Designing a new business website is one of the most important activities a business can undertake. The branding has to be right as well as the design. Choosing the right CMS and developer is crucial. And then there’s content.
With so much to worry about already, a solid SEO strategy often often falls through the cracks. In stead of being left until the end of the project or after launch, SEO should be included as part of the project's design, development and content process. Below are some of the most common SEO mistakes we see business make when designing a website.
Keywords are content on a website that are relevant to search terms people use to find a website. Understanding what keywords people are using to find websites like yours is key to your SEO strategy. You may already have a few ideas of what keywords people are using. Audit your website and see if keywords you feel are relevant to your business are reflected in the content. Your website should have a mix of broad keywords and phrases relevant to your industry as well as a longtail key phrases that support key topics around your business.
If you do not know what keywords are relevant to your business or would like to expand the list of possibilities. hire an SEO specialist to conduct keyword research.
Effective website content should be written for a target audience and be clear and concise as well as rich in meaning. It also needs to be rich with keywords. Search engines recommend web pages, in part, based on how well the content matches keywords people are using to search. So put your keyword research to good use and make sure your keywords are showing up in URLs, titles, headings, body text as well as in meta tags, image file names, alt tags, and hyperlinks.
A common complaint we hear about a website’s content is that there is too much of it, forcing visitors to excessively scroll and read to find out the point of a web page. Too much content can be a turnoff to a website’s users. During a website redesign, website owners will often try to thin out the content. But too little content can be a real problem as well. Search engines “like” content and will penalize website’s where pages have only small amounts of the content.
Both humans and machines, such as search engines, browse your website. Thus the overall layout of a website should make sense to both human and machine users. Some rules of thumb for creating a website that both human and machine can enjoy, include:
Making up a website's structure on the fly, so to speak, often leads to website’s that neither human or machines can understand. So make sure to invest in architecting an easy to browse and understandable website before you start to design and develop it.
Many website owners see a website design process as a one-time event and don’t realize the importance of the post-launch maintenance. It's important to continually improve and expand a site after launch. Collecting website analytics can help you establish a performance baseline as well as changes in performance over time. Keywords can change over time as well, so analyzing and refreshing your keywords periodically can maintain or boost your SEO performance. Search engines also like to see new content being posted on websites. Maintaining a news section or a blog will ensure new content is regularly posted.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of a website critical to your SEO performance, of which human users are only vaguely aware. For example, H-tags designate the hierarchy (e.g. H1, H2, H3, and H4) of page titles and subtitles so search engines can understand the relative importance of a web page's content.
Metadata occupies a crucial piece of SEO strategy. Metadata are the titles and descriptions that show up in search results. Effective metadata not only improves your SEO performance, but can entice a user into choosing one search result (potentially you) over another. Title tags should include a relevant , succinct, and high level description of the a web page. Meta descriptions should provide a clear and concise summary of the web page. Both can, and should, include references to your company and services.