SEO Website Design 3 Lenses Needed
Whenever a business goes through the process of website design or redesigning their current website, they often overlook attention to SEO details. The end goal is always to launch the website “on time and within budget.” On time is often associated with a self-imposed deadline, sometimes associated with an event. Within budget is the reality of launching the website within the agreed upon internal budget and the scope that was signed off with the website designer.
As an internet marketer, we view the website design process through multiple lenses. For the ultimate search engine optimized success of a business website, diligent attention to each of these three lenses is required.
The designer lens is often the area of greatest focus. The reason is fairly obvious. The human eye is the most impacted by the outcome of the website’s new design. A well designed website will provide strong branding support and deliver a good user experience. Design elements include layout, colors and menu navigation.
The developer lens is the least sexy. It’s akin to the plumbing and wiring of a new construction project. A well designed website from the developer lens uses an efficient code structure that permits flexible changes. It uses industry standard coding techniques so the client isn’t beholden to one person for ongoing support. And, it uses a search engine friendly URL structure and compact scripts that allow search engines to easily crawl the website and for fast loading of website pages.
If building a new website is similar to a construction process, the designer is like the architect, the developer is like the builder and content is like the furnishings. In short, the content is the reason anyone visits a website. Content ultimately makes or breaks the user experience. The most common reason for a website not launching on time is the content isn’t ready by the planned launch date. A website redesign project requires a team effort to update the content according to the goals of the website redesign initiative.
The SEO Lens
Arguably, the most important lens in a website redesign is the SEO lens. This is a generalization that may not apply to your business, especially if you are in an industry where people don’t search for your products (which is very rare). But, I’m writing this for 95% of the business population that wants their website to be an inbound marketing lead generation magnet to attract new prospective customers.
The SEO lens isn’t the fourth lens because it intersects each of the three lenses discussed above.
SEO and Design
A good design will be implemented using a combination of images and search engine readable text. Image only home pages are not friendly to search engines. Image heavy home pages can also be an impediment to being indexed by search engines. Images should be supported with alternate text tags and meta descriptions for SEO value.
SEO and Development
Each page of a website should undergo a thorough optimization process to strengthen its authority with search engines. This involves many details including writing the URL using the primary keyword of the page, creating meta data, anchor text linking and writing header tags, among other details. When each page is submitted to the developer with these SEO details to upload into the new website, each of the SEO details MUST be implemented without exception to gain SEO value in the new website. Each detail has a purpose.
SEO and Content
There is no such thing as SEO value in a website without relevant, quality content. Though I’m an SEO consultant, I don’t condone forcing SEO into content at the expense of the user experience. That said, many websites require more than a single page written for a topic to create SEO value that will result in being found in a search engine query. For that reason, a content strategy is required that provides content written for the user personas targeted by the marketer. And, such content should be available in navigation that allows users to easily find and consume additional content. Examples include navigation sections such as a “library” or “university” where dozens of additional pages can provide both user and SEO support. Of course, a blog is a very effective way to deliver a lot of search engine friendly content.
Any marketer undergoing a website redesign should give equal attention to these three lenses, with the intersection of SEO across each of them. The benefit will be a website that delivers bottom line measurable results such as new sales opportunities. There is nothing worse than a new website that looks better than your previous website, but is not able to be found in search engines due to a design only lens approach to the website redesign project. This is a mistake that can be avoided with proper planning.
Have you experienced a multiple lens approach in a website design project? What results can you share with us?