Website design and SEO

There’s no doubt that the design of your website is crucial when it comes to keeping your business ahead of the competition.

But whilst the look and feel of your site are key, there are also rules you’ll need to follow in the design process to make sure you’re ranking high with search engines like Google and Bing.

If you’re solely focused on the design aspect of your site without paying due consideration to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), all your hard work on creating the perfect-looking site may be wasted.

We’ve created this blog to explain the relationship between web design and SEO and to guide you on how to design a website with SEO in mind.

Why is SEO important?

SEO helps to boost the organic performance of your website. Rather than relying on paid advertisements, for example on social media or via Google Adwords, a robust SEO strategy will get you found by those users looking for your specific product or service.

Through a variety of techniques, your SEO strategy can help your business or organisation to rank highly for certain keywords or phrases across a range of search engines.

Organic traffic is key to the success and growth of many brands, which is why SEO needs to be a major consideration from the outset, before your website is built, rather than an afterthought.

Why it’s important to discuss SEO at the design / redesign phase?

Whether it’s a brand-new website or a redesign of an existing one, SEO needs to be at the forefront of discussions if you want people to find your site easily.

The structure of your site is vital in helping you to maximise the return from your SEO efforts.

A well-structured website will make it easier for you to upload content in the right way and in the right place to help you reach your desired audience.

A thoroughly thought-out web structure will not only make it easier for you – it will help your visitors to find the information they’re looking for, whether that’s services or products, blogs, company information or something else.

Another major consideration at this stage in terms of SEO is how the design of your site performs on different devices. Mobile-readiness and speed are significant organic ranking factors to consider.

SEO friendly website design: How do you design a website with SEO in mind?

So, where do we start? Well, the old adage fail to prepare, prepare to fail is as applicable here as it is anywhere!

Your first step will be to lay out your objectives, considering the essential content and information visitors to your site will need / want to access.

Essentially think about the bigger picture – Where do you want your brand to be, and how do you get there?

At this point, it’s also really important to ensure there is a joined-up approach from your SEO experts and your web design team.

Make sure there is open communication, and they are both on the same page when it comes to the objectives for your site.

Website design and SEO – research phase

There are several core activities you should undertake in the research phase before your project starts in earnest.

Let’s take a look at the steps to take on your SEO friendly web design journey:

Keyword research: Dedicate time to engage in thorough research to understand how prospective customers search for the products or services you offer.

You will also need to look at your competitors’ strategies to understand how they operate. Getting a firm grasp of the keywords you need to focus on will help to inform your content strategy and in the long-term will drive traffic to your site.

Existing content audit: You’ll need to undertake an audit of your existing site (if you have one) to fully understand how it is currently performing.

What pages rank well? What does your customer journey look like? Where do visitors arrive at your site and where do they leave?

This will allow you to understand which pages to keep, and also which pages might be detrimental to your SEO. Google Analytics and Search Console will be valuable tools in this part of the process.

Other considerations for website design and SEO

Redirects: If you have a new URL for your new site, you’ll need a strategy to redirect traffic so it arrives in the right place! This is crucial to preserve the integrity of your brand – you don’t want potential visitors hitting a dead end, and it’s vital for allowing search engines to learn about the new location of your content.

Page speed: The faster your website loads, the better. Sites with a longer load time have a higher bounce rate – that’s bad for your stats, bad for SEO and bad for your brand.

Your SEO expert should be able to guide you on how image optimisation (below), reducing HTTP requests and enabling browser caching can make your website super quick.

Image optimisation: When adding media content to your site, a key consideration is file size. You may be used to using PNGs or Jpegs, but they’re actually surprisingly large files and can affect your site’s speed, and in turn its search engine ranking.

Using WebP files can help keep the file size low, boosting load speeds.

Metatags: These are HTML ‘snippets’ which provide information about webpages to search engines.

They enhance your site’s SEO by improving visibility, keyword relevance and the short descriptions that display in search results.

Internal links: These connect your pages within the website.

This improves SEO in a range of ways and helps users navigate around your site easily and efficiently to find the content they require.

Post-launch SEO services:

If you’ve gone through all of the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to understanding the relationship between website design and SEO and creating a site that ranks well with search engines.

But it doesn’t stop after the build! All of your hard work to get to this point could be wasted if you don’t have a comprehensive strategy to keep your website performing from and SEO perspective.

Working with an expert like ALT Agency post-launch can keep your website on track, hitting the higher echelons of the Google rankings and driving more traffic to your site.

More traffic = more business.

SEO friendly web design with ALT Agency

At ALT Agency we live and breathe SEO – it’s second nature to us. We understand the importance of considering your SEO strategy at every step – in particular the SEO friendly website design aspect.

Getting things right from an SEO perspective at the start of your journey will help you avoid headaches in the future, setting you up for success with a strategy that boosts your brand, boosts your website traffic and boosts your bottom line.

If you need support at any step of your SEO friendly website design journey, get in touch with our team to ensure the investment in your new site is matched with the right SEO support for your needs.