SEO for Web Designers – 21 factors to influence rankings & traffic

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

Home : SEO : SEO for Web Designers

As web designers and design agencies, your choices have a massive impact, positive or negative on the SEO rankings and traffic of a website.

You’re already well versed with these factors but there’s nothing like a refresher or reminder.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Keyword research and traffic

The first step towards organic search growth is understanding what keywords people use when they search online.

Check out my unique brand of keyword research called Click Forecasting.

Using this SEO strategy will help to determine which pages should get priority attention.

If not, then the website you’re working on is missing out on valuable traffic.

Understanding Search Intent

Search intent refers to the reason why users enter queries into search engines.

For example, if a user enters a query “how to make money”, it is highly likely she may be looking for information on how to earn money online.

Knowing the purpose behind each type of search query helps us understand where our target audience is coming from.

This allows you to create content that resonates with them.

As a result, this may increases conversions and leads.

However, understanding user intent isn’t always obvious; it requires analysing the top results and page content the search engines rank on page 1. 

Wireframes

Give a copy of your wireframes to your SEO team so they can see you both are on the same page right from the beginning of a design project.

Why not cooperate? Even better.

They can provide SEO strategies and keyword strategies and recommend a well-structured site for traffic and conversion.

Content

Quality content is one of the most powerful tools available to any website owner and web designer today.

When done right, content attracts links and users taking action.

But even though this may seem obvious, many websites and web designers still struggle with creating great content.

AI for SEO and copywriting are here and you’ll be amazed what can be created; with speed, ease and high quality.

Source : fortunebusinessinsights.com

Content Strategy

Content marketing is all about creating the types of content that prospects are searching for and want to take action upon.

Content is more than just writing; it involves creating content that will help your target audience solve problems, finding products and services, comparing and reviewing choices before deciding and achieving goals.

A useful content strategy framework is the buyers funnel as summarised in the graphic below.

Above the Fold

I experimented to test the best places on a web page to put a “call to action”.

75% of my opt-ins last month came from a text-based call to action above the fold of the browser.

The other 25% of opt-ins came from the call to action placed further down the page.

Why?

Research revealed that most people don’t scroll past the first screenful of web pages.

So, it doesn’t make sense to place a call to action further down the page or at the end of the page for boosting conversions.

Add signposts

Now let’s say someone finds and starts reading your page and it doesn’t answer what they’re looking for.

They see a link to similar content.

No doubt you’ve seen e-commerce product pages with related products under the main product.

And informational websites copied them and added related articles at the very foot of the article you’re reading.

From a conversion perspective, putting related articles at the foot is the worst location.

You should add your related content links within the first screenful.

User-friendly navigation

Navigation menus make browsing a site easy and intuitive.

But if you don’t organise links properly, visitors may have a poor user experience, get lost and leave.

Make sure menu items lead to relevant or important sections of the site.

Also, try to limit drop downs to only show when necessary.

Website accessibility

Accessibility refers to making sites usable by everyone regardless of disability.

For example, many blind individuals rely heavily on audio descriptions to navigate websites.

That means having captions on text elements as well as video players.

And I’m fairly sure the colours on my website don’t work for everyone.

Speed

According to recent studies by Truelist, abandoned shopping carts increased by 75% because of slow load times.

Speed plays a major factor in user experience and conversion rates.

To avoid losing customers due to poor UX, focus on reducing loading time wherever possible.

Visual appeal

Don’t underestimate the power of images and visuals. Images convey information faster than words alone.

Images are processed 60,000 times faster than words.

People also tend to spend longer viewing visual media such as infographics and videos.

Use images where appropriate.

If there’s no need for one, then don’t use it.

Keep it simple.

White space

White space refers to empty areas between different parts of a design.

The goal is to give web pages a clean look while still maintaining their visual hierarchy.

Too much white space can distract readers though so avoid using it just for aesthetic purposes.

Mobile friendly and responsive design

I don’t have to tell you a responsive, seo-friendly website is essential.

