You wouldn't build a house without considering its foundation. Search engine optimization (SEO) is like a house, but for many websites, it's a poorly constructed one. In your SEO-house, there are components your guests can see, like content and navigation. Then, there are items that only you as the homeowner can see, such as tags and keyword optimization. But here's where the house metaphor breaks down. Some aspects of your site SEO may go unnoticed by human eyes but are readable to search engine crawlers and bots.
The way search engines interact with your website starts with site structure. Build a website around SEO-friendly practices and you'll start off strong. Try to add SEO later and you might be doing the equivalent of applying band-aids to a crumbling structure.
When having a new site built or an old site redesigned you must consider the entire process of development and design. During the process, our web development experts at Neon Rain consider both the structure and appearance of your website.
When a website shows up on the first page of a popular web search, it usually means the website has strong SEO. Several factors go into SEO, including keywords, navigation, links, and tags. But there's a subset of activities called technical SEO that deals with sitemaps, website performance, and security. All of these aspects help search engine crawlers read and categorize a website, so they can recommend the most relevant websites to search engine users.
How Web Design and SEO Work Together
Some developers build SEO-friendly websites; others don't. Building an SEO-friendly site requires careful planning and a structured approach to representing your business and the services you provide.
When the two are well-integrated, they produce a stronger site that can help your business begin to rank better. For best results, it's vital to start considering SEO during the initial stages of design and development. You can optimize for SEO in everything from domains to navigation.
Many people wonder how much a domain name impacts SEO. There's no need to match your domain name to exact keywords. Instead, choose a name that suits your business and is intuitive for potential customers.
Many people are surprised to hear that they should consider SEO even when it comes to their website host. Your hosting company should be well-equipped to handle your site and expected traffic. For optimal site speeds, ensure your host has servers near the largest segments of your target audience. Google considers load time in their ranking algorithm.
Your content management system (CMS) must be usable both on your end to manage content and for search engine crawlers. A poorly planned CMS implementation can impact SEO negatively if it generates content in a way that is unreadable by crawler, silently creates duplicate content, or utilizes sloppy display methods.
Many major CMSs are already optimized for SEO if designed and built correctly. WordPress is powerful enough for most business websites and has a relatively clean user interface. Companies with a larger audience and a more extensive content library might opt for a Drupal site. For the most advanced sites, we can build custom PHP websites.
How will users get around your site? You need to ensure your menus and site structure allow for clear navigation between different pages. Plan your web page hierarchy while developing your website so you won't need to make changes and issue redirects later. Your navigation is heavily tied to link structure and URLs.
Individual web page URLs are just as important as menus in helping users find your content. Structure URLs in a logical way. A blog post URL might follow a structure like this: domain name, category, and blog post title.
Your site's link structure refers to the hierarchy of links within your website. Internal links help guide users around your site and give search engines more information about your site's hierarchy.
A clear structure can even help Google provide a list of links within your site. Search for any major business and you'll find that the first result doesn't just lead you to a home page. Instead, you're also presented with a list of pages on that site. This is made possible by an SEO-optimized link structure.
SEO isn’t something to consider after the fact. Strong SEO starts with the foundation. It's essential for businesses to develop and design websites by considering SEO from the very beginning. To learn more about how we incorporate SEO into our web design process, contact one of our experts at Neon Rain today.