How to build SEO into your design process

How to build SEO into your design process

WP Auckland User Group Meetup - PureSEO

Image courtesy of Auckland WordPress User Group

I went along to the Auckland WordPress Meetup last night, where Greg and Katherine from PureSEO were talking about search engine optimisation. While they didn’t dig very deep into the ‘how-to’ of SEO – they did give some very useful information on why its important and a basic overview of where to direct your attention. See my notes below …

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My three main takeaways:

If your website is not on the first page of Google for the keywords that your audience is using, then your business is virtually invisible online.

SEO is a long term investment in the success of your business.

Content is (still) King![/two-thirds][/columns-container]

Your website design clients don’t really want a website…

What they really want is a solution to their most pressing business problem. They want more leads, more sales, or better brand recognition.  What makes a website successful for your customers is not (just) how good it looks – but how well it solves that problem for their business.

The key to a successful website is traffic – more importantly, lots of targeted traffic. And the key to more targeted traffic? Getting found in search engines like Google and Bing.

When you build SEO into your design process, you can create websites with a strong SEO foundation that will prove to be powerful marketing tools for your clients and help them reach their business goals. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:

Keyword Research

At the start of your design project, consult with your client on the search terms that are used for their business/industry and the demographic their website is targeting.

Hubspot have a great post outlining a step-by-step process for carrying out keyword research.

Once this keyword research is complete, you can use the results to audit any existing content for an SEO focus and see what needs to be tweaked or rewritten. It will also help you see what content needs to be created to fill any gaps.

You can also use the keyword information to inform your information architecture, navigation, url structure, page structure and more.

Image Optimisation

Images are a huge part of SEO. Search Engines can’t ‘see’ images – so we need to tell them what they are. Every image should have a descriptive file name and an alt tag that gives a short description of the image. These should both include a relevant keyword.

And because page speed is a ranking factor for search engines, images should be uploaded to the website in the smallest file size possible.

You can read more about image optimisation here.

Responsive Design

Mobile friendliness is an important search engine ranking factor, and should be an important consideration in your design process.

Responsive design isn’t just about making sure a website looks gorgeous in all device sizes – usability is a key component in responsive design. Mobile users tend to be goal oriented and don’t want to have to muck around pinching & zooming to get the information they need.

This article on mobile site SEO optimisation covers the topic in depth along with a really handy pdf download for you to keep handy!