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8 Considerations to Build a Website With Maximum SEO Potential

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When building a website from scratch, to make it both usable for visitors and optimized for the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing for good visibility, findability and traffic, some SEO components need to be incorporated into the design of the site and its architecture right from the get-go. Sure you can develop a website without SEO strategies in place and later optimize it but it’s most efficient to do it from the beginning. It’s like building a house with hardwood floors and taupe paint with the intention to later change it to carpet flooring and olive green paint. Changes can of course be made but it will eat up additional time and resources.

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With each passing year, companies increasingly understand the importance of sound SEO strategies for the successful online performance of websites. After all, your website could be the sleekest and prettiest of all websites but if it is not structured properly and ergo doesn’t rank well up the SERPs, what’s the point?

8 SEO components to incorporate into the design and architecture of a website from the very beginning

1. Avoid “code bloat” by keeping the website layout as simple as possible

With HTML and CSS, there are a thousand and one ways to achieve any result you want but that does not necessarily mean that all the solutions are created equal. To avoid “code bloat”, keep the layout of your website as simple as possible and avoid using unnecessary code. You may think the extra code is harmless as long as the website looks good for users but this is not the case. For a start, simple code is recommended because it is more likely to work in different browsers. Then of course unnecessary code means bigger files and therefore slower page load times as well as increased chances of crawling issues.

2. Use simple-to-understand URLs

URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors. So if you’re trying to determine what type of URL structure to use with your new website, remember that visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs. Search engines like Google are good at crawling all types of URL structures but making your URLs as simple as possible is a good SEO practice because they clearly convey the subject matter of your content.

3. Keep your website navigation simple and descriptive

When building a new website, a key consideration is keeping the navigation structure simple and efficient to make it easy for visitors as well as the search engines to follow. In fact, many eye-tracking and usability studies have shown that the best positions for a website’s main navigation menu is either across the top of the page or vertically down the left side.

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How to Create a Mobile-Friendly Website for Your Visitors

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Let’s start this post with a little exercise. Using a mobile device, access your website.

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What do you see?

  • Can you access the pages easily?
  • Can you read the pages easily?
  • Can you find all the important information?
  • Is it hard to use?

Here is the deal: the desktop version of a website might look great but unless it’s mobile-friendly, it might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device, requiring the user to constantly pinch and zoom to consume content. This can lead to a frustrating user experience and subsequently the visitors abandon the site for greener pastures in the form of your competitor’s mobile-friendly site, which is readable and therefore immediately usable.

Did you know that, in the United States, 94% of people use their smartphone to search for local information? Even more interesting is the fact that 77% of mobile searches occur at places where desktop computers are available, namely at home and at work. The translation of these statistics is simple: Whether you are selling products to people or you are running a business blog to build trust and authority among your potential buyers, mobile is critical to your business and your website needs to provide a good experience for users, whether they are using their desktop computer to access it or their mobile devices.

But how can you optimize a website to look good and offer users a full mobile experience?

1. Make your Website Easy to Use for Customers

If you are a large men’s athletic footwear store, your goal is to make it easy for potential customers to complete certain tasks. For example, you may want customers to:

  • Pick your site from the SERPs after searching for shoes or men’s athletic footwear to buy
  • Browse through your selection of products
  • Check out your blog posts and product reviews
  • Get your local address
  • And ultimately purchase some men’s sneakers or men’s tennis shoes

Outline these tasks and design your website so it streamlines the process for users and help them complete these tasks through a minimum number of user interactions. At the end of the day, designing a site to be mobile-friendly is based on the principle of prioritization. Once you know the most important tasks your customers perform on mobile, your site should be designed to support these tasks and support ease of use too. The quality of a mobile site matters!

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How Web Design & SEO Can (& Should!) Work Hand-in-Hand

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While having an aesthetic appeal is one of the key components of a website, it is only one of the aspects to take into account when it comes to web design. The main concern should always be getting visitors to the site and then working on the statistics when it comes to conversion. Everything else is secondary. When you have a website that attracts a lot of traffic and then converts visitors into paying customers and leads, you know that you are doing something right.

