As technology advances and web usage evolves, so do SEO best practices. Web designers now have more choices and technologies available than ever before.
I thought it would be helpful to revisit the top SEO considerations relating to some of the latest website design trends, which include parallax, responsive, and HTML5 design.
Although I am a huge fan of incorporating all three design choices when appropriate; in all cases, site architecture and accessibility remain the primary SEO concerns.
Most people know that designing with the end user in mind also helps improve SEO rankings. There are technical reasons why this is the case and why it’s of paramount importance to design with the user in mind. This article focuses on this concept in more detail, and I provide actionable next steps for SEO professionals to consider when thinking about website interaction and user experience design.
1. Quality Content
When we first started looking at SEO as a separate entity to website build there was one phrase that we would continually hear, “content is King”, and it’s true. There is nothing more valuable you can do to optimise your site for search engines than offer unique well written content. A search engines aim is to serve up what it believes to be the most appropriate website for any given search to the end user.
Imagine we are the end user and we are searching for a portable air conditioner for hire. We go to our favourite search engine and search for the phrase “portable air conditioner hire”. In this imaginary scenario let’s assume there are only 2 websites that target that phrase,
Website 1 consists of a single page with 3 paragraphs of text. The text tells us that the company does portable air conditioning hire and give us a phone number to call.
Website 2 contains 30 plus pages all focusing on various portable air conditioning units that we can hire, costs and technical explanations of how portable air conditioning units work.
Which website do you think the search engine is likely to offer to the user first? It’s a rather obvious example but it illustrates the importance of good content so your priority should be good quality content.
2. Use Structural (Semantic) Mark Up and Separate Content from Presentation
Semantically structuring your mark up helps search engines understand the content of your webpage which is of course a good thing. Making proper use of heading elements is essential because search engines give more weight to the content within the heading elements.
Using CSS to separate the design elements from the content makes for much leaner code and makes it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for, which is content. Remember content is king!
3. Titles and Meta Data
Providing pages with proper titles and meta data is essential. As discussed in the top important Black-hat SEO techniques section the meta description and meta keywords elements have been so misused in the past that Search
Engines now regard them as less important, it’s still important to use them and use them properly. Titles however still carry a lot of weight and when we think of semantic mark up it is obvious why. The title of anything is a declaration as to what the content might be, so make sure your page titles are a true representation of the content of the page.
4. Keyword Research and Effective Keyword Use
Create your website with keywords and key phrases in mind. Research keywords and key phrases you think people might use to find your site. Single words are not always the most effective target, try multi-word phrases that are much more specific to your product/service and you’ll be targeting end users that are much more likely to want what you are offering.
Use the keywords and key phrases you’ve identified effectively throughout your website. Assign each page 2-3 of the keywords you’ve identified and use the keywords throughout all the important elements of the page. Those are,
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Heading Elements
- Alt Tag
- Title Tag
5. Quality Inbound Links
Having inbound links to your website can be likened to having a vote for the good but there are good links and bad links so therefore votes for the good and votes that are bad. Good links are links from other web pages
that are regarded highly by the search engines and are contextually relevant to the content of your page. Bad links are links from web pages that aren’t regarded highly or potentially banned by search engines and have no relevance to the content of your page.
Imagine we have a website that sells telephones.
Link A: Link on the homepage of the British Telecoms website. = Good
Link B: Link on John Smiths Beer and Ale appreciation links page = Bad
The amount of quality inbound links to your site therefore have some relevance on how high up the search engine your site is placed. When sourcing links you should be thinking of quality over quantity and deep linking to pages within your website not just the home page.
In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, White Hat SEO refers to the usage of optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies.
For example, a website that is optimized for search engines, yet focuses on relevancy and organic ranking is considered to be optimized using White Hat SEO practices. Some examples of White Hat SEO techniques include using keywords and keyword analysis, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content for human readers.
How to Improve Search Performance While Maintaining Your Integrity
- What White Hat SEO is, exactly
- How White Hat SEO can affect your website and business
- How to Implement Effective White Hat SEO Tactics Without Breaking the Rules
White Hat SEO is the opposite of Black-hat SEO. Generally, White Hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search performance on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engines’ terms of service. These tactics stay within the bounds as defined by Google. Examples include:
- Offering quality content and services
- Using descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags
- Making your site easy to navigate
As the number one search engine, Google is visited by hundreds of millions of people per day, and each visit presents the potential for your site to be discovered by a new user. Google is an undeniably powerful source of traffic to your website, and being banned can result in a drastic drop in website traffic and even business. Consider all the work that goes into your website and then think about what it would be like to be banned from the internet’s most commonly used search engine. What’s worse, once you’re banned from Google, there is no guarantee that they will ever re-list you. A lifetime ban from Google would have tremendous consequences.
Definitely! Implementing White Hat SEO practices is the best way to create an ethical, sustainably successful website and business. Does this mean you can’t use automation in your search campaigns? Definitely not!
WordStream has the best of both worlds: intelligent, cutting-edge automation that makes it easier to rank your site, as well as tools like an SEO keyword tool that enable you to observe Google’s guidelines. Let’s revisit Google’s suggestions for SEO best practices.
Offer Quality Content and Services
WordStream’s Keyword Discovery Tool and Long Tail Keyword Tool provide content ideas and product enhancements. These tools work together to grow your keyword list and content suggestions by recording search queries that brought people to your website and automatically adding them to your WordStream keyword database for your review.
To the untrained eye, identifying if your site is potentially at risk from Black-hat techniques can be difficult, that’s why at PushON we offer a free website analysis which would uncover any potential problems.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss search engine optimisation for your website.