You have a website because you want to be seen or heard or noticed. Any of these can happen only if you manage to get your website on the first page of Google search results. This leads us to the fact that you have to develop your website for effective SEO. There are several factors which go into making a credible and searchable website. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting to create your website that will help increase traffic in the long run.
Begin with the domain name
The domain name is the biggest keyword. You must try and incorporate your product name into the domain. This will make thing much easier as you go along. Google insists that domain name is no longer an important factor but results reveal a different story altogether. Simply search for the keyword ‘SEO’ and see the results. The top websites have SEO in the domain name. What more proof do you require? It is not a must but using your main keyword or product in the domain can give you a leg up in the competition.
Building a brand with a unique domain name is also another good idea. Get people to come back to your site by word of mouth with an easy to remember name.
Try to avoid long domain names or domains with special characters or hyphens. Also make sure you read through your domain if it has mulitple words because the combination might create some other unintended words in the domain!
Follow SEO guidelines for writing
The best advice you can get about SEO is to follow guidelines. This means headers, title tags and keyword density. Keywords still play an important role in SEO no matter what others may say. Just make sure that the keyword density is never exceeded.
Provide unique content with a fresh perspective
This is the most important aspect while designing website for SEO. What is sauce for the Goose is not necessarily sauce for the Gander. The question which naturally arises is whether you should write for search engines or for human consumption. The contradiction seems insurmountable at first. You are told that Google algorithm and the great Panda are looking for good content.
Content for SEO purposes, therefore, takes on a different meaning altogether. Your website does not require some path breaking research work to qualify for having good content. In fact you don’t have to be original at all. Your content has to unique. What is the difference between original and unique? Original means something you have created for the first time. For example, if you wrote about a new discovery, it would qualify as original – no one has written about it earlier. Unique means you write on a subject which has been written about earlier but in your own voice. You have to provide a fresh perspective to the old subject. This would attract search engines and make you their favorite. Each page of your website must be designed to provide great content which would also look great for search engines.
The content must reveal that it has been written by experts. What constitutes an expert? There is plenty of material on Google site to understand the meaning of expert in the context of SEO. Another aspect which is often emphasized by Google staff is insightful analysis. This means your post and web pages must be filled with graphs, charts, diagrams, images and a lot more. A simple step but ignored by many is about grammar, punctuation and spelling. As a designer and web master you must ensure that the content is error free.
Trustworthy and Authority site
Google SEO pays attention to little details like trustworthiness. This trust is built automatically if your site is an authority on the subject. You would have noticed that the first few search results almost always have a Wikipedia link. This is because Wikipedia is considered to be an authority site. Trust can also be established in many other ways. If you can trust a site with your credit card details, obviously you have faith in it. SSL certificates and other security features must be incorporated at the design stage to exude trustworthiness. Another factor quoted by Google which plays a role in SEO is whether you I would bookmark a page. This relates to the importance of the page and its content.
Banish ads from your website
Another contradiction if you must accept without questioning its legitimacy. Quite a few sites are built for advertisements but Google search believes that ads lead to a loss of focus. You must avoid displaying too many ads or be filled with too many affiliate links if you want to rank high in search results. Affiliate sites have suffered badly in the past year due to Google policies executed through Panda and Penguin algorithms.
Integrate social media into the website
Social integration is gaining traction in SEO. Two and fro traffic from social sites like Facebook and Twitter can enhance your ability to score high on search criteria. In this regard it is necessary to design responsive websites which can be viewed on several devices like mobiles and tablets.
Hosting and CDN
Google SEO algorithm takes page download speed into consideration. You can enhance user experience by hosting your website on high speed servers connected to a fast internet backbone. Use of CDN or content delivery network can work wonders for your website. Visitors browsing your site will experience quick download, which will translate into higher number of pages viewed. All this adds up to search optimization.
The backlink strategy
Though backlinks do not actually form a part of web design, a backlink strategy must be in place before launching your website. You should get reliable, authoritative and related backlinks to enhance SEO. Don’t be surprised if your site is downgraded due to irrelevant and meaningless backlinks. If your search engine ranking slides down dramatically, it could be because of dubious backlinks.
You must imagine SEO process as building your website brick by brick. Every small detail matters. Every aspect of SEO like choosing a domain name to designing web page must be finalized at the design stage itself. The content of web pages should get more attention. Creating an authority site and building trust should be your main objective. Keywords are still important but not as much as they were a year earlier. Google search is drifting towards content which is unique and informative. Attempts to use decoys are sure to fail and boomerang. Once your site is blacklisted for using black hat SEO techniques, it becomes almost impossible to salvage it. Anyway you are going to use purely white hat methods and therefore need not worry.