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Working the Game Backwards

A lot of today’s web designers use concepts that have already been proven to work. There are certain models that have proven to make your website SEO-friendly while at the same time able to convert visitors into customers. Some of the key components that a website should have that will help lead to these goals include the following:

  • The site is easy to navigate
  • The Google robots can index it easily
  • It is aesthetically pleasing
  • The site shows well on multiple devices
  • The pages load easily and quickly
  • It is user-friendly for visitors

The Infinite Scroll Design

With an infinite scroll, all of the content will appear on a single page but at the same time the page can load quickly. In contrast, with a regular website that has all of the content on one page, there’s going to be a major problem with the loading time. By using a Bootstrap or Backbone framework, however, the content will load as you scroll down. Think of Facebook. The page pops up quickly when you type in the URL and if you’re looking at somebody’s page, more content loads up the further down you scroll. Google loves this type of web design and it’s extremely user-friendly as well.

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Don’t Click Back! Don’t Let Your Visitors Click Away Either

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Ask any experienced webmaster and they will all confirm the same thing – no matter how many eyeballs or visitors you get to your webpage, chances are that if it isn’t aesthetically designed, 90% of them will simply bounce off, never to be seen again.

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As a website owner, it is your job to make sure your website is extra sticky – people should be compelled to stay on your website, reading article after article – that’s one unifying feature of some of the best websites in the world. Your websites need to be optimized for Conversion-Centered Design – people are emotionally affected by your words, and can’t help but click on the links you want them to click on. The following tips will help you create the best design possible and to complement it with the greatest content you can.

Headlines that jump out of the page

Everyone knows headlines can be very powerful. The easiest example is probably right now littered over your Facebook feeds – where content frequently goes viral just because the writers title it with a hyperbolic, emotionally engaging headline. While we do not advise that the greatest value in your website should be the headline itself (typical of viral articles with great headlines and dead content) – it should take a leaf out of their books.

Engaging, unique headlines will provide a good gauge for your readers to get an idea about your article even before they read it. Remember to optimize your titles with your keywords to provide an additional punch. When your title appears in the SERPs, a well written headline will boost click-throughs to your website.

Make it easy to read

Everybody loves easy-to-digest content. Lists, videos, and small articles get more “stickiness” than long, thick blocks of texts. This age, unfortunately or fortunately, is the age of low attention span – make sure your content is organized and broken into neat sections and lists to ensure maximum retention of your visitors’ attentions. People “scan” – they don’t read. Often they will ignore most of the article and skip to the part that is most relevant to them – make sure it can be found easily!

It’s great practice to break your texts into small blocks and generously use subheadings, lists, infographics and other visuals that complement readability.

Write good content

Don’t write for search engines! This is an easy trap to fall into – but there are very few things that are more of a turn off than keyword stuffed text. Write for your readers – they are the ones who will hit the Like, Share and Retweet buttons – which will in turn help you get ranked. Insert your Keywords where they feel natural. Humor is a great technique to get your point across and increase the “viral-ness” of your content.

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How to Make Your Website SEO-Friendly | A Developer’s Guide

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It’s hard to find technical SEO information over the web. This cheat sheet is aimed at helping web developers new to search engine optimization with improving their sites’ interaction with both search engines and users. The SEO best practices outlined below apply to sites of all sizes and types and will make your website easier to crawl and index. After all, search engine optimization often boils down to making small modifications to different parts of your website. When combined with other optimizations, these changes improve your site’s user experience and subsequently its performance in the organic search results.

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1. The Importance of Unique and Accurate Page Titles

For each page on your website, indicate the page title with a title tag. A tittle tag serves to tell both users of your site and the search engines what topic the page covers. Ideally, you need a unique title for each page. The title for your homepage can be your business name and include other important bits of information such as a physical location or a few of your main business focuses.

SEO Best Practices:

– Choose a title that accurately describes the topic of the page’s content.

– Each page should have a unique title tag.

– Use brief but informative titles.

2. A Page’s Meta Description Tag

A page’s meta description tag summarizes what the page is about. It can be one-sentence long or it can be a short paragraph. Like the page’s title tag, the meta description tag also goes in the <head> tag of your HTML document. Meta descriptions tags are important for pages on a website because these are often used as snippets for the pages by Google.

SEO Best Practices:

– Use a description that accurately summarizes the content on a page.

– Use a unique description for each page.

3. Mind the Structure of Your URLs

Organizing the documents on your website under descriptive categories and file names keeps your website tidy and it helps Google better crawl the documents. It also creates simple-to-understand and user-friendly URLs. A URL that contains relevant words provides users and the search engines with information about the page unlike oddly named parameters. Also remember that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a Google search result.

