Below is a guest blog post, written by our partner EDGE Creative.
EDGE Creative is a local digital marketing agency that supports our graduates with developing their skills to break into the industry. The blog below has been written to highlight the relationship between web development, UI and SEO, which are crucial factors to any website.
When you are planning or building a website, SEO or search engine optimisation must remain a priority at all stages of the journey. Without it, what the website looks like or how it functions won’t matter – it simply won’t be found.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of using techniques to obtain a high-ranking placement in a search engine results page (SERP). SEO involves a lot, including a structurally sound website, building links, using keywords and creating fresh and relevant content. This all begins with the foundations formed during design and build.
With the right SEO foundations, the website will earn better rankings and increase relevant traffic. With this in mind, here’s a summary of what you should consider in the design and build process:
Is the website functional?
The main purpose of a website is to get the user to convert. This can only be achieved by ensuring that the website keeps them engaged and that the user journey and experience guides them to convert.
You need to capture the viewers’ interest from the moment they first land on your website and inform, educate, raise brand awareness or sell to them. It is therefore important that every feature on the website supports these goals. This can be accomplished through:
- Design layout
- Image style
- Call to actions
Common frustrations that users face can easily be eliminated with careful planning. This includes broken links, mobile responsiveness errors and cross-browser issues. These issues make a website difficult to navigate and will frustrate not only users, but search engines too.
What is the website’s architecture?
When you build a website, there are many moving parts that work together to create a cohesive digital space. An essential part of this is the website‘s architecture, which refers to how the pages are structured in relation to the entire website. It’s important to think about a few things when it comes to the architecture of the website:
- Developing for SEO
- User experience
- Search engine experience
- Consistency between pages
- Fewer clicks – try to make it possible to get to any page of the website in three clicks or less
If structured properly, Google will be able to crawl the website more easily, increasing its likelihood of ranking highly and improving visibility within search engine result pages.
Is the website easy to crawl?
Crawlability describes the search engine’s ability to access the content on the pages, while indexability refers to the search engine’s capability to analyse the website’s pages and add them to its index.
Getting websites crawled and indexed isn’t as easy as you think. Creating crawlable and indexible content must be preceded by practices in the development process.
You must assess the best way to serve the content to website users. Ensure that it is laid out in a way that search engines can crawl – assessing the robots.txt file and checking for mistakes will achieve this.
Is the website optimised for speed?
A slow loading website can affect Google’s ability to crawl and index a website. Using Google Page Speed Insight will help identify areas of a website that need improving.
Google also uses mobile page speed as a ranking factor when mobile search results are displayed. Increasing the page speed in this format will be essential in improving the user experience on mobile devices.
Is the website mobile friendly?
With almost 60% of search now conducted on mobile devices, it is critical that every website is now designed and built to be mobile friendly. Ask yourself, will the structure within the design stack easily and effectively without content or images being cut off? Is the menu still accessible when on a smaller screen? Are the buttons correctly spaced for touchscreen use?
Mobile-friendliness on your website is reviewed page-by-page, so you will need to ensure that all the pages in the website’s architecture can be viewed easily. If not, the website won’t be crawlable by the search engines and visitors will bounce off.
Have you added Google Analytics?
We recommend adding Google Analytics as standard to every website. Google Analytics allows you to view:
- How many users have visited your website and where they came from
- How many visitors have converted
- How long visitors spent on your site
- Which pages users visited
It also gives you the ability to set up goals which allows for conversion tracking. This will then help to measure how a website is performing and can be used as a guide to make adjustments to the website for better user experience further down the line.
EDGE Creative has a range of experience in creating eCommerce websites, landing pages and microsites for our clients in a range of different industries including automotive, finance, property, retail and recruitment. To find out more on the relationship between SEO and User Experience Design and Development, call us on 0121 355 8092 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.