When building a website, it’s easy to become distracted by design and how your website will look with little consideration for User Experience (UX) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The following describes some key considerations for a website build to make sure that your website not only looks good but also supports UX and SEO objectives.
Plan navigation throughout the site and the site’s structure with SEO in mind. Make your navigation accessible and use terms that visitors would use to describe your offerings. For example, instead of ‘products’ or ‘services’ with drop down menu’s, create a flat, more action oriented menu. This will keep visitors on your page for longer, prompting further exploration of the site.
Aspace is a great example of short concise navigation with descriptive labels. The menu navigation is also repeated down the left side of the page with inspirational copy.
TIP: A Visitors Flow report in Google Analytics, will highlight how people navigate their experience on your site giving you insights on how to give a better experience for the visitor.
A responsive design is not only good for UX, but also SEO. Recent statics from Smart Insights indicates that mobile usage is exploding indicating that 48% of search starts on a mobile phone.
There is a difference between a mobile site and a responsive site
- Responsive design requires you only have one website that is coded to adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what the device the website’s being displayed on.
- A mobile template is a completely separate entity requiring you to have a second, mobile-only website or subdomain.
When building for mobile, a design for mobile navigation and page layout is also essential. A good rule of thumb is to include a mobile responsive logo, main menu and possibly an additional item like site search. Pizza Express uses both responsive and mobile templates.
Tip: Test the site on all major browsers and mobile devices.
Content is will be critical to SEO and UX success. Relevant, accurate and up-to-date information will encourage visitors to stay on your site for longer, return to your site more often and possibly even share content, which will support your SEO objectives.
Keywords and long-tail Keywords are the words or phrases that visitors will use to find you on the web. Google uses these words in their algorithms to produce search results that best match the query. There are many ways to help you define keywords, such as using Google’s Keyword Planning tool, searching key social media trends, review Google’s ‘related search’ results (typically found at the bottom of a search results page – see below) as well as explore your competition and keyword usage in their meta descriptions.
Tip: Once you have defined those keywords use them in your Page Title, url, Header Tags, Image Alt Tags and even in bold or underlined text
A crawlable design helps those little Googlebots find content for search results. Make it easy for your site to be crawled. Sliders are popular in WordPress themes, but don’t always offer the greatest results for both UX and SEO. Not only are they difficult for Google to crawl, but they can slow down your site and push your content further down search result pages. Manage WP Blog provides a great overview of why you shouldn’t use sliders and their alternatives.
Tip: Web fonts are handy for creating a visually appealing website. Use static images and text and remember to not distract the site with confusing graphics or animations. Complimentary palette of colours will also aid your site design.
Internal Linking structure
An internal linking structure is important to SEO because it helps build authority for web pages as well as improve SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking.
Link your Keywords to a popular internal page, increasing the rank in SERPs for that keyword phrase and page. Always link to the same page, as continually linking to different pages means that you are making your link less useful to SEO.
A plugin like Yoast will prompt authors to create SEO friendly url structures that search engines can index and understand. Yoast will also prompt authors to complete title tags and meta tags to support SEO.
Tip: It is important to check that meta tags and robots.txt file aren’t inadvertently blocking crawlers from indexing important pages. You check this via Google Webmaster tools.
Your visitors want instant access to your website and a fast loading site will be critical to support UX and SEO. When building your site ensure CSS is optimised (keeping CSS files small) and that databases are optimised for maximum performance. Browser caching also increases loads time and reduces server lag.
Tip: Reduce the size of your image files, so images load faster and speed up the experience for your visitors.
Inbound linking is about driving traffic to your site in a legitimate way that doesn’t damage your sites reputation with search engines. Building relationships with other relevant sites and creating opportunities from external websites to link to your website is a powerful tool. You can achieve this via a PR strategy or through business partnerships.
Ultimately if the content you are building has referral potential then you will find Inbound linking will grow organically. For instance, I highly recommend HubSpot as a source of great information and have provided a link here to their site on Inbound Links FAQ.
All these suggestions can be built into a WordPress website which will create a fast, responsive site that is easy to navigate keeping visitors on your site for longer as well as encourage visitors to return, which ultimately supports SEO making it easier for new visitors to find you again and again.