No matter what type of business you are working with, having a website is one of the essential ingredients for success. The web is the first place potential customers go to look for information about the products and services they need, and if you don’t have an online presence, you are missing out on thousands of potential sales.
Having said that, it is important to remember that it takes more than just having a website to succeed on the internet. There are hundreds of other companies providing a similar service to you, therefore it will take a bit of extra effort to capture or lead the market.
For a business that wants to succeed on the net, optimizing for organic search is very important. As a matter of fact, it has been determined that SEO is a crucial element of internet success.
In this article, we will explore a few factors you need to consider not only if you want your website to be SEO friendly but also what to expect from your chosen SEO agency.
Hosting Considerations –
A lot of web owners do not connect the importance of their infrastructure to the success of their website. For instance, most startup businesses or new bloggers are reluctant to invest in their own hosting and would prefer to start with a free hosting partner. While there is really no harm in this, it is not ideal for SEO. Your website needs to meet a certain standard before it can be approved by Google. One of those standards is that you must work with a reliable hosting partner. When you use a free hosting provider for your website, you fail to provide a good user experience to your visitors. Free hosts bombard your visitors with ads and other distractions (How else could they pay for the servers?).
To have an SEO-friendly website, commit to owning your own server space and domain name from the very beginning. Technological advancements have made these resources affordable and you can buy a domain and hosting space from certain sites in your locality at an affordable price. If you want to purchase a domain name for your business in New Zealand, for example, it’s a good idea to visit a site like www.domains4less.co.nz (note the .co.nz TLD) rather than just any .com site you come across. This is because you are sure to get support, services, and a network that better suit your location.
As much as possible, ensure that you give your visitors the security they need by installing an SSL certificate on your website. Back in 2014, Google announced that website security or HTTPS would be used as a ranking factor for determining sites that would come up early in search engine result pages.
Speed Considerations –
No matter how much of a hurry you are in to put your website up on the internet, don’t be in too much of a rush that you overlook the speed of your website. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your visitors will likely go elsewhere to find the information they need. Website loading speed is another one of the factors Google uses to determine how to rank websites. If a search engine discovers that pages on your website are taking a significant time to load, it will definitely affect your page rank. There are several factors that can cause slow-page loading speed – where your website is hosted, the software used in designing it, the theme used, and even the structure and type of content. Pay attention to these details when designing your website so that you don’t end up with website that loads at a frustrating speed. Internet users are looking for websites that can produce information fast and on the go, they aren’t willing to waste time waiting for your website to open. This shows that speed also contributes to user experience.
To please search engines and your potential customers, work with your website developer to ensure that your website meets the minimum requirement for speed. If you already have one, you can use the Google page speed test tool to find out if your website is fast enough.
Design Considerations –
The structure, layout, and navigation of your website will also determine how much traffic it gets. Users who come to your website should be able to get the information they need in the shortest time possible with minimum hassle. This means that you should have properly placed navigation links, well-positioned content, and clear-cut call to actions. We are no longer in the era when complex, high graphic websites are fashionable. The websites of today are minimalist in nature, making use of a lot of white spaces that can contrast nicely with the content on the page. This way, users who land on your website will be able to get the information they need as fast as possible. It may be a good idea to visit your competitor’s websites to see how they have done their own. If you have an ecommerce store, you should also take a look at how your competitors group their products.
At the end of the day, great SEO needs the perfect site structure to work. If your website is well organized, intuitive and easy to use, it will provide your visitors with a clear organization of your content and will naturally guide users to the information they need, and help them take the action you want them to take. Search engine giant Google suggests in their guidelines that your website should have a clear page hierarchy in order to succeed.
Mobile Considerations –
Your website needs to be designed in a way that it loads quickly across a multitude of devices without losing important information. People are increasingly turning to smartphones and mobile devices as a means of consuming content on the internet. It is therefore important that you design your website to perform to a high standard, with platforms and devices in mind. In other words, your website has to look as good on a mobile as it does on a PC.
Mobile responsiveness is another factor Google looks at when ranking websites for SERP. However, you need to note that most websites do not come optimized for mobiles out of the box. If you are building your website using wordpress, there are hundreds of themes that can provide mobile responsiveness. Or, you can configure your website to work with Google accelerated mobile pages.
Whatever decision you take, simply make sure that visitors are comfortable with your website display, regardless of the device or platform they are visiting from.
Please remember when designing your website that it’s your user who you are designing for and not yourself. If you have an existing website take a look at your stats, see what devices are most popular i.e desktop or mobile and ensure that you are optimising your website for the most popular devices.
It’s a good idea to run tests to see how your website performs – If you are doing a gradual redesign you can look at running split tests to compare 2 different ideas and see which one works the best.
Now that we have explored what it takes to have an SEO-friendly website, take another look at your current setup to see if there are any changes you need to make. And, if you are planning on building a new website, discuss best practices for SEO-friendly websites with your web designer.