Here are 10 essential SEO tips for a web design company to create sites that play nicely with Google and have high Search Engine visibility.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a specialised field but there are basic tips that a Web Design company ideally should know before they pass a finished website onto an in-house SEO expert or external SEO company. It is no longer enough for a designer to create brilliant sites, design has evolved and to remain competitive, they need to have at least a basic understanding of the following SEO concepts.
Write Semantic and Valid Markup code
Semantic and validated source code help Search Engines to better read and interpret the page. Semantics refer to two things in the context of website design: proper naming and proper structure (heading tags, paragraph, lists and so on). It serves dual purposes; not only is it easier for Search Engine spiders to crawl and index your website, it is also easier for clients who edit the code.
Include a Search Engine-friendly CMS
It’s best if your web design company installs a Search Engine-friendly CMS which is really the foundation of all your SEO content. Choosing the right CMS allows you to easily add, edit and delete content on your website, integrate extra plugins to enhance its design and functionality and perform basic optimisation of your website without having to be an SEO expert. With the CMS installed, you will be able to do the following:
- edit, update and delete content easily
- create customised URLs
- optimise anchor links
- add and customise title tag, meta tags and description tags
- optimise images (image SEO)
- implement 301 redirects
Create keyword-rich URLs
Search Engines use the URL to make sense of the web page and rank it accordingly for relevant search terms. A web design company should use meaningful URLs such as http://www.iiworks.com/internet-marketing-tips-ideas/web-design-company as opposed to a generic URL such as http://www.iiworks.com/?page_id=152.
Integrate keyword mapping
Keyword mapping is where you map out the pages of your site along with the keywords that you are going to be targeting and assign your keywords to web pages, where relevant. This includes on-page optimisation such as your URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, image file names, heading tags, body copy and so on. If your web design company can get this right at the beginning, it will save an SEO company a lot of time in optimising your website.
Balanced ratio of text to images
It’s best if a website has a good ratio of text to images. All images on a website should have ‘ALT’ attributes which specify alternative text (ALT text) if the image does not render correctly. However, this text can also be used to describe the image but make sure to resist the temptation to spam it with keywords. By having a good balance of text to images, each page of your website can be optimised correctly for relevant keywords.
Add robots.txt files
By default, Search Engines will crawl over every page they can find in your website. If you have pages that host sensitive material, are similar or you have duplicate content that you do not want to be crawled, your web design company can assist by adding a robots.txt in your root folder. When a Search Engine crawler comes to your site, it will look for the file which tells them which web pages of your site should be visited and which web pages should be ignored.
Use Flash sparingly
While Flash websites may look great, the functionality of the website sometimes suffers and what’s more, although they are getting better at it, Search Engines find it harder to index Flash-based websites. Keep your Flash to a minimum, and avoid using it for text. Most SEO companies would still recommend having an HTML-style navigation and content template which will allow you to have the best of both worlds.
Generate site maps
Every website created by a web design company should have both an xml site map that can be submitted to Search Engines and an html sitemap listing all your pages. Site maps serve two purposes; it makes it easier for a spider to search and crawl your site and it’s also useful for visitors looking for information on your site. However, if you have a lot of hits on this page, it may indicate that the navigation of your site needs addressing.
Increase loading times
Not only do users place more value on a faster loading site, Search Engines such as Google look more favourably on these sites as well – site speed is now a factor included in Google’s algorithms. Large images can cause websites to be slow and sluggish but there are many factors that affect page speed that need to be addressed by your website designer. This is an important and valid concern for a web design company.
Use Google Webmaster Tools
As the most dominant Search Engine in the world, it’s critical to the success of your website to get feedback from Google; therefore create an account for Google Webmaster Central tools. You can submit your sitemaps (xml), analyse search data, see information about how Google crawls, indexes and ranks your site, who is linking to your pages and much more – this is a must for any website.
With every website design, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) must be a high priority and should be factored at the start of the process and not merely seen as an afterthought. Internet Intelligence Works is a full-service agency including a web design company, SEO copywriting team, SEO consultants and link analysts that collaborate together to create websites that reach their conversion goals.