Search engine optimization plays an enormous role in a website’s success. It makes a website more visible to users, which drives traffic and, ultimately, results. Below we share five tips for designing websites with SEO in mind.
Strategically place keywords. Keywords are vital for SEO, but there is such a thing as too many when they are used haphazardly. Search engines value the user experience and reward sites accordingly with higher search engine ranking, while blatant keyword stuffing can result in penalizations. Strategically place keywords in titles, meta tags, headers, footers, navigation, photo and video file names, product descriptions, content, and more. Make sure keywords offer value and are not placed in a way that makes the flow of content sound unnatural. Thoughtfully plan keyword placement ahead of time so that it feels organic and makes sense for the user as well as for ranking. Research trending keywords and competitor keywords in conjunction with analyzing what keywords the business needs to meet objectives.
Create a crawl-friendly sitemap. Prompt web-crawling to improve SEO through the creation of a strategic sitemap. Use sitemaps to provide URL lists to prompt web-crawling of all site pages and establish priority pages for crawling. Encouraging web-crawling goes a long way in improving search engine ranking.
Improve loading speed. Slow-loading sites turn users away and have a negative effect on SEO. Set sites up for success by utilizing tools and processes that improve loading speed. Lessen server-side stressors that slow speed by incorporating CSS image sprites, HTML5 and CSS3, caching plug-ins and reducing unnecessary plug-ins. Minimize redirects, utilize compression, and clean up code by removing unnecessary characters. These factors, among others, can play a big role in loading speed.
Create a social site. Engagement speaks volumes about a website’s user experience. Web crawlers recognize this engagement as a value to the user, resulting in higher search engine ranking. Design sites with social sharing buttons, compelling visuals, and sharing components such as including a cards-based design, to make social sharing easy. Sharing boosts SEO through increased engagement as well as driving incremental traffic which gives an organic SEO boost to websites.
Use links the right way. Too many outbound links, broken links, and linking with less-than-reputable sources, can take a toll on SEO results. Provide value-added links that can improve the user’s experience, but don’t go overboard; you want the user to spend as much time as possible on your site. Include backlinks from reputable sources to establish industry authority and drive traffic. Broken links and redirects should also be removed. Links that provide value and drive traffic boost SEO, but bad links and superfluous use of links can result in search engine penalties, and most importantly, can have a negative impact on the user experience.
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