Tips for search engine friendly web design
Having a website is one thing, attracting visitors is a different challenge.
So how can you build a successful web presence?
This article is intended to help K4IT customers so that together we can build and maintain a search engine friendly website.
Customers can choose either a DIY approach or better understand the information required for K4IT to build productive websites.
If you are not a customer, perhaps K4IT could help you build a great site?
Whilst I would not profess to be an SEO ‘guru’ or expert I do hope that this article provides enough to get you started, in plain English, where possible.
A huge number of companies offer search engine optimization (SEO).
Larger organisations invest significant time and money into building their on-line profile and I’m sure there are some very good SEO providers out there.
However, there are a lot of less creditable SEO outfits offering a magic wand that does not necessarily exist.
My own investigations have identified techniques and websites that break or bend the ‘rules’ but whilst that may work in the short term, it is hardly a stable footing for your enterprise going forward.
Key steps to getting found
Many small businesses do not perceive a value for SEO and more importantly, simply do not have the available cash flow.
However, unless you have a product that is so good that it sells itself you are going to have to market, promote and build interest in it.
Ask yourself, can I afford not to use any form of SEO?
Normally, for a small business or organisation, your website’s traffic is going to be limited, in the main, to a ‘local’ community of visitors that are already interested or that you actually know or contact through traditional methods.
So, having a website without doing as much as you can to promote it will mean that your website can become at best a brochure or simply a white elephant.
1. A great looking, well planned website
Stating the obvious your website needs to look great, appealing to your target audience(s).
Plan the website:
Layout & style
Pages, content and SEO targetting
The website needs to perform well on as many devices & browsers as possible, so use a mobile-ready, responsive design to cater for multiple devices & cross browser compatibility.
Already over 50% of visitors will be using smartphone or tablet, so a fixed or desktop layout is not going to be readable - visitors will quickly go elsewhere.
If you read what Google say, there is no substitute for content.
Ensure content fits your plan for the website.
Build content that provides visitors with useful information, media or entertainment.
Include products, news, articles and / or features.
Avoid stuffing pages with lists of keywords, build good content.
3. Evolution not revolution
A website needs to continually evolve, with new content, products or interactive features that engage visitors and make them want to return.
As an example, a new ‘brochure’ site may get some visitors, but people will not come back unless there is a reason.
Similarly, just chasing Facebook ‘likes’ makes a number appear on a profile, but ‘likes’ alone achieve very little in the long run.
Plan a campaign to build pages and content continuously.
4. Simple things that you can do for free
First, please consider / implement our section on page SEO basics
Using K4IT's SiteInABox™ each of the features are available to enter or update.
If building your own website K4IT recommend that you cover each of the features carefully.
Links to / from other websites
Links to your website from other reputable websites are a good thing.
However, they do not do a huge amount to get your site found in a search.
Make friends with the key search engines
Integrate social media
Need some advice? K4IT will be happy to help.
Want a quotation? K4IT can provide a no obligation quotation free of charge.
Just give us a call on 0800 029 3751, drop us an email
or use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
We'll be pleased to help you.
Each web page has a few key features, before you get to the content, that are used by search engines when cataloguing your website for searches:
Generally, each of these should be unique for each page, avoiding shotgun repetition of words and phrases.
Plan your ‘search term’ targets and profile your pages and content to appeal to those search terms.
In simple terms a URL is a web page's address, the bit people type into the address box in the browser, e.g. https://www.example.com/pagename.html
This is made up of the DOMAIN ( https://www.example.com/ ) and the URI ( pagename.html )
You can make the URL search engine friendly, giving more meaning to the address, which helps with searches and can help people remember your address
provides the search engine with the URI
“web design and development from K4IT”
which we hope has more meaning than a standard web page name
For K4IT, the domain is established, but for new websites, choose a domain that has relevance, perhaps we should have chosen www.web-design.com
Important - each URL should provide a separate page of content. Search engines can treat providing the same content under different URLs negatively, perhaps even de-listing your website
The page title tag should be a key phrase of perhaps your business name plus a few key words that define the topic of the page
Guidance is 5-10 words, 50-70 characters
As an example, perhaps “Responsive mobile ready websites by K4IT in Sandy, Bedfordshire”
It is placed inside the page header section.
If your page is listed in search results, the page title is usually at the top with matching words in BOLD.
The page description tag should be a sentence that summarises the page’s content.
Guidance is 140-180 characters
It is placed inside the page header section
If your page is listed in search results, either the description or a sample of visible page text will be used underneath the title as a snippet or taster.
The keywords are a list of words or short phrases, separated by commas.
They should be highly relevant and key, but avoid huge lists of words.
They are placed in a tag inside the page header section.
As you’ll imagine, search engines don’t interpret the contents of an image, but you can use the ALT tag to provide a text description of the image.
Search engines will use this information.
This also aids any visitors using web text readers and is recommended by W3C.
K4IT’s SiteInABox™ put together the image title and description to provide the ALT tag, so ensure that you add titles and descriptions to your images.
If you are using K4IT's SiteInABox™, don't worry, you are covered.
Make friends with the search engines
It may sound complicated, but semantic html just means using the correct HTML5 tags for your content.
The semantic tags better describe the nature of an element in your web page, for example a section, article, header or footer.
Of particular use should be the MAIN and FOOTER tags.
Used correctly you can tell the search engine that your page footer section is just that, so that it does not mark your pages down for content repetition.
You cannot guarantee that you will be found, but you can work within the rules to maximise your chances.
We will refer here to Google, but you should consider the other major players and perhaps niche engines that apply to your business.
Steps in the process
Register and get an ID – Google account
Update your personal profile, invite friends
Create a company / organisation page
Verify your identity – Google verification is a postal process
Add your location to maps – Google Maps
Register and verify your website with engine tools – Google Webmaster Tools
Build a Sitemap – tells the search engine about your website
Test & Submit your sitemap – Google, test with Fetch & Render
Install – Google Analytics
Monitor searches, results and continue developing your tags and content
For Google, K4IT's SiteInABox™ are Google ready and K4IT can help using existing tools to build and profile your sitemap, assisting where required with the remainder of the process.
Many businesses and organisations are using Social Media.
You can easily integrate social media sites:
Build a company or organisation page, then do the normal things.
Adding links, like & share widgets to your pages can expose your pages to social media users. Not an answer in themselves, these can ‘complete the circle’ by drawing new visitors from your existing visitors.
Build yourself a ‘posting strategy’ putting content on your website and social media that compliment and link each other.