It’s pretty common knowledge that SEO is crucial to every business that uses their website as a sales tool. What isn’t so widely understood is the part that SEO should play within a website build. Hint: It should sit at the foundation rather than be implemented after the site has gone live.
Here we’ve compiled some vital SEO guidance for you to follow before hitting publish, all of which require input from your designer, developer and copywriter.
It all starts with keywords, sitemaps and user journey.
Before kicking off with the website build, you need a plan to include the features, functionality and required content for each page . However, before you begin to create your sitemap, it’s important to complete a keyword analysis in order to plot relevant keywords for each page.
Tools such as WebCEO can provide an in-depth analysis on which keywords are competitive based on your target audience. Here at the Typeface Group, we can plot these for you, ensuring each page is optimised to the keyword.
Staging a sitemap
The next step is creating a sitemap alongside your desired web pages that you are going to build. This is where you will place a keyword alongside each page – which makes it an easier process for your copywriter to create the website content in line with SEO considerations.
Optimised parent content … to an extent.
You shouldn’t sacrifice making great content just so that you can fit in a keyword. Google is now focusing on content with ‘intent’. Writing content with your customers in mind, which matches both the search query and the searcher’s intent, will serve you well.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, It is no longer a prominent factor how well optimised your website pages are to a particular keyword or phrase. It will be based on the content within that optimised page to how well suited it is to the searcher’s ‘intent’. When building a website, it is essential to consider this when adding the copy to your pages or posts to your blog page ahead of going live.
In regards to the way your copy looks, it’s important to ensure your layout is clear, concise and easily readable for visitors – most importantly, you need to make sure each page has different but relevant copy than the previous. Duplicate text is a no-no for SEO and Google will mark you down.
When building pages, it is easier to plot your keywords, meta descriptions and SEO titles throughout the process, rather than rush through just before going live. That way, you will have time to check for any mistakes or missing SEO before clicking publish.
Speed and mobile searching goes hand in hand. Early last year, Google announced that it would now put websites that have a quality mobile version first. The update was known as “mobile-first indexing”, and it became a trend after noticing that over 60% of the searches done on Google came from mobile users. (*)
In the eyes of an SEO consultant, making sure your website is performing well on mobile and remains user-friendly, responsive and visually attractive is key to impressing Google. This can quickly be done during the build of your website and should be apart of your overall SEO strategy.
Small but significant niggles such as adding internal links and relevant call to actions at the end of each page will help support SEO. Content layout is an important consideration because content that appears above the fold is what is first visible when loading the page. It is the key factor that gets most of the attention from website visitors. Make it count!
Adding alt tags to images and ensuring every single one on the site is optimised is better to do during the build process rather than when you have gone live. Find out more about SEO titles and meta descriptions in our previous blog.
On page and in line
On-page SEO is essential for your website’s rankings. On-page SEO is where you optimise your web pages so that search engines can find and register them correctly. This is an integral part of the website build process, and when it’s done throughout the website build process, there is one less hell of a job at the end.
Creating excellent content which is both authentic and useful to the reader, as well as optimised to a relevant keyword is just the beginning to on page SEO. Read more about factors such as meta descriptions and SEO titles here.
Add an XML sitemap
The need for a sitemap is so you can tell the search engines about pages on your site that they can crawl. When all pages are indexed, it will make it much easier for users to search online using relevant keywords that are optimised to your site.
The most effective sitemap tool for SEO is an XML Sitemap. In one of our previous blogs: ‘The Top 5 WordPress Plugins’ you can find out more about the different SEO plugins – including an XML sitemap
Speed wins the race
Did you know, on average, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less? More than half of all mobile site visitors will leave a page if it takes more than three seconds to finish loading. (*)
Speed is essential in our time-poor generation, and bounces will ruin your SEO progress. Ensure you choose the right hosting company for you, try not to use too many images, and speed shouldn’t be a problem for you.
What is it that you want your website to do? The more you add, the more you compromise on speed. Adding things such as excess images and videos will take effect on slowing down your site. Take a step back and consider what you really need and what your audience will prefer before making extravagant changes.
Who you host with can also affect your speed – make sure you have a good hosting company lined up before you go ahead. Once you have gone live, add google analytics and search console to monitor what is and isn’t working for your site. You must look at the stats behind the stats.
PLANNING & MEASUREMENT
Plan content ahead of time
Knowing what content will go out ahead of time will ensure your hard work during the website build won’t go to waste. As we mentioned above, well optimised yet more importantly well-intended content will help your website thrive.
Our three and six-month content plans are designed to help you get ahead and will give you something new and exciting to write about every week. We will take into consideration any critical dates in your diary and industry as well as what your customers are looking for online.
The content plans will ensure that you have consistently engaging content to share as well as help you to be discovered online by your target audience. Having this plan will ensure your web team can cultivate the content ahead of time and ensure its fully optimised alongside visually appealing.
Start measuring from the very beginning. It is essential that you analyse your website performance regularly and right from the get-go. This is so you know exactly what works and what doesn’t and what you can change to improve it.
Install Google Analytics once you have gone live and watch how things unfold. It’s key to remember that it takes 4-12 weeks for Google to crawl a website so don’t be disheartened at first, make sure you get it done right away to collect the data you need to improve your site..
In the long run…
While most website owners may think about SEO after the development process, the truth is you need to take SEO considerations into account at the very start. It might seem like a lengthy task, but what is worse? Getting everything done at once – or spending hours completely refreshing your SEO from scratch?
Teamwork makes the dream work. SEO consultants and website developers can work hand in hand to ensure the best possible outcome.
WE CAN HELP.
Know that you need to improve your SEO but not sure where to start?
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