Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is often underestimated when it comes to website performance.
Without proper consideration, SEO has the potential to break your site, and it’s a critical component of the website design and build process.
This blog will provide you with an SEO checklist that will help you ensure your website gets off on the right foot and will help you manage its performance post-launch.
SEO is often an after-thought during the web design process, and some businesses don’t even start thinking about it until after their site is live, only realising then that they’re not ranking for any relevant search terms.
To avoid this, think about the keywords you want to rank for early on in the process. Consider local key terms, short and long-tail phrases as well as any niche words you might be able to rank for. Create a list of all the terms you think your website should rank for and then use a keyword tool such as Moz to find related phrases.
Once you have a solid list of key phrases for your website, start thinking about how you can incorporate these into your content. You might want to think about including them in page titles, subheadings within the content and within the body text itself. You could even create specific landing pages that target valuable terms.
If you’re doing a website upgrade, then it’s likely that some or possibly all of your page URLs will need updating, such as changing www.yourdomainname.com/about-us/our-team/ to www.yourdomainname.com/our-team/. In instances such as this, you’ll need to ensure you’ve set up 301 redirects to prevent the loss of precious SEO value.
Not doing this could see your traffic dramatically decrease and an increase in users landing on 404 error pages and then not returning.
A new website or upgrade is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the structure of your site to determine whether or not everything is logical in regards to navigation and user’s perspective, as well as for SEO. The primary thing to bear in mind here is that you don’t want lots of sub-categories for product or service pages. The ideal setup would be to have landing pages sit towards the top of your domain and, ideally, to contain a keyword.
The second URL is easier to read, places more importance on the primary keyword for that page, while also making logical sense in terms of site structure and navigation.
During the CMS selection process, it’s essential to ask your web agency or developer about the CMS’ capability for editing meta information such as the page title and meta description, as these are vital elements of SEO management. If this isn’t already a standard aspect of the CMS, you should be able to request it or use a plugin to add it to the website.
Your meta description and page title are fundamental, and again they both need to consider users and search engines, placing an importance on the quality of the text as well as the use of keywords. Every page needs to have this, and it needs doing ahead of the launch, not after.
Each page should tick several boxes to ensure that it’s optimised for search engines. These include:
Since Google announced in 2018 that website speed was going to be a ranking factor for websites, it’s become increasingly crucial for businesses to ensure they factor speed into the equation when it comes to optimising their web pages and finding a balance between features and speed.
Also in 2018, Google announced its plans to roll out mobile-first indexing and emphasised the importance of responsive or mobile-first design as well as the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your website.
To summarise, SEO plays a pivotal role in the web design and build process. Here is our recommended checklist for SEO when creating your site:
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