Breaking The Dichotomy Between SEO & Website Development
I got into SEO by circumstance and my fastidious character. I was starting a new company to which I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look into search engine optimization. This was about two years ago and prior I had made a bunch of websites for my other B2B ventures to which I never incorporated SEO as a marketing strategy. Thinking back that was a big mistake but at the time I had a lot on my plate as I was trying to figure out how to use all these different website builders for small business while working on my craft of designing and developing websites for these companies I was working on.
I ended up window shopping a number of different vendors, companies and freelancers that did search engine optimization and I never really came across any solution that I thought was worth its money for the kind of work that was performed.
Instead I learned the ins and outs myself, gluing my sockets to my computer screen, scouring google and youtube for answers. I don’t really recommend this as there is way too much to know and it ends up becoming overwhelming especially if you have other things on your plate.
I got back into digital marketing since then and have adapted my own style from the different things that I have learned throughout my different ventures.
The following is a synopsis for any business professional to follow when creating a website to make sure that things are done in what I like to call “uniformity” and not just trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together without knowing what the final puzzle looks like when solved.
The following are things to consider.
SEO should be part and parcel of the website design and development process
You don’t want to plan and start implementing an SEO campaign after your website is developed.
The reason being is two-fold:
- The majority of website designers and developers know very little about SEO and at best they understand the bare minimum. SEO is more than just adding keywords to pages and optimizing title tags. Content creation plays an important role and not just fluff content thrown on a page without a purpose. I’m talking about well thought out content that is written to educate the consumer on the product or service that shapes and moulds the decision making process to getting them one step closer to purchasing.
- User experience plays a key role in SEO and is actually the component that harmonizes all the different ranking factors. If visitors are coming to your site but are thrown off by the wacky colors or wishy-washy content on page, what do you think they are inclined to do? Leave. If the visitor is not on your website than none of the ranking factors matter. That’s why SEO shouldn’t be treated as secondary to website development and should be included within the blueprint of development.
The 3 main ranking factors to guide your website’s SEO development
With the plethora of Google ranking factors, I believe there are 3 major signals to consider when designing and building your site (and the keyword here, no pun intended on the word “keyword” for those SEO’s reading this, is “designing”):
- Bounce Rate – What percentage of visitors traffic to only one page on your site before leaving the site all together.
- User Interaction – How are visitors interacting on your site? Are they filling out contact forms, downloading pdfs, reading through your different blog posts, checking out the FAQ page and so forth.
- Dwell Time – This takes into consideration how long visitors stay on your site.
Being mindful of the experience you create
So what is good practice in planning the development of a site that has the foundation for good SEO?
The one roadmap is mindfulness.
Let me explain.
For purposes of illustration, let’s use as an example, your dream house.
Boom. You just built your dream house out of thin air. Just the way you always imagined it.
You’re most likely going to want to show it to some of your friends and family, right?
Well, when they come to your house and you greet them at the door, you’re going to want to tell them all the great things about your house and all the little things that make this house so great and hence the reason it’s your dream house.
You’re probably going to touch on every minute detail that makes you so excited about this new house of yours and you’ll be happy to shape the experience of their tour with the things you say.
Now, when your guests come in through the front door, you’re not going to take them blindfoldedly to your master bedroom first and then blind fold them again and then walk them to your basement. That would be kind of confusing to your guests as to the choice in navigation you took and might have them scratching their heads.
What you will do is most likely go in order from one room to another from the entryway in a logical and mapped out path and you will recite and talk of things in certain parts of the house to elevate the experience of your guests.
And so this analogy is not that different from your website.
You want to hit on all the things that make your product or service great, but you want to do it in a way that won’t have your visitor’s scratching their head.
Hence, you want to do it in a meaningful and clear-cut way.
Your website is therefore the personification of you as this tour guide in your dream house and you want to give the best tour of your product or service without you actually being there.
The foundational structure that leads to good SEO
With that said here are pointers to consider when planning the development of your site.
- Know your target keywords. Each page on your website should be targeting a certain keyword. This keyword should be in your title tag, url, h1 tag and sprinkled a few times throughout the content. Preparing your keywords before the design process lines you up for victory as the design of the site can be tailored to hit on points that will move the needle in SEO success.
- It is easier to design and develop a website when content has already been pre-written. Have a solid base of robust and well to do content for every page of your site. As a side note: content length of 1,000 words or more tends to attract more links and shares.
- Plan to have a blog. Your site should be created with a sophisticated CMS (Content Management System) so it is easy to publish posts. The design of the blog should be clean and simple yet captivating.
- There should be CTA’s (Call-to-actions) on every page that lead the visitor to want to take some kind of action i.e. download white paper, submit email address to receive an e-book on so-and-so. Bottomline, this CTA, should be unobtrusive and should be giving something of value that would help your visitor in making a decision.
- A few pages should be conceived to serve as “power pages” that provide in-depth information on a certain topic within your industry. These pages will serve as assets in inbound marketing and support your content outreach efforts down the line to establish your brand’s digital earned presence and domain authority.
The point of it all
Any body with a fresh pair of eyes could see how the quality in design in anything evolves over time. From clothing to cars to website design, people whether consciously or subconsciously respond and are affected by its whims.
We aren’t in the era of GeoCities any more, and so, it’s not just a matter of keeping up appearances. That is not the point of this discussion. The point is to provide better and elevated website experiences through design all while securing a search engine dominancy.