SEO-Friendly Website Design and Development Guidelines
Whether you are experienced or a novice, building a new website can be a challenge. There’s a lot of things to keep in mind. It’s easy to overlook something. Even if you have a trusted web designer or developer, even the best can miss things.
It is even harder if you’re worried about your SEO campaign.
Whenever I consult on project like this, I start with a set of new website guidelines for SEO. Preventing problems is always cheaper and faster than fixing them.
Would you like a copy of my SEO web design and development best practices document?
Both design and development can affect your SEO efforts. Sometimes mistakes made along the way can devastate your SEO results. Here’s some of the way things can go wrong.
What does SEO mean in web design?
How your website is designed can affect your SEO efforts. For example, Google needs to read your content to know what your page is about. If your designer avoids words or hides them, Google might not like your site.
This is also an issue when it comes to page speed. Designers like to add fancy features to a page. Sometimes these features are cool, but offer little benefit. With each of these features, your site has to load extra code. It’s code-bloat like this that can lead to a slow website. To have a good foundation for SEO, you need a fast-loading website.
Of course, the most important way web design affects SEO is in the call to action. SEO is not just about “ranking.” You want to rank so people visit your site. You don’t just want a visitor, you want them to take an action (call or contact you, for instance). Good design helps users take the most important call-to-action. Without this, your site might “rank” but you might not get any more business.
What is SEO in web development?
Web development can make or break your SEO efforts. Decisions your developers make could hurt Google’s ability to view your website. When you build a new website, make sure your developers know what Google needs to read and index your site.
Some developers have one goal: to make the website “work.” While we all want this, we can’t make it work for people without considering how it will work for Google. Sometimes these are two different things. Even developers with a little SEO experience can miss this.
Why is responsive web design good for SEO?
Google is evaluating your site based on your mobile experience. To this, Google recommends responsive web design for most sites. However, it can only help your SEO efforts if done correctly. Just because someone claims to know responsive web design, doesn’t mean they know how to do it right. It’s like SEO- everyone has it on their resume, but few actually understand how it works.
Responsive design is a result of design and development efforts. For developers, it’s all about the code (using media queries, etc). For designers, a good responsive website was built from a mobile-first perspective. That means you start from the mobile version of the site and expand it into the desktop version. For some designers, this is a completely new way of thinking. They’re used to cutting-down a desktop site into a mobile site. There are a lot of SEO advantages if you begin your design from a mobile-first perspective.
There are other options for a mobile website. Some recommend a separate site for mobile users. Others push AMP as a mobile solution. Some people will tell you to focus on a mobile app. While some of these options might work for some, a responsive website works for everyone. Build a responsive website first- and investigate opportunities from these other options, later.
Whether you are just starting a new website design, or just coming to the end, it’s no too late to have someone double-check it for you. Even if something is terribly wrong, it can be better to delay your website’s launch to fix any SEO problems than to launch a site that tanks in Google. Feel free to download the guidelines (using the form, above) or contacting Reliable Acorn for help.