How to Combine SEO and Design for Website Success
There are still many site owners who think SEO and design are different concepts in web development. You get the most of your SEO strategy when it is integrated into website design and organisation programs.
This is especially true because many decisions that affect our search engine optimisation happen beyond the boundaries of traditional optimisation.
For instance, keyword research may show that “running shoes” would be a strong keyword to optimise for, and dancing and riding shoes are also well searched for too. If the original web development team decided not to add function as an important category or sub-filter, there would be no individual page to optimise “running shoes.” This is a common mistake and fixing the problem is often an expensive change on the platform.
Or suppose the page for running shoes already exists on the site, but the template is designed to render the text as an image that it is hard for search algorithms to pick up. This requires a template change that will need the creative and development team to work together.
You can save your business a lot of time and cost, as well as possible SEO errors by integrating it into every phase of the design and development process for elements on the website.
SEO and Digital Strategy
Keyword research is a direct portal into the thinking and behavior of online searchers. If they are actively searching for something, it is because they are interested. Because of this, keyword research should be one of the key data used in the strategic planning process for building a website.
The role of the SEO expert transcends being the searcher’s voice; it also involves representing the needs of the search engine itself. In other words, SEO should speak to both humans (first) and algorithms. In the past, people deliberately wrote content for only search engines, causing the web to be filled with technical mumbo-jumbo that were incomprehensible to real users. They were eventually penalised by Google’s correctional algorithms; Panda and Penguin.
Some things that are highly engaging to customers are usually the least accessible to search engines. SEO analysts must engage developers and strategic thinkers to collaborate on super-interesting content that can easily be accessed by algorithms.
During the strategy phase, the SEO analyst will also be expected to audit the website, place key performance indicators (KPI) for organic search, and add to the technical requirement documents or business. Ensure you get the SEO team involved from the onset because technical and creative tasks usually separate into two parallel paths after this phase, and SEO must be incorporated into both.
SEO and Architecture
Architecture is always a big discipline of site development from an SEO angle. You can employ other disciplines to integrate architecture into the strategy or design phases. However, it is also important for SEO to have its own phase in the process of website development.
It is imperative for the SEO expert to work with the UX specialist or information architect in the architecture stage. They will make sure that navigation elements reveal the important keyword themes.
A sitemap will be created to determine the pages that will exist on the website, as well as how they will be interconnected. It will also indicate which pages are to be optimised and the link authority to be set up between them. Wireframes establish how navigational elements will operate; will there be any textual structures to be optimised on the page? If so, then it shouldn’t be image-facing.
With this, it is possible to see how SEO and architecture play a vital role in the future of the site’s SEO performance.
Creative design and SEO
It is common for most teams to introduce their SEO personnel towards the end of this phase, but it is a mistake- albeit an honest one. After the page(s) mock structures have been designed and approved, and content has been created, the next step is meta data. Then they think, OK, it is time to call the SEO guy.
However, at this point, many decisions have been carried out – decisions that affect SEO so much, it becomes difficult to save the program SEO-wise.
Sure, the page content requires title tags and metadata and other attributes for images. Also, the content that has been written in the brand’s tone of voice and customer engagement must be fine-tuned to reflect the relevant key-words. But according to Megan of Orthosynetics, we need to SEO as much more than these functions.
In the same way the SEO analyst needs to work together with the UX specialist, and the architectural-stage designer, they also need to do the same in this phase to revive the navigational elements.
The SEO and development stage
We discussed previously how SEO needs to be incorporated with development during the strategy phase. But when you start actual site development, SEO must be introduced into the whole process. The SEO analyst should be there to suggest solutions that correct platform limitations and technical requirements, while sustaining SEO functionality.
Additionally, the SEO analyst must assess the website’s SEO elements on the staging server. They will also produce a 301- redirect link to protect the SEO performance when the page is finally launched.
Launching the site and the role of SEO
The launch process is not only for the design and development team. The SEO professional must be present in the strategy room when the website is being launched. Even some experienced teams have unwittingly blocked search bots from accessing their site by making a specific text file live when the shouldn’t have.
This error prevents the algorithms from indexing the site and thus significantly reduces the organic search performance of the website. It is the role of the SEO professional to be available and monitor 301-redirects as these are crucial to the launch. They will also be responsible for the performance of other site elements.
It is essential that the analytical process supports and loops back to the strategic phase. Then it sets the precedent for brainstorming the next round search engine optimisations.
With ample experience in content writing and research analysis, I believe that they are ‘One Single Unit’. I enjoy bringing them both together in order to give a fine definition, meaning to the content created. I enjoy writing articles, website content, social media content, email templates, press releases, white papers, news articles etc.
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