SEO Web design is the partnership between web design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More so, it is a philosophy that includes the user and lead generation within the design and planning process. Even more importantly, it is a methodology whereby SEO planning and strategy happens throughout, rather than as a post-launch activity.
Most commonly you will find web designers who outline SEO as a post-planning and/or post-build service. This often comes by way of an SEO plugin so metatags and titles can be optimized and content can be reviewed and graded. For others, there will be some general keyword research and SEO content edits.
SEO Web Design from reputable SEO Web Design Agencies takes an entirely different approach altogether.
This approach includes SEO throughout the entire process from planning, to coding, to design to content to post-launch. It is an approach where the entire foundation is built upon solid SEO infrastructure and knowledge designed to not only bring leads to a website, but capture and convert them.
If This is Such a Great Approach Why Aren’t All Web Designers Doing This?
SEO is hard work. It’s time consuming work. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to do it properly and quite frankly, web design is easier without taking user experience and lead generation into account.
It is an entirely different skill-set than web design, so a team approach is often needed. It would be difficult to be one person fluent in programming, coding, web design, graphic design and comprehensive SEO.
In addition, due to the time and work involved, good SEO is not suitable as a lost-leader type service, especially if you want it done properly. This means it adds to an overall budget and when web design companies are quoting for accounts, they can bring their price down by leaving it out. Since many non SEO companies say they do SEO, a real SEO Web Design Approach when compared to basic web design can often run higher in price.
In addition, education is usually part of the sales process which also takes time and resources.
When business owners are comparing web design quotes, they may think they are comparing apples to apples. In reality, the quotes likely vary in scope regardless of SEO. Plus, comparing a basic web design with SEO web design is truly like comparing apples with, well, pineapples.
SEO Web Design – The Process
Incorporating true SEO into web design requires a process that begins in the planning stages and is a part of every aspect of the build, and beyond. This is the key element that is important for businesses to understand when comparing web design companies.
The SEO web design process has several additional steps than a regular website, and with that comes additional time, additional scope and often additional cost.
When businesses understand the process and the importance of user-experience and lead generation, the added steps and cost makes sense.
When following an SEO Web design process, planning is a crucial stage. SEO moves beyond basic keywords and content and incorporates user experience, lead generation, site speed, user paths, targets and goals. It is during this phase that we work with you to really understand your business, your target market, how to attract your target market and the best way to encourage them to interact with your website.
What features do you want your website to have? What are the best technologies to achieve these goals? What will things look like (figuratively and literally)? What is the user looking for?
Keyword research, competition research, industry trends, current website analytics and more all go into the planning process. It is during this phase where a thorough audit of your business, your market and your goals begins.
2. Keyword Research
Exhaustive keyword research is part of the planning process (and will continue long after the build). What is uncovered during the research phase helps lead the way for key site planning decisions, including site architecture, lead capture pages, content and more.
Keyword research helps determine the search phrases your targeted customer is using to discover websites of businesses such as yours.
Top Keywords – Top keywords are the general keyword phrases that are common among web visitors. If your business is local it will often be city +service or city +product. During the keyword research phase we determine the popularity and competitiveness of keywords and set target goals.
Long-tail Keywords – These are more specific, generally longer search phrases, used by users to find specific products/services/content from businesses such as yours. These may be questions or sub-services. Generally, these are less competitive, less popular and easier to rank for. We can’t ignore these phrases as when combined, the traffic can often amount to a strong base.
We may set a phased schedule of keyword priority. This allows us to work on a variety of keyword phrases (top and long-tail) in tandem, before moving onto a different topic or priority. This is an effective way to continuously build website traffic and relevance in the marketplace.
3. Competition Research
Let’s take a look at what your competition is doing, and then do it better. By fully understand what other businesses in your sector are doing online, we can best plan how to compete in the marketplace.
Are there gaps in the marketplace where you can easily slide in?
Are there ideas we can garner from other websites?
By thoroughly analyzing the competition, we can gain a solid understanding of the market and where you best fit.
4. Site Architecture
The navigation and flow of your website is important. In a basic web design (non SEO) process this may be given to a client by a web designer or a client may ask for certain items.