SEO Best Practices:

– Use URLs with words and not session IDs and other unfriendly parameters.

– It’s advisable to use hyphens to separate words as they’re treated as spaces by the search engines, .e.g. homes-for-sale.html

– Use a simple directory structure to organize the content on your site.

– Provide only one URL to access a specific document to avoid splitting the reputation of that content.

4. Navigation is Important

The importance of the navigation of a website is two-fold: to help visitors find their way around the website and for the search engines to understand what content is more important to the webmaster. Plan the navigation of your website based on your home or “root” page, the starting place of navigation for many visitors.

SEO Best Practices:

– Develop a naturally flowing hierarchy for your content from general content to increasingly more specific documents.

– Control most of the navigation on your site through text links. Avoid navigation based entirely on javascript based drop-down menus – you’re alright if the dropdown menu is CSS based and can be navigated by the search engines.

– You need an HTML site map page and an XML Sitemap file.

– You need a custom 404 page for the occasional user who lands on a page of your site that does not exist.

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A Short Guide to Successful Website Redesign

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If you are planning a website redesign, you are probably very excited about the whole thing. After all, redesigning a website is like painting on a blank canvas. You can let loose your imagination and add in as much creativity and flair as you possibly can.

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Caution!

When redesigning a website, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a team of creative website designers to do it for you, it’s very easy to get carried away and focus on essentially the visual design of the new site. It’s convenient to overlook the significance of search engine optimization, content and functionality.

Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that the visual design of a website is not important.  Definitely a great looking website helps convert your website visitors into buying customers. However, at the end of the day, a website’s traffic, conversion and functionality are the things that will determine its future success or failure.

So What are the Key Things you Want to Keep in Mind When Redesigning a Website?

1. Do your Research Properly

Any website redesign needs to be based on in-depth research into who you are targeting as customers.  The design, search engine optimization and functionality of the new site should all be informed by your research. This includes:

– Market research

– Keyword research and

– Community mapping

Also remember to benchmark your existing data. This will help you to identify what’s working well for your site right now and also what worked well in the past to gauge the success of the new site.

2. Consider the Structure of Your Site

A website redesign is the perfect opportunity for you to reorganize the structure of your site making sure that the information architecture is optimized for conversion. It should also help you to identify:

– The pages within your site that convert the best.

– The most common navigation route through your site.

– Pages with the highest bounce rates.

Also remember to take into consideration mobile phones, tablets and the other electronic devices that people use to browse the web if you want to improve the architecture of your site.

3. About Redirects

If you are planning a website redesign, inventory all pages and incoming links that rank well in Google and the other search engines right from the beginning. Do not overlook subdomains. As a website redesign involves a lot of change in the URL structure of your site, a good redirect strategy is of vital importance.  To manage and record all of your redirects, you can use a number of online tools .

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Don’t Let Your Site Look Like It’s Been Designed in the 90s

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In 2013, having a simple website optimized for certain keywords is not enough for a business to compete for consumers online. There is a whole range of things that also come into play including the design of the website, its usability and search engine optimization, content creation and the integration of social media. The SEO technological market and the way people consume content has changed. By extension, aesthetic and navigational considerations are important in modern day website design.

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Modern Website Design Starts with Understanding Your Market

Modern day website design is all about matching the architecture of your site to what your consumers are looking for. To that end, it is important for website owners to get a real feel and understanding of their market and potential consumers. This analysis of demographic data should underline the design and building process of your site.

Over the web, how many times did you come across a website that looks just perfect but it hardly serves a viable purpose? Either relevant information is missing or the usability of the site is non-existent. Similarly, many websites out there contain very relevant content but the site itself looks outdated and therefore not very engaging.

The 5 Essential Components of a Good Website Design

1. Design

website-designIf you own a website, you need to make sure it is up to date in terms of modern day website design requirements. It is unwise to spend disproportionately on optimization leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to the website’s design and usability.

The key is to find the right balance. The design of a modern day website should be simple and yet engaging in nature and informative to the user. At the same time, it should be optimized for SEO. The biggest challenge to website designers it seems is to juggle the visual, HTML and CSS aspects of a site.

  • Your website should reflect what your consumers want
  • It should be easy to use
  • The design should be creative and modern
  • The design and content of the site should complement each other

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