So you have developed a website and really diving into building it and then you are hit by SEO. For someone who is brand new to web design, they may be very confused by what SEO is and how web design affects it.
How web design affects SEO? Good SEO requires someone to plan their website around the fact that a search engine will index it. This does not differ from taking into consideration someone who is visually impaired or has a disability. You have to plan your website around SEO by making sure it’s following certain things from Google.
In this article we will talk about some simple things that you can do when you are designing a website. Regardless, if you are building this for a business or selling it to a customer, there are a few things we will recommend. Following our do’s and don’t will help you avoid headache later and keep your website SEO Friendly.
Why does web design affect SEO
Web design is directly attached to SEO through the through the use of the way the web works. When you are designing a website there is a markup language that you use. Understanding some basic rules keeps that mark up language from being abused.
Unlike regular HTML and CSS, SEO is made for search engines and bots directly. It’s a process which helps search engines determine the type of content on your website. So SEO goes hand in hand with your HTML and CSS that you use to code your website.
The better you code your website, the more likely it will be that it ranks correctly on search engines. Using the wrong codes, while not fatal, can cost you valuable SEO juice when you are designing it. This is a formula that only Google and other search engines know that rank you higher on their engine.
Most of these formulas are completely hidden from the public so that people can not alter their website in such a way where it is not truthful to the search engine.
So now that you understand why web design affects SEO lets talk about some of the rules of SEO. These are a very basic set of guidelines to write your content that will force it to rank higher on Google than you might expect.
TIP 1: Write for Humans, not Robots
SEO is primarily a language that focuses on search engines and things that normal humans do not read except for meta information, which humans do read. Still, it’s not uncommon to find people who think that things like keyword stuffing or keyword golden ratios mean anything.
When the web was still brand new, it didn’t take long for people to figure out exploits to rank number one on a search engine.
A good key rule of thumb is to ignore these exploits and write content for human beings. Don’t focus on trying to please the robots that search your website and instead focus on the human being who is reading the website.
This simple thing is one of main things people forget it about. We see this type of thing happen all the time, look at Yoast, SEOPress or even RankMath. These programs have a validation technique for making your post rank higher by giving you a grade, the problem is that grade is bogus.
I followed these techniques for a while using their algorithm for making my post match what they wanted and you know what it got me? Nothing, my posts barely ranked as they shouldn’t, they were trash.
So when you write, make sure you are writing for the right reasons.
TIP 2: One H1 tag per page and no more
If you aren’t sure what an H1 tag is, it’s a tag that allows Google and other search engines to know the relevance of your page without diving into the details. Each H tag has a number 1-6. 1 being the most important and 6 being far less important but still a heading.
In the past people would fill their pages with H1 tags and rank higher. Google has since improved their process and this no longer works. As a matter of fact, I would recommend you use the following for your tags.
- H1 = page title or subject of the main page
- H2 = Subheading or additional subject that is important but not as important as H1
- H3 = True subheading title tag that helps explain the information but not as important as H2
- H4 = A heading with little or no importance
- H5-H6 = Only for topics with many headlines and only used for display
TIP 3: Make sure your first sentence and second sentence really draw the reader in
Some people will use very generic first and second sentences. I would recommend talking to the reader like they are sitting in front of you.
Saying something like I was in your same situation one time and I didn’t know what to do, makes the reader feel more like they are talking to a friend then writing for a robot.
It won’t matter a lot anyways as most readers skim when they are looking for information on the web, so being as friendly or quirky can make you stand out. The key as we stated above is to write like a human and not a robot.
TIP 4: Everything you knew about high school grammar, forget it
Yeah, this one is a bit of a long stretch, but it’s true. The stuff you learned in high school or whatever you took your writing skills from will teach you think that the web doesn’t even consider.
People on website don’t have time to read long paragraphs and things difficult to scan. And so most paragraphs on the web are no bigger than two sentences, with many of them being one sentence if they are long.
You will also want to use more images, graphics and charts to keep the reader’s attention. Write for scanning and less for reading and you will be all right.
TIP 5: Make you pages as fast as you can
While this doesn’t matter as much as some people would think, you need to make your pages fast. Google has made it one of the most important things that someone can work on.
While this is not directly effected by web design, good web design can help make your page load quicker. Keeping in mind good web design habits can make your website faster than most websites. If you want to understand what speed test are check out our article.
The faster you page loads the quicker someone can see it and start interacting with it. This is one reason someone with a quick website will rank higher in most cases than someone who has one that takes longer.
Keep in mind that most of this is theorycrafting and according to Backlinko there is almost no relevance. So take this advice with a grain of salt, but I recommend that you air on caution and make sure your website is loading fast.
TIP 6: Do your own research
Pages that include research from your own research and studies will rank much higher than you might expect. People search out research on the internet and as soon as they find some of this can push you to the top.
If you think about it people link to things like charts, graphics, statics and more. They rarely link to content, but they can, it just depends on how well written that content is.
This is one reason that some people will spend days to weeks writing one big meaty article and then publish it. They hope that this article becomes a resource for other people to link to.
One thing that can pass this is when someone does superb research and includes that with their article. So if you can do your own research, it will help you.
TIP 7: Try to limit stock photos and Use Video
Stock photos use to be something that was used by everyone. Now, many people try to avoid them if they can.
I would recommend that if you write an article, either take your own pictures or use stock photos sparely. If you can take your own photographs, then please do take your own photographs.
This is once again has less to do with web design, but yet it is still part of it. Using good photography will help people stay on your page longer and make your page more useful.
With this tip, I wanted to include another tip that I think makes sense. Some people do not believe in reading, we all know that one friend.
While you can try to not focus on these people, you in fact should include things like videos and graphics which help them process the information. Having videos have been show to increase on page time which helps sky rocket your rankings for Google.
So when you are working on your pages SEO make sure you are including as many formats so that your content can reach all the people and not just ones that want to read.
A lot of this doesn’t relate to the things that my SEO program is telling me? That’s because while those programs do have good intentions, most SEO experts are not using them to rank their pages. If the whole point of SEO is ranking your pages better than you might want to stick to basics and stop relying on letter grades and numbers.
Are you saying the SEO programs analytics are wrong? Well, not wrong, but lets just say no one has any idea how Google ranks its pages. Even the guidelines up above are vague ideas that people have gathered through trial and error. If someone other than Google says they have a secret formula for ranking your posts or pages, they don’t.
What’s the best tool on the market for SEO? Here we like SEOPress and RankMath for the two tools that we have installed on our websites and client websites. Both tools are excellent at helping you with SEO.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on SEO and I hope that is helps your page rank better. I tried to make sure that the tips were things that I had learned in many programs like Income School and others.
If you would be interested in learning how to rank better on the web, I would consider Income School a must as they have produced some of the best results for me. As a disclaimer I am a part of their program, but I only tell you this because their program works.