Building links is hyped up to be the most important SEO component. But designing an SEO friendly website is far more important. Your links will only prove fruitful if your site’s SEO structure and keywords are up to the mark.
Also, it’s easier to get on-page SEO right. It’s completely under your control. While with link building there are a lot of other variables that are out of your control.
Therefore, to ensure you get on-page SEO right, I have shared my top tips to design an SEO friendly website…
7 Tips to Design a SEO Friendly Website
1. Research competitors
One way SEO experts cut short the amount of time it requires to design an SEO friendly website is by researching competitors. Your competitors have already done the hard work of researching customers and competitors and have created their sites based on this data. There are also tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs that can analyze your competitors and give you an overview of the keywords they are using. This will save you so much time.
So, before you take any other steps required to make a website, create a spreadsheet with all your competitors. This should include both your direct and indirect competitors.
Then prepare documents for each competitor. They should contain important SEO data regarding design, keywords, etc.
2. Come up with and SEO and UX friendly site structure
Your site needs to have an SEO friendly structure as it makes it easy for search engines like Google to index the site properly. This will ensure that your pages rank. So, use the data from your research to create the right pages, then categorize them into tags and categories and organize all these in a well thought out structure.
Then lay it out with menus, bread crumbs, and footers with links.
Make sure the site is navigable, as user experience is important too. If users have a better experience you will drive more sales. This will also increase the time they spend on the page and decrease your bounce rate. These factors can help you rank too as Google takes them into consideration.
3. Use good hosting
Another factor that Google takes into consideration while ranking a site is the loading time. Google wants to make sure that your site offers a good user experience and as you probably already know, as loading time increases, the abandonment rate increases too.
So, make sure you use a good hosting service. If you are serious about ranking you should never use a shared hosting platform. A dedicated service is the best version.
4. Use the right keywords in the right places
Use the keywords you unearth from your keyword research and place them in the right places on your website. This should include metadata, headlines, h2 tags, etc. If you are not very good at creating SEO friendly pages, you should use a tool like Clearscope to help you get it right.
5. Optimize for mobile
Search engines also check if your website is optimized properly for mobile as a lot of people will access your site from mobile devices. They want them to have a good experience too. If your site looks good on mobile, your site will move up the rankings. This is easy to get right, especially if your site runs on a platform like WordPress as there are a lot of free plugins. You can also find themes that are pre-optimized for SEO. You can use these if you don’t want to overload your site with too many plugins.
If you are extremely serious about driving more sales from your mobile website, I recommend that you create a separate mobile version. This will work really well when you drive paid traffic too.
6. Reduce image sizes
Another way to ensure your site loads quickly is by reducing the image size. So, make sure you upload the smallest version of your image to your website. The image should still look good as your website’s appearance can improve user experience, especially if you’re running an ecommerce store. You are getting the image size right if your site loads within a second. A three-second load time would be okay for blog posts as they usually contain more images.
There are also several plugins out there that can automatically reduce image size. You should try them out.
7. Use short URLs
By default, your website will create long URLs that contain details like the entire name of the page and the date it was created. This is not good for SEO as short URLs make it easy for search engines to understand what your website contains. So, instead of using the default URLs, shorten them down. I like to only include the primary keywords. Limit it to 3 to 6 words for best results. Even fewer words would be better.
This is the step by step process you can use to create an SEO friendly website. But don’t stop with the first version of your website. Instead, monitor user behavior and your search engine presence and use the data to constantly modify your website every three months at least.