Your website has one job - to tell your brand’s story in a compelling way through an engaging user experience that drives a visitor to take a desired action. So how do you do that? Well, it’s simple but it’s not easy. So instead of overwhelming you with a jargon-ridden novel, we’re going to break the basics down into digestible, biweekly bits of information. Today, we’ll start with an introduction to understanding the basics of SEO.
For those of you who still don’t know what SEO stands for, but also don’t want to ask because it’s kind of like that guy you’ve met ten times at networking events whose name you still can’t remember (we get it), SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO matters because you want to show up on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!, when someone is looking for you - or for what you have to offer.
So, what exactly is SEO, and how does it fit in with your website design?
SEO is the process of presenting information in a way that makes search engines see you as a credible resource in your industry. Think about it. Google’s customer is your customer. Since Google is referring their customer to you they want to be sure they’re going to have a good experience. SEO has continually-evolving variables that are always focused on a positive user experience. SEO isn’t just something you can tack onto your website, so it is extremely important that your website design company understand how to build a website that is primed to be a search engine darling. Among the many SEO variables, some notable mentions for this introduction to SEO are:
- Accessibility - No matter the device, your website better work well and look good. We’ve been preaching fully-responsive design for years, and Google’s been officially backing it since 2015. If you’re getting a website in 2017 and it’s not fully responsive, you’re getting robbed. Period.
- Website Content Quality - Content quality refers to the richness, recency and relevancy of the information on your website, and the structure it’s presented in. High content quality means having relevant and keyword-rich content structured with appropriate titles, headings, alt tags and links so that it’s easy for a user to follow and navigate.
- Load Time - Patience shouldn’t be a required virtue to visit your website. And most visitors aren’t going to wait around if your website doesn’t load quickly. By compressing images and utilizing high-speed hosting, you’re able to keep your load time down, which keeps both your visitor and Google happy.
- Location - Your website is competing for a spot of real estate on a search engine results page (SERP), and as with all real estate, location matters. Providing clear information in regards to where you offer your product or service is essential in helping Google categorize your business as a resource. For example, “Louisville’s Best Web Design Agency” will be much more impactful than simply stating “Best Web Design Agency”. Moral of the story? List your location and own it.
- Security - SSL certificates add bank-level security to your website, and make users feel more comfortable, especially if they’re submitting any type of personal information. Google sees SSL certificates as an extra measure of trust and accountability.
- Technical Errors - Technical errors can often be avoided by making the effort to take the right measures. This means protecting against broken links by testing them, ensuring there’s no duplicate content on your website, confirming that website architecture is accurate and redirects are set up appropriately so your user can get where they want to go without any issues.
These SEO basics may seem, well, basic - but that’s the point. We’ll dig more into SEO in the near future, but in the meantime, these are the fundamental standards you need to master in order to have and maintain a successful website. Have questions or not sure how to analyze your site’s performance? Give us a shout.