We all know the importance of having an SEO friendly website from the word go. SEO is an organic, inexpensive and more importantly a definite way to ensure that you get traffic on your website. In this article, I have tried to highlight the most important components while creating an SEO friendly website, and I will take you through the entire process step by step.
Any project has three major parts to it.
I will also follow the same order. Please note that all examples are purely hypothetical.
Phase 1- Pre-Development
Step 1- Domain registration
Domain names are hardly ever subject to debate. Mostly they are either the full name of the business or some form of an abbreviation. However, you will be surprised to know that your domain name is critical in many ways and must reflect the nature of business or domain you specialize in. So in case, your business name reflects your family name and not the nature of the business, then your website must be different from the official business name.
For example, if you run a second-hand car dealership, but the business is registered in your family name, like “Timothy and Sons” or say “Beckland Brothers”, then picking “timothyandsons.com” or “becklandbrothers.com” as domains would not work, since the domain gives absolutely zero ideas to people of what you do. Further, in case someone does search for “local car dealers” on Google, chances are that your name won’t come up or will fail to show up on the first page of the search- which is pretty much the Malibu waterfront property of search engines. Hence you need to pick a domain name that gives the prospective visitor a clue about your business from the word go- something like “becklandcars.com” or “onlythebestcars.com”. (OK, I am not really great at the name thingy. So due to apologies)
Step 2- Server Hosting
What many businesses do, in order to save a bit of money, is that they settle for shared servers from third party sources. Now when you are looking to build an SEO friendly website, server speed is critical, since it impacts loading time, which must be low. Hence you must go for dedicated servers which will ensure quick and smooth loading and as a result good UX. If budget is an issue, hire Indian programmers by outsourcing the project. But compromising on your hosting server will cripple your website before it even gets a proper start.
Phase 2- Development
Step 3- User-Friendly URLs
When you hire developers to create your website, the first thing you need to impress on your developer is to create user-friendly URLs. When the developer is creating a page, he/she has the option to create a tailor-made link for the page and need not use the auto-generated one which is created by default.
For example, while the auto-generated link for the “blogs” section of the website “www.abcd.com” will probably be www.abcd.com/;ohguigh4775747.php. Instead, the developer has the option to create a link which gives some clue about the page itself. Something like www.abcd.com/blogs. User-friendly URL’s are considered SEO friendly as well.
Step 4- Design components
An SEO friendly design isn’t necessarily a very jazzy one. Generally, templates which make a hero out of the content and accords maximum space to text has a chance to score really high on the “SEO matrix” if you will.
It is also necessary to choose dynamic design templates so that the template is scalable across platforms and the website can be mobile friendly. Being mobile friendly is extremely critical since a majority of the users will do so on their mobile phones.
Step 5- Page Navigation
Page Navigation should be clear and evident. The User should not have to search a lot to find the navigation controls. Page navigation is a part of UX as well and poor UX will turn away visitors from the website.
Step 6- Remove 404 errors
SEO good practices dictate that your website should be a 404 error-free site. Do rigorous testing during development and eliminate all such errors.
If 404 errors keep popping up on the website, users will turn away from the website and you will lose potential leads.
Stage 7- HTML
Here are a few things we need to keep in mind regarding HTML in an SEO friendly website.
I. The HTML code should be minimized. In a website which is created for maximum SEO utilization, having more HTML ratio as compared to actual text(content) will render the website less effective, since less content means less text that can get crawled and you will struggle to come up on searches. Hence we must always use an external CSS file.
II. H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 heading tags must be present.
III. Image alt tags must be present.
It is also a god to ensure that separate HTML code should be written for mobile and handheld devices versions.
Step 8- SEO friendly Content
Content should be SEO optimized, keyword rich, informative and easy to consume for the reader. It is also important that the content is original. Now there are many who decide to write the content themselves or compromise of the content quality. However, where SEO is concerned, content is arguably the most critical aspect and must be handled by professional writers who know how to write and optimize the content so that it is SEO friendly.
Phase 3- Post Development
Now that your website is up and running, your job does not end there itself. Once your website has launched, you must test to check whether all URL’s are working properly or not and find and fix broken or faulty links.
Secondly, you must ensure that XML and HTML sitemaps are clearly visible on the website. Lastly, to ensure that your website is secure, ensure that your website runs on the HTTPS protocol and delete any HTTP version that might have been created.
So, there you have it. This is a proven and charted course that one can take to build an SEO friendly website. There are of course factors in play. However, they are mostly minor in terms of importance and can be fixed along the way.