At Rouge we are proud to be amongst the small number of web design firms that understand that Search Engine Optimisation, whilst being vitally important for any business that wants to attract business online, but is also something that needs to being taken into account at the very start of the process of web design.
All Digital Marketing Roads Lead to Your Website
If your digital marketing is properly managed your website will become the focal point of your digital world. All ‘roads’ will lead there, be that road one from Facebook, Twitter, Email shots, Adwords or even TV advertising (well it is digital these days isn’t it). The largest route is however, normally, in anycase, that of Organic Search Traffic, and in the UK, that means Google.
Most business people understand the value of traffic from Search Engines, one of the reasons being that such traffic normally is generated just at the right time for that potential customer. This is because when someone types in a query, they often want an answer to a problem or want to buy something, so if you can get your business in front of them then, you could well make a sale, or at least start the process off.
But, saying all that, in many cases businesses don’t consider asking about SEO until after their website has been designed, and in many cases after it has been live for a few months and does not generate the shed load of traffic they thought it would.
This article shows just how SEO needs to be integrated into the whole web design process (just like we do at Rouge) so that our clients end up with a site that not only looks great, but one that is also built with search marketing and lead generation in mind. This process also has to ensure that the ‘User Experience’, this including things like easy navigation and fast loading times are taken into account, as otherwise you can fall foul of Google’s ‘rules’.
In essence, this post covers the process by which we ensure that your next site is a lean, mean online marketing machine.
That Same Old Story.
The story normally follows a very similar path, in that we get a call from a business that includes one or more of the following:- “Our new website is not performing as well as the last one”, or “before the new site we had lots of rankings, now they’ve all gone”. The plea is always the same though, in that they want their SEO improved.
In many cases we can make a series of changes, some large, some small that will get the site back to where it was before it was redesigned, in many cases improving on the rankings and traffic, But, In some cases the changes can be complex and that means that the client has to spend a lot of money when, in reality, they should not have had to.
So What Is An SEO-friendly Website
The one thing that search engine marketing professionals agree on is that a ‘Search Engine Friendly website’ is a must. But what is an SEO-friendly site? Basically it is a site that enables a search engine’s bots (those ‘spiders’ you may have heard about) to be able to find and read the pages wherever they are on the across the site.
Building an SEO-friendly site is not rocket science, but it does requires careful adherence to some fundamental points. The first and most important issue (even above SEO) is to know just what you want the site to achieve and what message you want to put across. You also have to understand what you target market wants and is looking for.
Those Fundamental Points
The choice of a domain name is important as, contrary to what people think, including your main keywords in the domain can be of assistance in getting those all important rankings, But it must make sense to have that domain name.
From a completeness and marketing perspective, it also makes sense to buy and register the domains that look similar, even if this is just to stop your competitors having them, but do make sure that you redirect these to your main domain name, as otherwise you can really
Where You Host Your Site
This area is one that needs careful consideration too, as if you choose the cheapest hosting service, you could end up with a really SLOW site, something that will annoy not you’re your visitors but also Mr Google, so don’t be tempted to go for those cheap offers you may see.
The country you host in can also affect matters, especially if you have a .com site and then host it in the USA, as then the UK version of Google can think that your main market place is in the USA and not in the UK.
Choosing the right CMS is also important, WordPress being the most popular today. However, there are others and some like Drupal can be the best ones to select in some instances as it speeds sites up and is more secure.
The Issue of Crawling
The next step is to make sure that each pages can be found, whilst the second is to make sure that there is something worth finding when the Google Bots get there.
This latter point may seem obvious, but you have to understand that these Bots need to abe able to read the content of the page, something that they can’t do (well) if the page mostly consists of images, Flash or videos . This does not mean that you can’t include them, just that you have to make sure that there is something there for Google too.
Using the Titles and Header Tags Correctly
The ‘Title’ of a page is the most important bit of ‘real estate’ on a page, so you have to make sure it is used wisely. In other words, make sure it gives the ‘reader’ a very good idea about what the page is all about.
Similarly, making sure that the Header Tags are thoughtfully used, as again these help all to understand what the page is all about.
If all of the above is done well, then both the human and search engine visitors should be able to tell what a page is about very quickly.
There is more to Web Design though, making sites Mobile Friendly being vital, whilst the issue of Schema is also becoming more important. More on these in a later post.