A “search engine friendly website design” means that certain steps were taken to make sure that the search engines can easily read and index your website. Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is typically an ongoing internet marketing endeavor. The tips in this list will help make sure your initial design starts off for optimal visibility.
Your website designer probably asked you some questions when they were planning the design of your website, they want to know what kind of site they are creating. Is it for a local business? Are you selling something online? Do you provide a service? How can your prospects, customers, or patients buy or order products or services? These are the same questions that the search engines will be trying to figure out as they read and index your website.
Eight Tips To Help The Search Engines
1) SEO-Friendly Domain
Purchase a domain that is easy to remember and easy to see. Some domains with 4 & 5 words strung together are impossible to read or remember. Domains should be easy for people who know your business, and they should be easy for the search engines to tell what your business is. You might have to resort to adding dashes – this is great for the search engines, the dashes help them understand that a domain has multiple words in it. And if you optimize your website appropriately – people will not have to type in the dashes, your site will be found by any number of keywords.
SECURE domains – the SSL is the “secure sockets layer” (https://) that provides security for your website. It used to be that this was required for websites that accepted credit card information. But now Google has made it a requirement for all business websites.
2) Internet Branding
In the SEO world, your website is often the center of your internet branding, your digital footprint. Consider your logo, branding colors, and any other branding elements in your website design and extend them to other Internet properties. Don’t forget a branded browser icon, your favicon – this gives visibility to your site’s brand and the icon may appear in search results, browser tabs, and elsewhere on the web. If you hire a graphic designer ask for variations of your logo to be made in sizes that are appropriate for your website and social media (you’ll need a square-shaped profile logo and some kind of landscape/rectangle shape cover photo or banner design. If you can’t afford a professional, there are sites such as canva.com where you can design a logo and the size requirements for varying social media channels.
3) Your Navigation … the Main Menu, Mobile Menu, Footer Menus
It should be pretty obvious in your menu items that you are a business doing business on the internet. Practically all business websites should have:
- About page
- Product, Service, Shop, or Practice page
- Contact page
You have 5 seconds to catch someone’s attention, if your navigation gets to busy, flowery, or creative, you could be losing people. Test your mobile menu out. And include footer menus for make it easy for your readers.
4) The Home Page, The First Page of Your Website (and sometimes the only page)
Before delving into the design of your home page please remember … people do NOT read your website like a book. Even though the home page is the first page of your website, often website visitors will NOT even come to your website via the home page, they could “land” on any page of your website.
Please do not use your home page to talk about you, about your company. The home page should be used to address your prospect’s pain, i.e. why they need your products or services. Reserves all the stuff about how great you are for the About page.
The home page should quickly link to key information about your business (usually your main navigation).
5) About Your Business, About You, About Your Staff/Team
The ABOUT page should be about the company. Show that you are a legitimate business, note if you have an LLC, INC, or sister company. It’s useful to let people know if you are a local brick-and-mortar business, a global ebusiness, or other type of business. Briefly identify your service area, if your service area is broad, link to a Service Area page. If you have a management team or departments, highlight them here and provide links for more details. Create a stand-alone page for the owner(s)/founder(s) and link to them. Show even more about what your company is about by including a mission statement. Do you have a Giving Back initiative, a green initiative, or an ethos – if yes, begin the conversation here a link for more information. If you have a testimonial or review page and don’t have room in your main menu – make sure to include a link here.
6) What Others Say About Your Business
The Testimonials Page… people will not value a testimonial on your website as much as one on a third-party site like Yelp, Google Reviews, or Facebook Reviews. However, there is value to having a single page where you highlight a few testimonials for key products/services or for common problems. Consider creating sub-titles that highlight the problem or savings. Also consider including some case studies.
7) How to Contact You
The Contact page is much more than the means to connect with you. Your business will have a better chance of appearing in searches for your area if your customers can see your location. This page should identify the best way to communicate with your business – phone, email, online forms, stop in at an address, or book an appointment. If you have a physical location, include a map to help make you look legitimate. If you don’t have an office open to the public, do whatever you can to provide information that shows you a business doing business on the Internet. Google Maps relies on a contact page for verification.
8) Your Business – is it a Product, Service, Shop…?
Often the most common mistake I find when meeting a new SEO client, is that in a 5-second look at your website, it is unclear as to what your business is. If you sell products, have a Products page or a Shop. If you sell services, have a Services page or promote a Book-an-Appointment. Make it super easy to see that your website is a business and not just an information site or a blog.
There are many, many more elements to designing a website that works for you, your prospects, and the search engines. Use this checklist to get started or to ask questions of your website developer.
As an SEO specialist, I do NOT design websites, but I often work with web developers when converting to a redesigned website.