SEO & Web Design Should Occupy The Same Conversation
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a complicated subject when it comes to business owners. There are so many elements and pieces to the puzzle of getting your business website to page one of Google that it is daunting for SEO experts to explain every step of the way to search engine domination.
SEO Work Is Subtle
SEO is not exactly straight forward as to what you are paying for. Many SEO agencies supply end of the month reports, but it still remains a mystery as to the daily work that went into the results shown. In the end, if the business owners see their website ranking page one of Google for their desired search terms, then they are happy. However, as most SEO experts know, the magic does not happen overnight.
Web Design Is More Frontend
Web design, on the other hand, is more of an aesthetic project where the end result is a good looking website that the business owner can “touch” and “feel”. If things don’t look exactly right, they have the power to dictate changes and add/remove certain elements. The work is on the frontend and more in the business owners hands.
Should We Combine The Two?
When an SEO expert is introduced to a new project, one of the tasks is to establish how the website is set up. Judging the graphical design of the site is not really the task, but rather analyzing the platform and structure of the website. Elements such as the structure of the content, and whether the site is indexed by Google are extremely important when starting SEO.
When an SEO company such as KKP Golden Connection takes on a new client, the first suggestion is to move their website to an SEO friendly platform such as WordPress. “Some clients may have a pre-established aversion to moving to WordPress, but in reality, WordPress has become more than just a blogging platform, and is by far the most SEO friendly environment to work with.” Explains Pete Currington, Web Designer of KKP.
The Most Common Problems With Website Designs and SEO
The first issue with most web designs is that designers and business owners only focus on the “beauty” aspect of the homepage. While it is important for your site to reflect the look of your business, there are other important elements of a homepage. Having a decent amount of content relating to your field of business is very important. Underneath all your fancy slogans there should be rich content about what services you provide. This content should be SEO friendly, meaning it should reflect what search terms you are trying to attract. Google is reading your website. Without rich content, the Google bots will be confused as to exactly what your business is really about. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward is telling, in layman’s terms, what your business is offering. Those 300 plus words will significantly increase your SEO standings.
The next issue with heavy web design is that it can tend to be very image heavy. There was a time when web designers built websites entirely with Photoshop. This means that every word was actually part of an image. Google can’t read words within images. Google can, however, read image filenames and tags. While having images on your site is important, only using them in the correct way can help your SEO. Too many images can lead to slow page loading times, a big “NO” for Google rankings.
How Should I Start My Business Website?
Most businesses are so eager to get their site up and running that they get desperate and either try to do it themselves or they find a web designer to throw something up. While this gets you a spot in the infinite space of the Internet, it does not get your website exposure. You can compare it to getting your business cards made at Staples, but just letting them collect dust on your desk.
Before you even have your website made, you should consult with an SEO specialist to get a broad overview of the goals and objectives of your website. Rather than let the aesthetic design aspect lead the way, allow the business initiative to lead. This will give you a better idea of what elements your website will need. It will also save you, or the SEO team, the hassle of having to completely redesign your website to be compatible for SEO. This will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.
Tips On Following Good Web Design Practice For SEO
- Get on WordPress
Yes, many web techies out there will cringe at this, but you should insist that your website be built on a WordPress platform. Some will argue that it’s not secure, or it’s this and that. Experience shows that WordPress is the ultimate SEO platform, period.
- Be prepared for a massive amount of content.
In the world of SEO, content is king. The more content and SEO specialist has to work with, the faster the web ranking domination happens. No one knows your business like you do. Don’t rely on the SEO specialist to write your content. It will be expensive and it may not be your company’s voice.
- Have Images Ready
While stock images can be ok filler, it’s always best to have your own images. Having unique images is actually a huge bonus for SEO and web design.
- Website Ownership
Always remember that you own your website. Make sure the company you are working with remembers this as well. You should always have access to your website. With a platform like WordPress, you should be able to log in and edit your content anytime you want.
Always make sure your website is responsive on all devices. This is a commonly overlooked aspect by graphic designers.
In conclusion, it is apparent that SEO & Web Design belong in the same discussion. In fact, SEO should be the first topic as within the SEO strategy is the entire online business strategy. The website design will fall into this strategy and be a tool to reaching the business goals.