- Search Engine Optimisation
- 11th May 2017
Thinking about re-designing your website? New company planning a website? If you answered yes to either of these, ask yourself, do I have an SEO specialist? If not, your website is doomed to not perform as well as it could.
A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialist needs to be at the table when a new website is being planned. They will be able to provide important information and offer advice to help advance the website design. This would be anything from the layout to the content itself. An SEO specialist is a valuable resource to have during these times.
A website is a large step into the online market and doing this wrong can set you far behind your competition and could possibly cause you to lose traffic or sales. The right content, images and general design need to be done correctly to have the best effect. An SEO expert will be able to guide the design and offer input for a variety of areas. In this article, we will be covering off why you should have an SEO expert during the process of designing a new website.
Does not have to be an internal specialist
Firstly, it needs to be said that the SEO specialist does not have to be internal. If you are a small business looking at hiring a freelancer or web design agency; you will be able to sit down with their SEO specialist(s) (if they offer this service). This would be the same as having an internal person and their SEO specialist will be able to offer guidance and advice throughout the process. Even when you’re not able to sit down with the designers or SEO expert, they will be able to make sure that your new website is going to perform its best.
Design needs to be search engine friendly
Over the years, the terms ‘responsive design’ and ‘mobile friendly’ have been used. This is where a site responds to the size screen it is on. Nowadays, this is a very important factor and should be considered when designing a new website. However, that is not what makes a site search engine friendly.
A website needs to have a good design. That however is not the only part that needs to be considered. The content is a large part in how a site performs in the search engines and can be the deciding factor on how search engines perceive your site. Using Google as an example, it will crawl your website and if it can’t find important or any quality content; it will not rank your site very well. When there is quality content and the right information is on the site, it can have a positive effect.
An SEO expert will be able to craft the content in such a way that it provides search engines with all the important information they need. This could be product/ service or even company information. This will be done throughout the site, but the homepage is the most important. This automatically makes Google look at your site more favourably and is the first step at improving your site and its organic rankings.
Content to meet target audience’s requirements and expectations
The content isn’t there to be an information booklet. It is there to provide some information, but guide the prospect into making a purchase. There are many ways to do this including internal links, gripping and unique content and powerful call to actions.
When your site is accessed by a prospect, they will be looking for something in particular. If they don’t find it, they will often leave your site and go elsewhere. It is all good having a lot of information, but if it hides the most important points that a prospect is looking for; they will be forced to go elsewhere.
Take a flooring company for example. If you were looking for a new carpet, what would you want to know? Personally, I would want to know if they come to me with samples. Do they offer a free property survey and quotation? Do they employ the carpet fitters or are they sourced externally? There are many questions potential customers will be looking for answers to and will be forced to go elsewhere if they can’t find this information.
If the information meets the prospects requirements and grabs their attention, it could lead to a sale. The content does not only need to be search engine friendly, it needs to sell the product/ service to the prospect and guide them to make a purchase. All of this, along with answering the prospects questions is what the SEO expert will be able to achieve.
Trust and Credibility
Once you’ve made content that is search engine friendly and meets your target audience’s requirements; you would have already made progress in this step. Building trust and establishing credibility are very important. Often enough, prospects will be fearful to make a quick purchase from a company they do not know which is why they will often need to do a bit of research before making the final decision. This fear is what can cause potential clients to go elsewhere.
Building trust and reducing that fear is what makes good content, even better. Establishing this trust and credibility is what can drive a prospect to make a purchase. You must put yourself into your prospects shoes. When you go to your website, what would you be looking for? You would want to be assured that your experienced company and amongst other things; reliable. Using these techniques to reduce fear is where the SEO expert comes in.
An SEO expert will be able to identify areas in which the content is at its weakest. This spots areas for improvement which can be used to build trust. Neutralising a prospects fears will keep them on your site. This could lead to an enquiry or even a sale. The content is very important for any website to be able to succeed.
‘Search Engine Optimisation’
SEO is a term used to reference the optimisation of web pages to improve the websites ranking in search engines. This however, does not necessarily mean just text content. Images, internal links, external links and meta fields are just some of the other areas that are involved within SEO. An SEO expert will look at all these areas for any improvements that can be made or advise on the right steps forward.
