SEO is a topic that is on the forefront of many business owners wanting to be on the first page of Google results. But web design also plays a big role in search engine optimisation and can really help with your rankings.
Firstly, on Google’s Central Webmaster Blog, it outlines the best practise procedures to follow when designing a website to get the best possible results from Google. For example, using a breadcrumb trail on your website helps the Google bots to be able to crawl all of the pages on your website and use the site as a visitor might. The blog also covers aspects including canonical URLs and robots.txt.
In addition to this, there is some evidence to show that Google uses data from Google Analytics when choosing where to rank a website. This includes how long a user stays on a site, how many pages they view, and how many visits the site gets overall. This means that a well designed and user-friendly site is far more likely to get visitors using the site more and staying on longer – and this could well affect the rankings in the search engines.
However, the most important factor where SEO and web design is concerned is that it is much easier to implement a SEO strategy on a new site than an existing site. With an existing website, it will already have rankings in the search engines, and if you try to change these by changing which page ranks for a certain keyword or changing the meta-data dramatically, Google may penalise you by either removing your listing from the search engines temporarily or it may drop down the rankings significantly. It can be very difficult to get a site back-up to its original ranking once this happens.
When you’re designing a new website, you should always conduct some keyword research. This allows you to choose several keywords for your website that will bring the most relevant traffic and then you can decide what pages your website should include. For example, if you are setting up a dog training website and when you conduct some keyword research you find that ‘Labrador dog training’ is searched for a lot, you know that you might need a specific page about Labrador’s on your website. It is much better for user-journey to add these pages from the start rather than adding them later down the line.