Search engine optimization — better known as SEO — is an essential component of web design today.
Many novice web designers simply don’t know where to begin when it comes to SEO, so today, we’ll explore the importance of search engine optimization, along with a few of the different keys to creating a SEO-friendly website.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is extremely important as search engines account for a vast majority of traffic for most websites. A site that’s search engine optimized will pull in more traffic, thereby making the website more successful and more profitable.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engine optimization entails creating your website and its content in a manner that aligns with the way in which searchers seek out information. For instance, you must use keyword phrases in your content, as Google crawls your site, ‘memorizing’ your content. When a searcher enters a phrase that’s present on your site, Google ‘remembers’ this and offers your site as a search result. For this reason, you must use relevant keyword phrases in your website content — phrases that a person would Google if they were hoping to see your page as a result.
The goal is to get onto the first page of Google’s search results for as many relevant terms as possible. Studies have revealed that a mere 20% of searchers ever view the second page of search results and of those 20%, less than 5% ever view page 3, so getting onto the first page of Google’s results for a primary term is important.
How Can I Improve My Site’s SEO?
In addition to using keywords in your content and site headings, it’s also wise to interlink your content. This not only allows for easier search engine crawling, but it can turn one page view into several, which is an important SEO ranking factor.
It’s also important to target only relevant keyword terms; terms that a page is about. If you target irrelevant terms which aren’t related to the web page’s content, then it harms your standing as you’ll be likely to generate a high bounce rate. A bounce is a very brief page view; it tells Google that your site didn’t offer anything of value to the reader. Conversely, keeping the reader on-site as long as possible and providing lots of great links to relevant content can improve your bounce rate.
Other tips include the following:
- update your site frequently to keep the site dynamic;
- use a SEO plugin to add meta tags to your site;
- include relevant subheadings in your content;
- remember to include an XML sitemap and link to it in your footer;
- avoid ’empty,’ keyword-stuffed content that is published in an attempt to appeal to search engines;
- avoid anything that harms reader-friendliness;
- promote your site on your social media accounts.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to improving your site’s SEO and its overall reader-friendliness. Today, Google values the reader’s experience. A positive reader experience is paramount; anything that detracts from reader experience results in a demotion in your site’s standing with Google. Today’s Google is focused on the visitor and virtually every good SEO practice can be traced back to positive reader experience. So if you design a site that’s easy to navigate and generally user-friendly, you’ll be inherently appealing to the search engines!