If you are a small business owner planning to create a website for your business or modifying your existing website, you might feel daunted about what you should exactly do to make your web design compatible to search engines. Actually, there are numerous things to consider, but five of them are the most basic and important and if you follow them, you will get optimum benefit.
It is of utmost importance for small, especially local, businesses to get a high rank in mobile searches. The reason for this is, 50% of users who do a local search on their mobile gadgets pay a visit to a shop just in a day of the search. Even more interesting is the fact that 78% of mobile searches to find local businesses result in offline purchases.
So, if you wish to succeed in mobile search, you need a mobile-friendly website design. Responsiveness is the simplest to target because it provides a user experience similar to desktop users, smartphone users and tablet users.
A responsive design eliminates the need of creating multiple pages of varying screen sizes. You can create your pages as you would create generally and the responsive theme will ensure that it reforms itself to suit any screen size.
2. Including Important Parts in Text
Search engines are nowadays able to crawl more kinds of media and so, text has been always the best option for SEO. This is the reason why everybody talks about content marketing – you should have written content for each page of your website.
You should aim at including text on each page of your site. It’s fine even if it is a small amount of text, just 150 words or similar; but it is better than having none. If you include audio or video content in your page, include also a text-based transcription on that page.
You should not also forget the text required for the SEO title (50 to 60 characters) and meta description (150 to 160 characters) of every page. Both of these must be unique and must include main keywords optimized for the page.
Several local businesses make a common mistake of including valuable information in images instead of text. It is stated specifically in Google Webmaster Guidelines to use text rather than photos to show important content, names or links. The Google spider can’t recognize text included in pictures.
3. Optimize Pictures
You can optimize your pictures for better visibility in searches. This not only enables you to optimize the product page further for a particular keyword, but also it offers your photo a chance to appear in the search results of Google images.
- To optimize your images, you should:
- Rename the filename of your image and include words that describe what the image is of
- Use all the attributes offered by HTML for putting in the image
- Or you can insert a caption below your image to explain what the image is
4. Clear, Text-based Structure
This rule comes directly from Google Webmaster Guidelines and it suggests making a website with a clear hierarchy as well as text links. Each page must be accessible through one static link at least.
Give a thought to the organization of your website and prepare your link structure based on that. As per your website’s number of pages, it can be as easy as forming a chief navigation bar that links to five main pages of your site. Or it can be as complex as showing categories and subcategories, and pages in them.
For achievement of the best user experience, you mustn’t include more than three levels when it is about your links. You can take the example of one of the world’s most famous sites, Amazon. When you click its main page of categories, you see top products, with an option to limit the results further by subcategories.
5. Make it a Point to Redirect
If you are modifying your existing website, make it a point not to lose any of your older pages. As soon as you delete that page, visitors will get a 404 error and they will get a wrong message that the page doesn’t exist. If this same message is received by the search engine crawlers for a page ranking high in search engines for a keyword, search engines will remove your page from the results. Eventually, any organic traffic that page was receiving will be lost, but not if you redirect the older page to the newer one.
Make use of 301 redirects to inform search engines that the URL of older page is changed to the URL of the new page. And that will ensure that you don’t lose your traffic as well as SEO value for that page.
It is obvious from all this discussion that making your web design search friendly is not just about search engines but also about making your website visitor friendly, from the point of design as well as usability.