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Building a Website with Strong SEO Foundations

Date Thursday, 05 October 2017 , By: Sammy-Jo , In: Design

When looking for a website builder you should take the same things into consideration that you would if looking for a manual builder:

  • Do they know what they’re doing?
  • How experienced are they?
  • What are their previous builds like?
 

All too often, companies pay for a new website that looks amazing but isn’t designed with SEO in mind and therefore isn’t built with the right foundations to ensure it stands the test of time and performs online.

A website should be so much more than just visually appealing; granted, this is a crucial factor and design should always be a key consideration but in order to deliver a quality website, a web designer should always have 8 key considerations:

 

1. Design / Aesthetics

‘38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive’. (Source: Adobe) The design of your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing in order to hook the user in the first few seconds after landing on your site. Having a bland outdated design, results in high bounce rates and reduced traffic.

 

2. Branding

A website is the main point of reference for a company or organisation, which is why it’s imperative that the branding is clearly defined and in accordance with established brand guidelines. This way, no matter where users are being referred from, they will instantly recognise the brand.

 

3. SEO and ongoing performance

This article is going to focus on the structure of a homepage and how that should be designed with SEO in mind in order to predetermine how much value is passed to each internal page. However, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration to ensure that a website is structured to perform well in search engines.

 

4. UX

User experience is an important process, whereby the user’s journey once on your website is analysed and enhanced to improve navigation and the overall experience / ease of use. ‘88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.’ (Source: Gomez)

 

5. Longevity

Inevitably, every website will require updates in order to stay current, but every website should be designed with the future in mind. A website should be seen as an investment, that will continue to deliver ROI for the foreseeable future. The longevity of a website relies heavily on our next point, the ease of updates and CMS (content management systems).

 

6. Maintenance & Updates

Before investing in a new website, it’s important to make sure that it will be built with a Content Management system (i.e. Joomla or Wordpress) system that will be easy to access and use after completion. Web designers that build websites using their own CMS sometimes restrict the client from making updates independently in the future, often resulting in a permanent tie to the web design company.

To ensure you have full control of your website and are able to make updates as and when you need, without associated costs, you need to ensure that your website provider is using a Content Management System and that they are able to provide you with training.

 

7. Security

It’s important to work with a company that appreciate how important the security of your website is.

The best way to ensure that your website provider will take all of the above into consideration, is to choose a digital company that offers multiple services; this way you can rest assured that they have the knowledge and expertise to recognise and service all of the above, resulting in a website that will perform and compete online.

 

8. Responsive

With the large majority of internet users now using multi-platform devices, ensuring your website is responsive is more important than ever. There is nothing more frustrating than landing on website that crops off half the page, distorts the images and is barely readable; chances are you aren’t going to stay on the site for long, or have a very good impression of the company the site belongs to. If you want to do a quick test to see how your website appears on different devices, just follow the steps in the video below:

 
 

Structuring a Website with Strong SEO Foundations

When you’re building a new website, it can be very easy to get carried away with the aesthetics of the design, but there is so much more to building a strong website than just design. A website build needs to be a combination of skillsets and considerations.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) should be a primary consideration in every website build. Think of your dream car, whether it’s a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, you are first drawn in by its stunning exterior. However, it’s a combination of the bodywork and the powerful engine that gives these cars their reputation. Imagine buying a Bugatti with a 1L engine and faulty mechanics; it wouldn’t exactly be the investment you had in mind. Websites are essentially the same: web design is the bodywork and SEO is the engine that keeps it running and performing.

There are so many factors that need to be taken into account when it comes to SEO influenced website builds, so we’re going to cover just one of these: link dilution.

In order to drive traffic to your website, you need to ensure that users can find your site easily. Rankings determine which position your website appears in when users search for a specific term or keyword. The majority of users will first land on the homepage of your site, therefore this is where the majority of value lies.

If you think of a website as a funnel, the value of traffic is diluted the further into a website you get, so although you may have had 50 visits to your homepage in one day, all of these users will have then taken a different journey on your site and maybe only 2 ended up visiting your contact page. Now think about the structure of your homepage and the number of links you have included. Links are unquestioningly an essential part of a website, but they need to be carefully considered and mapped out in order to disperse value wisely, and not waste it.

 

The homepage example above contains multiple links, which at first glance may not seem to be of great importance, but when you look at these links in more depth you can highlight which are internal and which are external. The greyed out copy of the homepage on the right indicates the internal links with a green dot and the external links with a red dot.

There’s a total of 69 links on the homepage, 19 of which are external links. This means that 28% of the value being passed to the homepage is being handed out to external sites rather than being passed through your own site. We’re not suggesting that you don’t include any external links, just that you’re selective with those you choose and where you place them. For example, we can get rid of 13 external links from this page quite easily, leaving only 11% of the SEO value being passed externally. The links that we could easily remove to improve link dilution are as follows:

  • Clients – In the footer menu you will see 6 links that are all directing users to client websites. These can be moved deeper into the site.
  • Video – If the video towards the bottom of the page is a YouTube video, it’s possible to go into the coding and embed settings to remove the links.
  • Social Media – You may have noticed that the social media links have been duplicated: appearing once at the top right of the navigation menu and once in the footer menu. By removing one set of social media links you are halfling the amount of links to social media.
 

Find out more about the importance of SEO in web design and site structure from our Digital Director, Mike Bunn:

 

If you would like to speak to us about SEO or web design, we'd love to have a chat.

Please contact our friendly team to find out how we can help.

 
Sammy-Jo

By: Sammy-Jo

Sammy enjoys thinking outside the box, finding new ways to attract and engage users. Having graduated with a degree in Media Arts, specialising in Transmedia, she has a broad knowledge of digital media, multi-platform marketing and its consumers. Since joining Blue Frontier, Sammy has enjoyed developing her skills and knowledge of digital marketing, and is constantly striving to think of new ways to market her clients, driving valuable organic online traffic to their businesses.