A website is a business representation online and in a site redesign SEO, it should be structured from the very beginning. The problem, according to website designers however, lies in the persistence with which many site owners view SEO as something ‘extra’, something to be taken care of after their site is already up and running. This train of thought can hinder a brand’s success. SEO and web design are actually intimately linked, and failing to address both at the same time results in loss of traffic, revenue to your competitors. When it comes to online prominence, those who truly succeed are those who place the experience of the customer first - and customers are not differentiating between site redesign SEO and regular SEO.
Joseph Putnam, a web designer, wanted to carefully investigate the importance of web design. He found that when it came to avoiding negative associations with a site, web design was crucial. An astounding 94 percent of responses to his survey mentioned site redesign SEO elements when discussing why they distrusted a particular website. At the same time, when it came to answering why they felt positively towards a particular website, 83 percent of the responses related to the content on the page. In other words, Putnam found that when it comes to building trust with customers, web design and content are two parts of the same coin. One helps to prevent negative associations while the other helps to build positive ones. Successfully launching a website requires taking into account both parts.
The importance of SEO and your site
Brands interested in building a successful website need to keep in mind their reasons for being online. Having a strong web presence is an excellent way to find new customers, improve brand reach and grow the business, but all of these goals require a website that is accessible for visitors and easy for people to navigate - which are also goals that are central to SEO. This means that site optimization is intrinsic to the website building process. SEO has the best lead-to-customer ratio or conversion for brands. This ranks higher than referrals, paid search, social media and traditional means of advertising, also referred to as ‘outbound’ advertising. A properly optimized site will be able to attract visitors who are interested in learning about the brand and the products and services they offer. Organic traffic is actively looking, so their intent to move forward is strongest.
Optimizing a site for search means far more than aligning keywords. It is a process of making the site user-friendly and easy for Google to understand. That means quality SEO will also be optimizing elementary aspects of the site such as URLs, image alt text and the meta descriptions. Google’s spiders examine these bits of information for keywords and insights into the topics the website covers and how well it addresses the needs of the page visitors. The content itself should also be written with the customer in mind.
Site owners should familiarize themselves with the material that their ideal personas want to read and write using the vocabulary that their customers are likely to employ. This will help Google line up the content that is on the site with visitor queries on search engines. Remember that this content is critical to establishing trust with the site, so without it, brands will be challenged to build their reputation. Also. included in the basics of site design SEO, such as being mobile-friendly - with responsive design often being the preferable option - and the navigation of the site. When navigation becomes too confusing for page visitors, they will often just click off the page. An estimated 50 percent of potential sales are lost because users cannot find the information they want. When a website has a high bounce rate because of unsatisfied customers, this will also negatively impact their rankings on SERPs.
Mobile design is also crucial. According to Pew researchers, 64 percent of Americans now own a smartphone and that number continues to grow with each passing year. Mobile searches have now surpassed desktop ones, and sites that are not ready for mobile customers are being left behind. Google cemented the importance of mobile-friendly sites in April 2015 with their algorithm update that forced sites to become mobile-friendly or see penalties. When these features come together, they create a website that is desirable for customers. This website is one that can be viewed on any device, is easy for the customer to navigate and find the information they want and provides valuable content. These are the sites that have been both optimized and well-designed, thereby helping to bring people closer to conversion.
The value of site redesign SEO from the beginning of the project
SEO is fundamental to site design because organic search is the largest channel for generating traffic. It involves the navigation, URLs and basic layout of the website. When sites are designed without taking optimization into account, then there are often massive parts that need to be redone. Someone has to sit down and rename URLs, reorganize content, rewrite pages that do not include customer vocabulary and craft optimized meta descriptions.
One of the biggest costs that companies will feel is the time and money that will be involved in this endeavor. It is also important to note that just because a site is updated does not mean it will automatically receive a lift in the SERPs. Google spiders will have to reinterpret the website and determine where it should fit into the rankings. This lag can result in even more lost time when the site will not be maximizing its potential, thereby resulting in lost revenue. Enormous penalties will also be felt in the loss of interested traffic. When customers cannot easily navigate a site to find what they want, 60 percent will just leave. Forty percent of customers who leave websites because they did not have a good experience will never return. The time between the initial site launch and the initiation of SEO endeavors that correct any navigational and organizational efforts can result in numerous potential customers who arrive on the site and leave, never to be seen again, even once the site has been optimized. It is important to remember that SEO and optimized web design is not a one-time project that can then be shelved. It is continually growing, changing and adapting to new trends and needs. The results from SEO similarly grow overtime.
The Google algorithm takes into account numerous different factors, including how long the website has been around and its perceived authority. A website with strong optimization and excellent content that has been online for several years is going to rank higher than one just published. This means the longer it takes for a site to get around to their optimization efforts, the longer they will also have to wait for their reputation to be established. Postponing optimization efforts will only hurt websites, both in the now and in the long term. Rather than drawing out the process, ensuring that SEO and web design are managed together from the beginning can help the website see the results desired.
Ensuring that site redesign SEO is a main part of the web project
1. Begin designing a website that focuses primarily on the user. Customers want to use websites that are easy for them to navigate. When they cannot find the information they seek, they tend to quickly bounce off. This is bad for business and the high bounce rate will hit the brand’s ranking. To ensure that the site can cultivate leads and customers and that it is optimized for search, make sure the site navigation and organization was planned around the user.
2. Organize the site, such as URLs and the site map, to be Google-friendly. Google looks at URLs, meta descriptions and the sitemap in addition to standard website content when determining the topics that the website covers. Failing to address these aspects of the site during the initial building phase will mean that everything will have to be redone when the site is optimized in the future. It can be extraordinarily time consuming and end up costing extra financially.
3. As pictures are added, make sure to include keyword-centric alt text. Remember that Google cannot ‘see’ pictures so it is important to tell the spiders what the picture is showing. Incorporating keywords into this alt text can help make your page even more relevant to the topic in the eyes of the algorithm.
4. As you develop content, research common topics and longtail keywords to guide production. Content is what makes your site thrive. Having a site go live will do little good if it has nothing to offer visitors. Content, whether it is the homepage text or a blog, needs to appeal to customers and address concerns that had led them to search online. If the content is not optimized for what customers are searching for online, then it will not be able to attract the intended visitors and will not provide the business with ROI.
5. Measure site performance from the moment it goes live. Once the website goes live, measurement is critical. No site redesign SEO effort is perfect fro the start, it is a process of continually growing and developing. Customer needs change and algorithm updates might call for an adjustment in tactics. Maintaining consistent measurements can alert site owners to any changes in visitor flow and their conversions. To maintain a solid picture of how the site is performing, brands should measure a minimum of:
- leads gathered through the site
- visitor numbers - including new visitors and recurring visitors
- bounce rates
- visitor movement throughout the site
Use the trends measured to guide further site developments. Rather than dismissing SEO as a process to be handled in the future, businesses must look at it as an important part of web design. They should build sites that take into account optimization from the start. This will shorten the process and empower businesses to start seeing the results they desire sooner. SEO is integral to selecting the best keywords and content around which to build the site to achieve business goals. Involving an SEO early will help educate and instill the designers and developers with an understanding of SEO that will help get SEO into the DNA of the development process. Organizations that do it ‘the other way around’ lose valuable traffic and revenue to competitors in their space. Moving your site? - Read more here on SEO best practices and key SEO contributions. If you have colleagues who need to start with the basics, try our What is SEO post.