Let’s just jump in and get started with this comment: Most web designers don’t know SEO. They build sites that look great, but when it comes to actually ranking these sites (which is the most important element – As what’s the point of a great looking website if no one sees it?) they have no idea. Now I’m not expecting designers to learn the hardcore advanced techniques of SEO and how to rank a site like an SEO agency would…. But what i do expect (or clients should expect) is the basic on-page elements that help sites rank from day 1. So below I’ve done 3 tips to web designers from an On-page seo point of view.
Easily the most important element and one that I’d say about 50% of designers either don’t understand or completely ignore and I have no idea why – Keywords don’t really affect the overall look or performance of the site and help rankings by well 100%….. Here are the basics:
- Select the most relevant keywords for your business type.
- Check the search volumes using a tool like SEMRush, ahrefs or the keyword planner
- Remove the lowest keywords or ones without any search volume.
- Implement the rest of the keywords into the code and content of the website. Remembering to include the most important keywords in the start of the Title and H1 tags, and also the secondary keywords in the URL structure or H2 tags where relevant!
Site Load Speed
Again, this is one I see about 50% of the time from designers. They sacrifice load speed to have more high quality images on a page/site. This is simply not acceptable for 2 reasons. The first is load speed is now an official Google ranking factor. This means that you are just killing your chances of improved rankings from day 1. But secondly and probably more importantly is you are sacrificing user experience too. This means that the slower a website loads the higher chance you will have for people to go back to the Google search results and look for a competitor. People are very impatient and if you site takes longer than 2 seconds to load – People are going to leave it and go back to the search engine to find a new result – Most likely a competitor. You can use a tool called GTMetrix to check how fast your site loads – If its under a “C” rating, you should seriously consider implementing some of the speed optimisation advice on the GTMetrix page.
Finally I’m going to talk about why 90% of SEOs hate designers and that’s images. Images are important and great for both UX and ranking. But having huge images that a.) slow the site down. b.) Don’t have any alt/title tags. c.) block any Conversions for the site – Is just a terrible idea. When implementing an image on a website just remember the following 3 rules:
- Keep it small – Optimise image file size.
- Name it – Put keywords or text in the alt tags and title tags.
- Convert it – Don’t just put it in to make the site look pretty. Make sure the image actually serves a purpose. For example is it an photo of a piece of work? That’s great. If its just a generic stock image….Not so good. Every image should have a conversion use! Decide what that is before implementing an image.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions on search engine friendly website design – Feel free to get in touch!