Building a website might sound intimidating and complicated; however, with the right tools and knowledge, it’ll be easier than you think.
This article will guide you through how to build a website optimized for ranking and what to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn the best SEO practices and website design tips to get started with the optimization of your website today.
Mobile friendliness is increasingly important
All done with the website design for desktops? Congratulations! Now, it’s time to focus on building and tweaking your website for optimal mobile and tablet usability.
Over 64% of online shoppers use apps on phones or tablets to do their shopping and over 40% of eCommerce vendors plan to prioritize custom-made apps. The growing mobile shopping means that you need to consider how your website appears on smartphones like iPhone and Android.
The design may look different on an iPhone 14 than on earlier series or Android versions. Creating a website design that works well on mobiles and tablets is key when optimizing mobile friendliness. Since 57% of shoppers wouldn’t recommend a webstore if the mobile website of it didn’t work well, you should pay close attention to pixels, font size, and viewport width and height (the view and height of the screen).
Increase website speed
According to Google, page experience is evaluated for each individual URL on your website and ranked in the search results. Speed tests, responsiveness, page stability and loading experience are included in Google’s web core vitals when ranking your pages. Statistics show that 39% of visitors will stop engaging with content when images won’t load, or the loading takes too long.
Make sure to implement the following to improve and increase your website speed:
- Compress large images, videos, and other media files
- Cache web pages either with a caching plug-in or using the server of your website host
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network or Content Distibution Network) which reduces network latency
- Review and reduce excessive plugins as certain plugins may slow down your site
By increasing your website speed, you improve your website ranking, as well as your conversion rate. According to an experiment done by Portant, results show that website conversion rates drop by 4.42% with each second of load time.
Add sitemaps to help search engines find your site
Sitemaps are files that provide information about your pages, images, videos, and other media files on your webpage, as well as the relationship between them.
Sitemaps are useful for SEO since they list the most important pages of your website and ensure that search engines like Google can discover your website more easily.
Optimize your website for search engines by planning and creating a sitemap. If your sitemap contains all your websites links, chances are your website will rank higher in the search results, which in turn increases the number of clicks you get.
Improve content readability
In addition to technical improvements, focusing on writing quality content with good readability is a key factor to consider when optimizing your website. Good readability on your website means that it should be easy for users to read and understand the content on your website.
Apart from efforts put into copywriting for the text on your website, readability also includes content formatting. Make sure to use a consistent and harmonious balance of fonts, spacing, colors and text size throughout your website to improve the readability of your website.
A popular tool for analyzing the readability of web texts is Yoast SEO. This tool uses an algorithm that determines how readable a text is while providing tips while you’re writing. You get feedback on transition words, sentence starters, word complexity, paragraph length, and more. The readability of the text is assessed as green, orange, or red.
Give image files relevant names
Another factor that plays a role in the ranking of your website is the file names for the media files on your webpage. By giving relevant file names to your images, videos, and other media, you can improve your SEO even further to generate more traffic.
Statistics released by Mozcast show that 21.1% of Google's traffic derives from image searches. This means that image optimization, such as providing accurate and relevant file names, plays a key role in SEO.
To name files, you can use conventions such as underscores, dashes, no spaces, or capitalize each section of the text.
Here are some examples of good file names:
- Underscore: Flower_dress
- Dashes: Flower-dress
- No separation: Flowerdress
- Capitalized letters: FlowerDress
Alt tags are key for SEO
Apart from giving your images relevant file names, creating alt tags for them can also help with SEO. An alt tag, also known as an “alt description” or “alt attribute” adds an additional layer of description to the image on your site.
Alt tags are especially useful for websites with many photos, such as product photos in eCommerce stores, as the alt tags can interlink similar products on your website.
When creating alt tags, follow these general guidelines:
- Describe the image content
- Be specific with your description
- Avoid alt tags with “Photo of…” or “Picture of…”
- Use minimal keywords
- If the image contains text, include it in the alt tag
- Skip alt tags on decorative images such as page divides, brand graphics etc.
Some examples of a good alt tag for a product in an eCommerce store could include “Womens,” “Medium,” “Brown,” “Crochet top,” and “BikinisbyM.”
This alt tag contains description, size, color, style of the product/model and brand name to specify even further to search engines what the product photo contains.
Optimise website navigation for better user experience
Improve your website ranking by creating an internal link architecture where links within your webpage connect to other pages on your website. By doing this, users can easily navigate through your website when searching or browsing for specific information.
Site navigation has a huge impact on user experience and SEO. Cluttered or complicated site navigation architectures can cause confusion to visitors and even have a negative impact whether they trust the site or not.
Some factors to consider when optimizing your website navigation:
- Optimize according to user wants and needs
- Use descriptive and short menu titles, such as “Home,” “About,” “Contact,” “FAQ” etc.
- Simplify the number of menu items in the menu
- Avoid creating a maze with too many levels in the menu
- Add call-to-actions in the top navigation such a “Shop” or “Contact”
Source: Manta Sleep
Simplify URL structures for SEO
A URL is an address on the internet that leads to a certain webpage. It’s made up of a protocol, domain name and a path. URL structures should be as simple as possible and constructed logically for users.
Use simple and descriptive words in your URLs, such as for example: https://www.example.com/shop/dresses
Translate and localize language to suit your website users. Also, adapt commonly used vocabulary so that it sounds natural to the reader based on your audience, such as for example: https://www.example.es/shop/vestidos instead of https://www.example.es/shop/dresses
Use metadata to describe your website content
Metadata organizes your website content by describing its content to search engines. Using metadata is important as it allows for easier navigation and organization of the content on your website.
Metadata can also be described as the written language of search engines. Using metadata makes it easier for Google to better understand the topic or content on your website when displaying it among the relevant search results.
Get new or updated pages indexed
Getting indexed by search engines means that search engines like Google have crawled across your website and stored its content to display your website among relevant search results.
Each time you add or update a page on your website, you should also update the information for search engines. By doing so you inform search engines that your website has published new content or updated pages, which should be displayed among relevant search results.
Search engines can either display the latest update, an older version, or not display the page at all. If Google doesn’t know your page exists, it won’t be displayed among search results, and you’re, therefore, less likely to have visitors.
Make sure to update search engines on new and updated pages by:
- Adding links from relevant pages on your website which are already indexed by Google
- Adding an XML sitemap which points Google in the correct direction of the last modified pages
- Submitting your added or updated page using Google Search Console
Apart from implementing technical solutions and adjusting your website according to the tips above, providing value to customers is always the best way to rank highly in search engines. Don’t get so caught up in the technical aspects that you forget to write quality content for real users to read and design a website that gives your customers a top-notch user experience.