Your website is the center of your digital marketing world. It’s where you have the most control and where all digital marketing rivers run toward.
Generally, the largest of those traffic sources is organic search.
Yet, all too often, SEO is not deeply embedded when a new website is being designed (or redesigned), and SEO thinking is often only addressed after a site has launched.
This is a problem.
When building a new website as a marketing vehicle for your business, SEO considerations should be included in the planning stages before a line of code is written.
My team and I have helped hundreds of businesses design and build sites that take their SEO and marketing to the next level.
Unfortunately, we have also helped many businesses recover SEO traffic after a botched website redesign that failed to factor in SEO.
This article explores why – and how – SEO plays an integral part in the website design process.
It details exactly what you need to consider to build a site for search marketing and lead generation and how to focus on what your users want to help keep the Google gods on your side.
We will also dive into common pitfalls businesses looking to build a new website and maintain SEO traffic may encounter.
1. How to develop an SEO-friendly website
The following are the key areas to consider in building a truly optimized website.
- Fundamentals: Domains, hosting and CMS.
- Crawling: The technical bit.
- Information architecture: How to structure your SEO-friendly site.
- Mobile: Mobile-friendly sites need more than just responsive design.
- Page speed: Fast sites make for happy users.
- Usability: Confuse them and lose them.
The rest of this article will dive into each of these points in detail.
There are a few core elements that set the stage for a well-optimized website design process.
Your domain name is the entry point into your website, and there should be one single (canonical) domain. You may have others, but they should all point (redirect) to this one.
Our business is called Bowler Hat. We operate in the UK. We are a web-based business. It naturally follows that our domain is www.bowlerhat.co.uk. All subdomains 301 redirect back to the main URL www.bowlerhat.co.uk. We have a few domain variations that 301 redirect back to the main URL. This all makes sense.
Your domain should be brand led in the majority of cases, and having www.crammed-my-keywords-in-here.com is not going to help you rank today (1999 just called and wants its SEO back).
You can buy hosting for $1 a month – but guess what? It is not very good.
Slow, cruddy hosting creates a poor user experience and ultimately creates a site that Google is not so keen to show in the search results.
Buy the best hosting you can afford and ensure your site has good uptime and runs well on it.
In most cases, hosting should follow common-sense rules:
- Be situated where