How to Design an SEO-Friendly Website That Google Will Love
There’s no point in creating a website if you don’t know how to attract visitors to it. Want to learn how to get your site to the top of a search engine results page? Keep reading to find out!
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Billions of people use search engines every day, but only less than 5% of them navigate past the first page of Google. Invest in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to design and develop an SEO-friendly website that Google will love.
No matter what industry you are in, your business is an Internet business, and your web page is your online image. People first search for products and services they need on the web.
SEO web design is a way of designing and developing websites to make them search-engine friendly. The better the SEO strategies, the higher your site can rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).
So, here are some of the most important technical and design tips to create good SEO web design.
Technical tips to create an SEO-friendly site
Does web design affect SEO? Absolutely. But before we get into the design part, let’s consider some vital technical steps that will help your website rank better.
1. Keyword research
Every online purchase begins with a few crucial words typed in the search engine. So, your site needs to contain all the relevant keywords connected to your offer.
But this doesn’t just mean including words that will bring people to your website. The point is to get the right type of people to your website—those interested in purchasing your product or service.
The most valuable asset for keywords research is Google Ads Keyword Planner. You only have to create a list of 5 to 10 high quality keywords and phrases. Keywords Planner will then generate a report of the previous 12 months with graphs and search volumes.
After that, make a spreadsheet with the words that get the most attention and create your keyword list.
Keywords should be included in all your main website pages, meta data, and content marketing efforts.
2. On-page SEO
On-page SEO is 50% of your strategy. This means optimizing the structure of your page so web crawlers can easily find the keywords you are targeting.
You can use a content management system like Google Webmaster to see if your site is being crawled. There are a few parts of your web page that must be optimized.
- The body - You should include targeted keywords in the body of your content at least once if your post is short. For longer contents gradually raise the amount of keywords. Don’t over do it though, as Google can detect keyword stuffing and penalize your website.
- SEO toolkits - One of the essential qualities to look for in keywords is their relevance to your website. Make sure you look beyond the most obvious keywords that are related to your services or products. Doing keyword research is crucial to help you identify the phrases with the most search volume. For this task, you need a reliable SEO toolkit, such as SemRush ,SERPpro, Copyscape, Screaming Frog, and many more.
- Images - Always use keywords in the alt tag when you use images.
- Page title - It is vital to create a compelling page title that people want to click.
- Meta description - Meta description is what you see under the page title when you search for the targeted keywords.
- H1 title tag - This component must always include the crucial keywords for your blog post or page.
- URL structure - Incorporate keywords in the URL slug and use appropriate anchor text for any external links.
4. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is everything you can think of that you can do outside your website to improve your ranks. Off-page SEO is a must if you want to score an effective SEO plan.
- Blogging - Writing an interesting and informative blog is a crucial part of content marketing and a great way to make people come back to your site .
- Social media sites - Creating an account on various social media platforms is a must. Make sure to sign up on Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, Google+, and some niche-specific social media sites such as Twitch.
- Link building - Link building shows your site is relevant and can help increase your domain rating. Add internal links to show your content is well-researched, and try to get backlinks from similar sites.
- Guest blog marketing - Communicate with your audience on the blogs within the same niche as yours. This way, you will get more followers and enhance brand awareness.
4. Fast load times
Did you know that 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? So, loading speed directly affects your bounce rate (percentage of people who leave your site after viewing only one page), which has a negative impact on your search engine rankings.
The most important part of increasing page speed is optimizing images and media for web use. This includes compressing and resizing images, using the correct file type such as WebP, implementing lazy loading which means images are loaded as users scroll down rather than loading all at once, etc.
Besides that, here are a few other tips to increase your website’s loading speed:
- Minimize HTTP requests: Reduce the number of external requests, such as stylesheets, scripts, and fonts. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve static assets from a server closer to the user, reducing latency.
- Leverage browser caching: Set appropriate cache headers to instruct the user's browser to store certain files locally for a specified period. This reduces the need to reload resources for returning visitors.
- Minimize redirects: Minimize the use of redirects, especially unnecessary ones. Every redirect adds to the load time.
