Having a perfectly functional website that looks beautiful is great but it is not enough if you want to give your brand proper exposure online. If you are serious about targeting a large customer base online, SEO is a must. SEO or search engine optimization is a process of making a site more visible on the search engines like Google and Yahoo. This is one of the most commonly used online marketing tools today.
How is SEO Important for Website Designers?
As a designer, it is your goal to create a fully functional and beautiful site. However, wouldn’t you feel great if you knew that the site you took time and effort to design is now performing spectacularly online? Through SEO, you will create a website that reaches out to the right market segment. You may be able to design a very appealing website but if you don’t take some SEO web designing principles seriously, the site will not be visible in the World Wide Web.
Let’s look at some of the tactics that you should always keep in mind when designing a website.
1. Keyword Research
Any search engine optimization campaign will always focus on certain keywords. Wrong use of keywords is what makes websites lack online visibility. Using the right keywords helps you to target the right market. As a designer, it is important to understand what the business intends to achieve using that website.
Are you creating a site that will target a local market? Does the business want to target a national or global market? Having this information, you can help them to come up with keywords that are relevant to their target market.
3 Steps to find Relevant Keywords:
Step 1: come up with a list of potential keywords. You can get ideas from the products and services the business offers. Try to come up with words and phrases that are relevant but not overly used.
Step 2: Use a keyword research tool like Google Adwords to input your proposed keywords and get more ideas. Using Google Adwords is quite simple; you just enter your keywords and get information on other related keywords and phrases together with their search volumes.
Step 3: create a final keyword list. Try and target keywords with a high search volume and low competition. Make sure you include localized keywords if any.
2. Keyword Positioning
As soon as you have a list of keywords, it is very critical that you know where to place them on your site. As a web designer, you may not handle a lot of content creation so the keyword placement tips that we will give you here are important when you are designing the site. Some of the best places that you should place keywords when designing the site include:
Meta Title and Meta Description and Titles Within
Keywords should be placed on the title tags and Meta description tags on every page. Make sure there are keywords on the H1, H2 and H3 tags as well. When uploading images on the site make sure the alt text has a given keyword.
Internal Links and Outbound Links
All the links on the page should have your target keywords or related keywords. The internal links, footer links and the title attribute on links should have target keywords.
Other places where you can place keywords when creating a site include:
- Bullet points
- Website slogans
- The main website copy
- Names of files and folders
3. An SEO Friendly Website Structure
One of the biggest mistakes that many web designers make is creating navigation that is not search engine friendly. If you choose navigation where most of the links are images instead of text then search engines will find it hard to follow the site. All links and buttons should be text based. Use CSS3 when modifying photos instead of Photoshop to prevent slowing down loading speed.
4. SEO Friendly URLs
Make sure all the website pages have SEO friendly URLs. It is important for search engines to quickly understand what a page is about and that’s why every URL should have a keyword. Including keywords in URLs will make it easier for search engines to index the site. The file names should also be search friendly. Giving your images an appropriate file name will make them appear on Google image search. We will discuss images separately because they are a very integral part of SEO.
5. Optimize your Images
Images are very critical to SEO, but many SEOs do not realize this. Images must be properly optimized for two reasons, to achieve faster loading times and to enhance search engine visibility. Therefore, when uploading images, ensure that they are properly named and provide the alt tag of the image.
How to Optimize Images for SEO
- Keep the image file size as small as possible (it helps those with slow internet connection to get the same quality experience viewing the page).30-100kb is a good optimal size and a resolution of 72dpi.
- Place an image as part of content on a page
- Place an image on a folder with an appropriate name
- Make sure the alt text has a relevant keyword
6. Social Media
A web designer should focus on creating a website that is social-media friendly. A brand can grow tremendously because of social network and interaction with connections over the internet. Social media helps to enhance a brand’s credibility and boost overall growth. To make sure the site you design is social media friendly, place social media sharing buttons on every page. This will make it easy for visitors to share the website content. For more on social media, check out how to optimize SEO for social media.
Use the right SEO tools to achieve the results you’re looking for
Overall, you might never take the first place of Google search results as soon as you finish creating the site. Rankings will improve steadily if you have a solid foundation for a website. By taking these factors in mind, you will be able to create a website that is SEO friendly.