care of the fundamentals, make sure that you’re using a logical structure, and do everything in your power to optimise the user experience.