With SEO web design, the key decisions for site architecture are made based on SEO and User experience.
Getting the site architecture right can involve several key decisions. After all, keywords don’t always have marketing flow. Since thus far, everything has been done based on SEO and usability, the same holds true for this phase.
The competition research, keyword research, the user and your goals outline the best navigation, page names and content.
This is where many businesses and web designers will be reminded that it is not what the business wants that matters, but rather what the user needs.
A website that speaks to the user and their needs will perform better than a website that is simply about the business.
5. The Website Build
This is where all that hard planning work starts to see the light of day. Seeing a mockup of a homepage or page layouts is fun and exciting, which is why non SEO web designers often start with this step. It gets a client excited for the project. But, with an SEO-first approach, the build cannot begin until after all the planning is finished.
There are a variety of ways to build a website, including various platforms, code languages and templates. But, for a website to perform well in the search engines, there needs to be an SEO approach to the build. Google and other search engines outline best practices for webmasters including, user experience, site speed, clean code, tags, hosting location and optimization.
From coding to design, SEO best practices should be accounted for.
6. Website Content
On the surface, writing content for a website seems like an easy task for most business owners. Many times, they know their business best and will want to take on this job. Writing content for the web is much different than writing content for a brochure or a business proposal.
With an SEO approach to web design, developing good content is essential. In addition, an ongoing content marketing plan is key for success.
SEO website content has three main jobs. It needs to be relevant to search queries so search engines rank the pages higher. It needs to grab the reader’s attention right away. It needs to provide the information the visitor is looking for.
Let’s say we had a 4th. It needs to encourage the visitor to learn more, purchase or contact.
Generally, web content has a many headings, lists and short paragraphs. It is scanable and various typography styles will be used to make things interesting.
Content should be written to speak to the user. It needs to be quick and easy to read and should not include industry terms the user has not yet been introduced to.
Content has a big job to play on a website and it’s important this phase is done right. Well-crafted content is key to success.
7. Ongoing Reviews and Reporting
Once the website is built and launched, there’s still more to come. SEO web design undertakes the practice of regularly reviewing web analytics, running a/b testing and making updates as needed. In addition, regularly adding content helps future success.
SEO professionals relish in digging into a website’s analytics to see what is performing well and what may need a revision. In addition, user queries and intention change which is why monitoring analytics, search engine results and leads is a crucial aspect of a sound SEO strategy.
8. Site Maintenance
Regular tweaks, both programmatically and within content, will be made on an ongoing basis to ensure a website is running its best. Platforms change and have updates and upgrades so regular website maintenance helps ensure your website is performing at its peak for your visitors.
How to Incorporate SEO Into Your Web Design
SEO isn’t something that should be incorporated in silo into your web design. It should be the foundation and a part of every piece of the puzzle.
When SEO is considered at every stage of web design, it shows in the results because it shows in the build. It puts the user first and when the user comes first, they feel important and are more likely to convert.
While a strong SEO strategy can be incorporated on a pre-existing website, when you have the opportunity to build (or re-build) from scratch, you can rest-assured that your foundation is sound.
1. Hire the right SEO Web Design Firm
This is the key step when incorporating SEO into web design. Whether you are utilizing your current built or starting fresh, having the right time is essential. When SEO professionals work closely with web designs the results are better.
2. Don’t rush the process
SEO is a long-game marketing approach. The results build up slowly over time, but the long term benefit is worth the wait. It’s easy to get cold-feet while you’re waiting, but give the strategy time to take footing.
3. Don’t quit
Once you start to see results, it is tempting to quit. Keep in mind, that a well-planned SEO approach involves a content and optimization plan that is continuous. In other words, the results you will see in say six months are solidly based upon the work that is done today. If you stop, you may not see the effects of quitting immediately, but over time you will.
Our best results come from web design builds that were executed with a sound SEO strategy at the forefront. While sometimes, in a non-competitive market, SEO can be added post-build, best practices and the best opportunity for success come from a true SEO web design build.
Our success is built upon our past results. While trends and tactics may change, year over year this SEO web design build process is crucial for our top achieved results.
About 1st on the List
Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.
To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-877-567-1341 or send us an email.