So you’re looking to create a website to help your business grow but want to know more about the new buzzword ‘SEO’? Or maybe you’ve got an existing website but you’re not getting the engagement and sales you were hoping for. This blog will shed some light on the role SEO plays in improving the performance of your website and turning prospects into customers.
When programmers and designers start mentioning words like ‘crawlable link structures’ and ‘indexable content’ it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. You don’t need to be an SEO expert but it’s a great idea to have a basic knowledge of SEO techniques so that you understand what factors influence the success of your website and where your website could be improved. Being able to talk with your web developer and discuss your website or business will strengthen your SEO strategy from day one.
What is SEO and why is it important?
Search Engine Optimization [SEO] means to optimize a website so that it ranks higher on search engines like Google. Being closer to the top of a search engine for a specific word, phrase or topic will get your website more organic traffic because searchers are more likely to click to your website. More traffic should equate to more leads and sales, helping to improve your business. Particularly in the current climate where the majority of our shopping is done online, it’s key that a website ranks highly in order to improve sales.
Put simply, if a website is not search engine-friendly it will be effectively invisible to online users. It is possible to implement SEO after you have created your site, but it will take more time and effort to build your websites’ visibility. It’s best to integrate SEO from the start when planning and designing a website because web design features such as navigation, technology, keywords and linking all play a key part in making your website accessible to search engines and therefore visible to customers.
Engaging with searchers
When writing your content keep in mind your target audience. Your copy must be relevant to the search a user is making, whether that’s for ‘best local interior designer’ or ‘cute cat picture’. Ask yourself questions like ‘what is my niche’ or ‘am I targeting a specific location’. You’ll find that by answering questions like these and understanding how your target audience are engaging with your competitors you can create a list of relevant keywords. Google keeps track of web pages in keyword-based indexes, so they’re essential to successful SEO. Keywords help search engines to identify what your website is about as well as to connect searchers to your website.
Crawlable content (content that is easy for search engines to find) loads faster and is rewarded by Google. Simple, compelling and clear copy is best because it is search engine-friendly, but it is also great for online users. When a shopper clicks a link to your website they need to be drawn in by the relevance and readability of your content. It must be easy to navigate, with clear headings and pages that lead shoppers to your products or services. Remember, the more engaging your website is, the more traffic it gets, the higher Google will rank your site, which means more potential customers.
Media like videos, GIFS and images aren’t the most important content when it comes to performing better in search engines because of their non-text format. But any great web designer knows that visual appeal is fundamental to creating an engaging website because a website must principally appeal to shoppers and meet their needs. Videos are a great opportunity to educate visitors in a short space of time, or to draw them in with a behind-the-scenes action video which illustrates the brand perfectly.
There are many other design aspects of building a website such as colour and overall layout that influence how a customer views your business. It’s important to discuss with your web developer the aims of your business to ensure that the user remains a priority – after all they are your customers!
The technical aspects of SEO focus on user experience. Web developers look at page speed and performance, building SEO-friendly sites that load quickly. New technologies such as responsive design, which is built for multiple devices, are also considered in SEO because they make the web more usable. Again the purpose of this is to improve the user’s experience. Technology like this is important to stay competitive and be the best online platform out there for your target audience.
Brand trustworthiness plays a big part in online shopping. Generating quality backlinks to credible external websites and social media will help you to improve your search engine rankings. It takes time to build up these links and to demonstrate to Google that your page is important, and so it is best to incorporate SEO from the planning stage of your website.
A successful SEO strategy is one that is optimized primarily for users but also for search engines. When you begin to understand how search engines navigate web pages it becomes easier to understand how aspects of web design like copy, user-friendliness and linking all affect how high you rank on Google. From visual appeal to fast loading, SEO improves a user’s online experience by improving the performance of your website. Having a SEO-friendly web design is invaluable to businesses because it connects what searchers want to see with websites that provide this information, leading to more traffic, higher search engine ranking and a wider customer base for that website.