SEO web design is a way of designing and developing websites to make them search-engine friendly. Making a website SEO friendly means the search engines can crawl each page on the website efficiently, interpret the content effectively, and index it in their database. Once indexed, they can then serve the most relevant and valuable web pages to their users based on the topics they search for. The better the SEO strategies and the more an SEO team is integrated into the web design process, the better the chance of indexation and ranking on the first page of the search results.
Since, of the billions of people who use search engines every day, less than 5% navigate past the first page of the Google SERPS, it is important that you design and develop an SEO-friendly website to increase organic traffic and earn first page rankings.
There is a running joke in the SEO community that goes, “Where is the best place to hide a dead body? On the second page of search results.”
Bill Ross, CEO of Linchpin SEO, a Wake Forest Web Design Company
Below is a basic outline to help guide you when optimizing your new website for the search engines. There are two primary parts to SEO web design strategies: on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
Part 1: SEO-Friendly On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization includes SEO strategies that are controlled by the website owner. These strategies play a crucial role in how the search engines crawl and understand your content.
On-Page Optimization Strategies:
- Conducting keyword research, selecting the right keywords and topics, and using them in appropriate places on the page
- Using title tags, header tags, image alt tags, and the meta description tag correctly
- Creating a URL structure that is optimized for users and search engines
- Creating an internal link structure, navigation, and an information architecture that helps the search engines crawl the website effectively and efficiently and aligns with your user’s expectations
- Creating great content that can be used to earn inbound links during off-page optimization strategies
- Using multiple types of content such as images, videos, lists, and text
- Creating a responsive website design that provides a great experience across devices
- Designing a website that is visually appealing, represents your brand, and has a consistent look and feel
To dive deeper into on-page optimization, here is our on-page guide: On-page SEO Best Practices
Part 2: SEO-Friendly Off-Page Optimization
Off-page optimization refers to managing the execution of the marketing and amplification of a website. This management results in earning links and social media mentions that can increase the authority of your website, resulting in an increase in SEO rankings and traffic.
Off-Page Techniques Include:
- Analyzing your competition to better understand what strategies they are using to rank in the search results
- Using keyword-rich anchor text in your inbound links
- Earning inbound links from websites that are considered authoritative by the search engines
- Earning links to content deep within your website
White Hat and Black Hat SEO
SEO techniques can be divided into categories: white hat techniques, those that are acceptable by the search engines and are the recommended ways of improving rankings, and black hat techniques, those which are deceptive and result in penalties or being banned by the search engines.
White Hat Techniques
The above-mentioned strategies are considered White Hat and add value to a website’s SEO, provide a great website design experience, and can increase rankings, traffic, and sales from Google and other search engines.
Black Hat Techniques
These Black Hat techniques were used in the past to achieve high rankings quickly. However, the search engines have updated their algorithms to detect such techniques and are constantly using machine learning to uncover additional spam techniques intended to manipulate the SERPS.
- Link farming
- Buying links
- Selling links
- Hidden content and links
- Keyword spamming
- Keyword stuffing
- Article spinning
- Use of the gateway and the mirror pages
- Hiding links on your website
SEO Services Done Correctly
When SEO is done correctly and built into the web design process, SEO services will add value to the website experience by making the website search-engine friendly, a better user experience, and greatly helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals.
Learn more about what it means to do SEO correctly.