Optimise Page Content
Starting off with what seems to be the most basic part of SEO; page content is a very key part of any website. Without content, there is no website. There would be a blank page or an empty canvas. The text should be written by a professional copywriter. This, combined with an SEO expert will ensure the text meets all requirements already listed in this article and more.
Text isn’t the only thing that makes a webpage. There are many other parts to a page on a website including headings, images and image alt tags. Headings need to be compelling and immediately grab the prospects attention while images need to be relevant to the page they are placed on; offering some kind of value to the page. This is achieved further through the image alt tags. Image alt tags are there to almost act as a way of describing the image to someone that can’t see it. If the images are unable to load for any reason, there needs to be something to replace it.
If there are image alt tags that are missing or places where images could be improved; your SEO expert will be able to offer guidance to improve these areas. This includes headings. Having a compelling heading to a page will drive people to read the first paragraph. Then this paragraph needs to drive people to read the second and so on. This ultimately should end with a conversion. An SEO expert will be able to make the most out of content opportunities.
When link building, you want to be using both internal and external links. There is a need for internal links to direct the prospect to where they want to go and push them to make a purchase/ enquiry. An example would be a link from one service page to a case study which then has another link leading to the contact page.
External links (which does not include link farms as that is a negative SEO tactic) are from external sources. These can be from directories and can even be from other websites. These are very valuable, but hard to get. An easy example of an external link would be if a roofing company had a link to their website from a manufacturer of their roofing systems. This is a very high quality link and will aid the site greatly. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to links.
Your SEO expert will be able to offer guidance when looking at building links. They will be able to make sure links are leading people to the right areas and ensure your users have the best experience. They will also be able to do research into what places are best for you to get external links.
Optimise Meta Fields
Meta Fields are parts of SEO that many companies don’t know about. These are some of the more background SEO tactics which an SEO expert will go through. Meta fields are what determine what people see in search engines are your snippet and these can be seen when you do a search. Each website will have its own snippet these have a Meta title which is the blue heading and a Meta description which is the greyed-out text.
These snippets need to immediately sell the benefits to the prospects and pull them into your site. The SEO expert will be able to optimise these areas and ensure the right message is being displayed. Meta fields need to be filled in for every page as any of your pages can show up as a search result. Each field needs to convey the right message as well as sell the benefits. This ensures that someone knows what your site is about and what they can expect to get from you.
Look at possible off-page content opportunities
There are many forms of media available which can be used for marketing. There are also many sites that display this media. From videos to presentations, there are a variety of methods you can broaden your online presence. YouTube is a perfect example of a site that allows you to publish videos. Depending on your business, this could be a great outlet for media which gives people more chances to come across you. This not only broadens your online presence; it also improves brand recognition. There are many great benefits to branching out into these mediums.
When completing a search, video thumbnails can appear as results. These often grab people’s attention, gaining clicks and driving traffic to your site. Presentations aren’t used as often now-a-days, but they are still very useful. Used as a visual way of explaining things, it can sometimes catch peoples eye. An SEO expert will be able to identify these outlets which you will then able to target.
Look at possible large-scale SEO opportunities
These are more technical parts of SEO that are still very important. You may have come across sites online that when you access them, they come up with a security warning. This is because they are not as secure. Adding HTTPS to your site is a very good way at making your site more secure and more trustworthy. If you accessed a website that warned you about the site not being secure, would you still look at the site? Often enough people will bounce straight off the site if they got a warning, but adding HTTPS to your site is a way to remove this.
There are many ways in which your site can be improved technically. These often come into play when a site is getting re-designed. An SEO expert will be able to advise you through these larger SEO opportunities to ensure your site performs its best.
So why do you need an SEO specialist when designing a website?
Well, there are many reasons behind it and as shown in this article, there are a variety of areas that need to be considered when planning a new website or re-designing an old one. These areas are best monitored by an SEO expert as they will be able to spot areas in which your site is faltering. They can advise you (or web design agency if you’re getting it done externally) on how to make the website perform its best.
- Search Engine Optimisation,