A responsive website design adapts its layout based on screen size, allowing readers to view your content easily across different platforms.

My website has only 38% of mobile users but I found that a couple of clients with 67% and 72% of traffic from mobile search.

Security and SSL

Hackers have been known to exploit security vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised entry into websites.

This could allow hackers to steal sensitive customer information, damage company reputations or disrupt operations or drop nasty links into a website.

According to Hosting Tribunal, nearly 21% of the top 100,000 Alexa websites don’t have HTTPS.

Meta descriptions and title tags

Your title tag should be concise but descriptive.

Ideally, it will include keywords related to your business.

A 50-60 character meta title is normally a good length.

You can test out your titles with this tool from To The Web.

Use a 150-160 character meta description or leave blank and let Google automatically write the descriptions for you. 

URL structure

Your domain name has an enormous influence over whether someone clicks through to your site.

It needs to be easy-to-read and descriptive enough to tell visitors exactly where they are going.

A good rule of thumb is to keep URLs short and include only words related to the keyword you are targeting.

Links

Search engine optimisation isn’t just about writing compelling copy — it’s also about earning backlinks.

Backlinks are hyperlinked text or images from other websites that point to your site and are a major ranking factor.

They play a huge role in helping search engines understand what your site is all about.

And while there are lots of ways to build them, I’ve found 3 relatively easy strategies work best.

  • Statistical Link Building
  • Checklist Link Building
  • Broken Link Building

And don’t forget about internal links; learn how to use them wisely to boost existing search rankings.

Schema markup

Schema offers opportunities for web designers who wish to optimise websites for search engines.

These elements allows website owners to add structured data directly into web pages using basic markup.

By doing so, businesses can increase the number of rich snippets returned in SERPs.

Social sharing buttons

Contrary to what everyone else says, remove the social sharing buttons on web pages.

People share web pages less than you think and shares do not equate to earning links; according to research by Brian Dean.

Site map

Having a sitemap will help search engines crawl your entire site easier.

A sitemap makes sure Google knows which pages exist within your site and which ones to show or hide from the search results.

Video

Videos provide an interesting alternative to photos and written content.

According to recent research, around 35% of all search results contains a video result.

Hubspot reported that 72% of consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than read a product description.

Web analytics tools

Tools such as Google Analytics can track user behaviour from multiple channels.

The new Google Search Console reports, integrated with Google Analytics, give some splendid insights into a website’s performance.

Usability testing?

A usability test or user experience study involves observing a person as they use a product, service or website.

The goal of this type of research is to find out if people can complete given tasks.

This helps ensure that users can accomplish what you want them to do in your application.

It also provides insight into how well designed it is for its intended audience.

User experience testing has become an integral part of any digital project.

Good design will make all the difference between success and failure, whether you’re creating a new mobile app, redesigning a website or designing physical products like furniture.

Tools such as Hotjar and Microsoft Clarity are useful for doing user tests.

How To Optimise SEO For Voice Searches

The way we use our phones has changed a lot over the past few years, and now Google wants us to use them as an extension of ourselves when searching online.

This change from typing out words or phrases onto a screen to speaking those same things aloud is called voice search.

And while there are still many questions about how exactly voice searches work, one thing is clear – voice search is here to stay.

According to Statista, 33 percent of respondents had interacted with brands, products, or services through a smart speaker voice assistant.

Do I need to optimise for voice search?

There are two main ways that you can tell whether or not your company needs to adjust to voice search.

First, you can look at your analytics data.

You may notice that certain keywords aren’t bringing in much traffic anymore because most people don’t type “voice” into their queries any longer.

Or maybe you’ve noticed that your bounce rate is increasing after adding voice-friendly features such as captions and transcripts.

If your audience doesn’t use voice search, you shouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to make it better. 

Summary

So no pressure, make sure you have SEO in mind before strategy a project because many of your choices can make or break the rankings and traffic of a website.