- Minimize third-party scripts: Limit the use of third-party scripts and services (e.g., social media widgets, analytics tools). Each one can add extra HTTP requests and slow down your site.
- Implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): If your website has a mobile version, consider using Google's AMP framework to create lightweight and fast-loading mobile pages.
- Consider a faster hosting solution: If your website is still slow despite optimization, consider upgrading to a faster hosting plan. Or explore managed hosting or cloud solutions that can scale as needed.
SEO web design tips
Creating SEO-friendly web design requires both design and technical knowledge. So, if you decide to take the DIY route and design your own site, here are some things you must consider.
Create easy navigation
How does web design affect SEO? Well, when a user lands on your website, one of the first things they experience is the ease of navigation. Your website gets a thumbs up if the user can easily access the information they require without wandering a lot.
The navigation aspect of your web design should be self-explanatory and easy to follow. Use broader headings and don’t scatter subtopics all over the place. Also use menus to group information in a user-friendly way.
A majority of internet users access the internet using their mobile devices today.So, mobile friendliness is one of the key aspects of a SEO-friendly web design.
Responsiveness means that all your web design elements should adapt to the device used to access them. The images, animations, text elements, etc., should adapt to the size of the screen of any given mobile device, be it smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.
If the majority of your traffic comes from mobile devices, you might consider adopting the mobile-first approach. This means that you start from the mobile version of your site.
Use the right visual elements
Visual elements attract the user’s attention and keep them hooked to your website. That attention leads to engagement and forms part of the user experience. Therefore, having visual elements such as images, videos, and infographics adds to the attractiveness of your website.
That said, don’t overdo the visual elements as they can quickly decrease your page loading speed and overwhelm the user. An excess of visual elements makes your website feel cluttered and negatively impacts the user experience.
Here are some of the most vital elements for effective website design and SEO.
Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons form an essential part of seo design, as they allow leads to take decisive action, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, subscribing to alerts about new products, etc.
Make sure that you use CTA buttons at the right places on each website’s web page (neither too soon, nor too late). Of course, CTA button design should be clearly noticeable, and it helps to use the right CTA words (result-oriented, action verbs, etc.)
This is usually the big image found on your homepage or landing page. Apart from being visually appealing, hero images need to clearly convey your value proposition. You wouldn’t put an image of a cake on a burger restaurant website, right?
You probably know that most people won’t read large chunks of text (or sometimes won’t read anything at all). So a convincing hero image can be a tremendous ally in the SEO process, as it may help engage visitors and entice them to stay longer on your site.
We’ve already mentioned that images and graphics can also bring traffic to your site, so you should definitely make design a vital part of your content strategy.
Most sites these days have a blog section, as posting new and informative content will help you rank for relevant keywords. However, don’t forget to break up the text with images to make it easy to read.
Still, remember that blog images aren’t just used for improving readability. An informative image like an infographic can also appear in Google image search results, which can increase website traffic. Of course, don’t forget to add alt tags for each image in your content management system.
This useful table created by ManyPixels designers, takes top spot in the image search results for the query “Wix vs Shopify”.
Create a sound page structure
A well-structured page is easy on the user’s eye, encouraging the user to read the entire content on a given page.
Here are some tips to improve the structure of individual pages of your website:
- Use header tags. Header tags are a great way to establish the content hierarchy on a given page. They also help search bots in extracting a summary of a given post. Based on these tags, the search bots can also discern if the content is organized like other high-ranking pages on the same subject.
- Place a limit on your font styles and maintain uniformity throughout various pages.
- Make it a point not to extend paragraphs beyond three-four lines.
- Settle for easily readable font sizes. Anything around 15-16 pixels works best.
We hope this sheds some light on the connection between web design and SEO. While there are lots of website templates and affordable or free website builders you can use to create your site, this isn’t always the best idea.
As you can see, creating seo-friendly web design requires a lot of thought and skills. Since your website is one of your company’s most valuable assets, hiring a professional web designer is usually the smarter and better choice.
If you want to get a custom website, but don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on one, there’s a great solution right at your fingertips! Try our unlimited website design services, with prices starting from just $549 a month!
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.