Search engine optimisation involves a multifaceted approach to digital marketing. SEO stretches beyond basics such as keyword optimisation to complex technical practices. If you’re trying to draw traffic to your site organically, then optimisation should begin on the website itself.
You’ve probably heard about on-page SEO, but what really makes a website as a whole SEO friendly? The SEO performance of a site is embedded deep in its core during design and development. You need to create your website with SEO in mind from the very start. Here are five criteria for designing an SEO-friendly website. And don’t worry, it’s not going to get technical.
Prioritise Site Performance and Loading Speed
There is a lot of debate about how long a web page should take to load. A recent study found that it takes, on average, 10 seconds to fully load a page on a desktop and well over 20 seconds on a mobile device. However, the general rule of thumb is that a site should show some responsiveness within the first two or three seconds. A page that takes longer than three seconds to load begins to experience some significant bounce rates according to Think with Google.
Internet users and search engines don’t like to wait around for pages to load. Google is very clear on the fact that page performance and loading speed are critical ranking factors. It’s crucial to keep your site’s load time below the three-second threshold to avoid high bounce rates, poor UX, and unfavourable SERP ranking.
Create a User-Friendly Layout and Navigation Scheme
It’s essential to make your site as easy-to-use as possible by using an intuitive design scheme for the layout and navigation. Make sure that everything is clear and understandable. Use responsive feedback to guide visitors around the site, including clearly marked and identifiable features (buttons, links and labels), and minimise clutter to avoid confusing or misleading the users.
Internet users expect certain features of a website to be in specific places and behave in a particular way. So, even if you are designing a unique website, make sure to follow the general proven approach of web design to not frustrate your site visitors. Remember, user experience is one of Google’s ranking factors, and good UX is achieved by harmonising design and functionality.
Employ Responsive Design for Mobile Users
Mobile internet traffic has gone up over the last few years. It accounts for just over half of the total global online traffic. Google has already identified this trend and continues to encourage webmasters to develop mobile-friendly websites through initiatives such as mobile-first indexing and accelerated mobile pages.
Mobile-friendly design is a key aspect of modern web development. The best approach is designing a website that scales well over a variety of platforms while retaining its essential functionality – this is called responsive design. The alternative is developing a separate website for mobile users, which isn’t always the better option.
Optimise Your Content
You’re probably well aware of content optimisation – it’s SEO 101. But it’s often easy to overlook some of these fundamental SEO practices. Moreover, SEO-centred content management keeps evolving.
Firstly, make sure you take advantage of all the content management and optimisation features available today — things like keyword optimisation, enriched text, high-quality material, meta descriptions and excerpts. And secondly, stay in tune with the latest trends in content optimisation. Today, these trends include long-tail keywords for voice search and Q&A material for Google’s featured snippets.
Don’t Forget Internal and External Links
Internal links are links leading to pages within the same sites, while external links lead to pages outside the site. Internal links help search bots crawl and index your pages. They also encourage visitors to browse the site and stay for longer. All this favours organic ranking.
External links, on the other hand, enhance brand authority and credibility. But only as long as you link to authoritative, high-ranking sites that are related to your brand or industry. This way, search bots can associate your website to its niche by following the external links.
A successful SEO campaign demands an SEO-friendly website; there is no way around it. An SEO-friendly site needs to be UX-focused and able to accommodate modern SEO practices. Take your time as you design your website to make sure it ticks all the SEO boxes. The design options you choose during development can make or break your SEO efforts.
Are you struggling with optimising your site? We are here to help. At Duelling Pixels, we specialise in bringing professionally crafted SEO-oriented websites to life. Get in touch with us today and learn more about our web development and SEO services.