5 ways we build SEO friendly websites

“If you build it they will come.” might have worked for Kevin Costner, but websites need a little more help. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your site better for search engines. This in turn makes it easier for users to find and use your site. Here are some of the techniques we use to make sure the sites we build are SEO and people friendly.

1. Build a sitemap

Is your site showing up on search engines? Google is constantly crawling websites, but some pages can get missed. Submitting a sitemap ensures the pages are being found by crawlers (like Google), while getting a better sense of the structure of the site. You’ll want to submit a site map after updating or publishing your site, this way, Search engines will have the most up to date information.

2. Write good redirects

When pages or posts get deleted or moved, they are still indexed in search engines, thus users could still land on them, and get an error page instead of the page they are looking for. We want to avoid this, as it is a bad user experience and can negatively affect SEO rankings. While we can update all the internal links in our site, we don’t want to lose the traffic we had to those old urls. This is where redirecting the old URL to the new one allows us to benefit from the value of the old page while taking the user to the content’s new home.

3. Optimize images

Search Engine Optimization is often thought of as just how high up the results page your website falls with keywords and pages. While we want a high result so users can find our site, we also want to build with a focus on the user experience. One of the most annoying things for a user is a slowly loading site. Search engines are aware of how annoying a slow loading site is, and if your site is slow, it can negatively effect your search engine rankings. Usually, the biggest culprit to a slow page is pulling in images that are too large. Luckily there is an easy fix for this. The first thing you can do is use a compression tool to decrease the file size of your image. The second is to make sure you are using an appropriate image size and not bringing in an image that is much larger than it has to be for the design. These two steps have a huge impact on the speed of your site and can greatly change the feel of your site.

4. Ensure the design looks good on all screen sizes

Having a responsive site is a must, given all the different devices people use to access a website. We know it makes the site look nicer but it is also a vital part of SEO.  If you don’t adjust for different screen sizes your website might become unreadable at worst, and a poor user experience at best. Having to struggle to read text, see images, and navigate squished menus result in people leaving your site. Not only are you possibly losing customers to a competitor but it can affect your ranking. We want users to stay longer because it signals to search engines that our site is relevant to their search.

Learn more about our process to ensuring your designs are responsive and SEO friendly.

5. Build an accessible website to help all users

We work with the goal of building an easy to navigate site that provides an improved experience and helps users find information. There is a lot of overlap between what SEOs focus on and user accessibility.  The biggest offenders to accessibility are low contrast text, missing alt text, and empty links. By following best practices and using appropriate HTML markup we make sites that are easier for both people and search engines to read.

More on how we make our sites accessible.

SEO is an important part of building a website, from sitemap to launch.

All in all, SEO is a vital part of website building, and necessary for your site to be findable, readable and accessible. By understanding the process of SEO, and integrating it from design to quality assurance, we’re able to make sites that are usable AND searchable.

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