Your website is like your “storefront.” You should put as much thought into your virtual storefront as you would to the front window display at a traditional store on Main Street. Your website needs to attract customers and keep them coming back for more through a professional website design and optimization techniques.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of designing a website so that it appears among the top results when an online search is performed by someone who is looking for what you have to offer. Elements of the website — the site architecture, navigation, content and linking — all need to be carefully assessed and fine- tuned to ensure optimal performance with search engine algorithms.
But search is not just about rankings, and any website should also focus on your business objectives and your intended audience — your customers. Companies that have websites that their customers love to use and that enjoy a high degree of visibility online, will enjoy benefits that can go straight to the bottom line.
If you are considering updating your site, or undertaking a complete redesign, conduct an audit of your existing site first to understand your current traffic, rankings and search engine visibility:
- Study your website’s analytics data to see which of the current pages are drawing traffic to the site. You’ll want to have an understanding of which pages are the most popular entry points and which pages are the most “sticky”.
- Examine the bounce rate and time spent on each page.
- What are your top referring non-branded keyword phrases? You want to avoid jeopardizing your position on the SERP for the pages that are ranking for these phrases.
- Dig a little deeper and develop an understanding of your long-tail keyword traffic.
- Understand which search engines are bringing traffic to your pages. Once current web traffic has been analyzed and the most popular pages have been identified, try to preserve their content on the new/updated site, if possible.
- Also look at the aesthetics of your site:
- Is there an appearance issue?
- Does the current site look out of date?
- Are customers having problems with slow-loading pages, or a non-intuitive navigation system?
- Is your website suffering from poor online visibility, lack of traffic, or meaningless traffic?
Key points related to Web design.
Content is King — You have probably heard that expression over and over, but when it comes to search engines and their ability to crawl, index and rank websites, content is what holds the greatest influence. Optimize the content around the keyword phrases you are attempting to achieve top organic rankings for.
When preparing to launch your new site, be sure to have relevant, informative and optimized content for both the users and search engine spiders to read. From a user’s point of view, content is the one single reasons to visit your site. Give users what they want – relevant and timely information.
Page Size is Important — Too little text or too much text can negatively affect how the search engine perceives the page’s relevance. As best practice, an ideal page would have about 300-600 words. However, always consider your customers first, and make sure you provide them with the content they need. The search engines are always trying to identify good, relevant in- formation for the searcher, so keep that in mind first and foremost. Ensure the writer can answer these questions: “What is the purpose of this web page? Why would people come to it? What should they do when they get here? Is it an easy and positive experience?”.
Site Architecture and Sitemaps — An SEO-friendly site architecture can be achieved by combining a keyword-rich breadcrumb navigation folder structure and relevant category interlinking.
Make Effective use of Text Navigation and Keyword-Rich Text — Interlinking of site pages can ensure that both search engines and visitors are able to access all of the important site content. Inbound Link Quality (a key ranking factor used by the search engine algorithms) can be improved with effective use of keyword-rich text links.
Optimize for Search — Optimize your images, video, press releases and blog(s) for search. This is some- thing that should be ongoing but can be easily accomplished when completing a website redesign.
Test Design Changes — Set up a test environment to test everything from home page mockup to site navigation and other on-page optimization factors. ?