Designing a website that attracts visitors and ranks well in search engines involves various factors, ranging from technical considerations to user experience.
Today, in business, you are not judged on whether you have a website, as you are presumed to have one. Today, your business is measured by how good your website is.
Whether starting from ground zero with a new site or redesigning your site, you need to know that all websites need to achieve the same core tasks.
To make them easier to remember, they can be grouped into seven categories, including:
- Technical SEO
- On-Page SEO
- Content Quality
- User Experience
When assessing your site, remember these categories and ask open-ended questions that require measurable responses, i.e. analytics from your web development team.
1. Technical SEO
What is technical SEO? Semrush says it’s the process of optimising a site for search engines. We all want our sites to be loved by Google and all search engines, as most traffic is driven to the site via keyword searches. So, what must we focus on and achieve to ensure a technical SEO-optimized site?
To ensure your site has what it needs to attract visitors and rank highly with search engines, with technical SEO, what you’re looking to achieve is the following:
- Fast page loading speed
- Mobile responsiveness
- XML map
- Site Structure
- Secure Connection
Ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites in its rankings.
If your site doesn’t load at lightning-fast speed, people won’t wait around for it to load unless they are heavily invested in finding out what you do.
Most online consumers will click off the page if it hasn’t fully loaded within three seconds. Many factors affect load speed, and one of the best tools is Pingdom, as this will show you how long each aspect of your website takes to load and means you can diagnose where the bottlenecks are to optimise load speed.
Optimize your website for fast loading times. Compress images, minimize HTTPS requests, and leverage browser caching. Use a free or paid subscription service to regularly manage these actions.
Secure your website with an SSL certificate to provide a secure connection. Google gives preference to secure sites. You can use a free or paid service like CloudFlare, which provides both options. Many hosting providers also offer free and paid SSL certificates.
Implement structured data (schema markup) to help search engines understand your content better. Use a plugin to manage your structured data. If your CMS is WordPress, you could use WP Structured Data plug-in.
Create and submit an XML sitemap to search engines. This helps search engines index your pages more efficiently. Once again, there is a plug-in that creates sitemaps. Regularly check your sitemap to ensure it provides the search engines with new content.
2. On-Page SEO
What is on-page SEO? Just like its name – ‘on-page’ it is the action of content optimization on a page. To attract search engines and, indeed, visitors, the title, links, and page content need to be searchable and relevant. You need to do these tasks to achieve a high on-page SEO percentage.
Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the terms your target audience is searching for.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Craft compelling title tags and meta descriptions for each page, incorporating relevant keywords.
Use header tags (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content and signal its importance to search engines.
Place your target keywords strategically in the content, but avoid keyword stuffing.
3. Content Quality
Improving your site content’s quality is more challenging than you may realise. You must be consistent, stick to your site’s niche, avoid using ‘only’ AI writer content, and
Create valuable, relevant, and engaging content that meets the needs of your audience. Remember, Google judges your website on ‘all’ its content, not just the new items.
Update your content regularly to show that your site is current and relevant. To do this, get your content team to create a weekly schedule so a few articles and posts are revised, and your older content remains relevant to your audience and search engines.
Remember to resubmit the URL of the revised content to your Google Search Console for re-indexing.
Use a mix of text, images, and videos to make your content more appealing and shareable. Also consider other types of interactive content, including:
- Live surveys
4. User Experience
User experience (UX) seems self-explanatory, yet scoring well is challenging. There is mobile UX and browser UX. Your content needs to impress on various devices and browsers.
Focus your attention on the following UX-related tasks.
Design an intuitive navigation structure to help visitors find what they’re looking for easily.
Ensure your content is easy to read with clear fonts, proper spacing, and a readable colour scheme.
Include clear and compelling calls to action to guide users on the next steps.
Test and optimize the mobile experience to cater to users on different devices.
There is no one-fix-fixes-all with UX. You will need your team to continuously tweak content and navigation to improve page views and time online.
5. Backlinks and Off-Page SEO
Backlinks are URLs linking to your site. Off-page SEO is the optimization work you do off your site to attract a higher page rank and visitors. The action taken to boost Off-page SEO includes attracting backlinks and increasing your social following.
Develop a strategy for acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your industry. Easier said than achieved, however, as most sites will only link to sites that rank as high or higher than their own.
However, create content that gets lots of reads and engagement, and you will find other sites that link to it.
Establish a presence on social media platforms to increase your site’s visibility and shareability. All websites are expected to have a social media presence. However, there are pros and cons to using social media for business.
Make sure your social media team are engaging and social on your profiles. The content should be more relaxed. However, it must be relevant and professional to prevent harming your reputation.
Measurement is everything to marketers and SEO experts, and website owners should also get excited by what it can reveal.
To measure well, you need to set goals, measure outcomes and use the findings to improve performance. This action keeps your site ranking well and attractive to your audience.
Set Up Analytics
Use tools like Google Analytics to track visitor behaviour and identify areas for improvement.
Regularly monitor your site’s performance and address any issues that may arise including fixing broken links.
There are broken link-checking plug-ins you can download to assist with this action.
By combining these technical, on-page, content, user experience, and off-page strategies, you can build a website that not only attracts visitors but also has the potential to rank well in search engine results.
Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process, and staying up-to-date with industry trends and algorithm changes is crucial for long-term success.