How to Build a Website with SEO in Mind
Our Guide to Designing a Search Engine Optimized Website from ScratchBy George Leon | Updated November 1, 2022
Creating a website is often easy, but it can be much more challenging to get people to notice it. When most people build a new website, their primary consideration is how aesthetically appealing the site is.
However, building a website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind is a more critical factor in bringing in traffic and sales.
Here are our nine steps for building a website with SEO in mind.
Step 1: Optimize Your Navigational Structure
Google wants to deliver websites with an intuitive user experience to satisfy the searcher. Your site structure should be easy to navigate so users can find the information they want.
Your header’s navigation menu should only contain the most important pages to reduce complexity and help your users make fast decisions. Use dropdown menus to categorize your links.
Your footer navigation should contain a larger list of links for users that want to find specific and less popular information.
Step 2: Conduct Keyword Research
Make a list of the keywords you want your website to rank for. You can use Google’s very own Keyword Planner.
Cover the cluster of keywords you plan to target thoroughly. Your primary keyword may seem obvious. However, it’s also likely to be highly competitive. Therefore, research all of the variations and related keywords.
Step 3: Keyword Mapping
Keyword mapping is the process of separating all the keywords into groups that will be given their own pages.
You should not create a separate page for every keyword if they all refer to the same topic. Doing so may result in multiple pages competing for the same keyword.
Step 4: Create Relevant Content
Whenever a person types a keyword query into Google, they want to deliver the best answers. Otherwise, it can result in a negative user experience. As a result, Google would risk users moving to use other search engines.
Therefore, Google wants to display the best possible answers.
For example, if you were to create a website for a pet shop, you should have a separate page for all animals, dogs, cats, etc. Creating individual pages for dogs and puppies would be even better.
And on top of that, having a separate page for every breed of animal would be even better.
Key-Takeaway: Focus the content of each page on one single topic to make it highly relevant to what people search for.
Step 5: Optimize for Search Intent
Google’s algorithms are designed to show pages that best answer the search query (keyword).
Using the pet shop above as an example, if someone searches ‘buy a labrador puppy’, the search intent is clearly to buy a puppy labrador.
In this example, a page with pictures and a price tag will be rewarded in the search engines over pages that only contain information such as the breed’s history, veterinary care, and what to feed them.
Review the pages that rank on the first page of Google for your target keyword. Use their information to help create a foundation for yours.
Pro-Tip: Your content must be unique to provide new value to Google’s index. When hiring writers, use a plagiarism checker before publishing any content.
Step 6: Optimize Your Meta-Data and URL Structure
Keep your URLs short to make them more user-friendly. Use descriptive words in your URL and not any unreadable or long ID numbers.
Include a descriptive Title tag and meta description so users know what your page is about when they see it on the search results.
Use logically structured heading tags on your page to make the page’s content easy to read and skim.
Step 7: Advertise on Social Media
Promote your website’s new pages or blog content on social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to drive traffic.
Getting natural traffic from other websites such as social media sites increases your site’s authority and shows Google that people care about your website’s content.
Step 8: Add Call-to-Actions to Your Pages
Make your company’s offering clear to your website visitors so they can easily take action.
End your pages with an attention-grabbing offer. Depending on the page type, you can make a direct offer to buy your product or service or use a lead magnet such as a free ebook, email newsletter, or another freebie in exchange for their email.
If using WordPress, you can use the “Reusable Blocks” feature to create Call-To-Actions that you can place on many pages but edit from one place.
Step 9: Make Your Website Secure
A website should be perceived as secure and safe for visitors and, thus, search engines. While there are many ways of increasing your website’s security, the most effective method is installing an SSL Certificate.
There are different types of SSL certificates, including single domain, Wildcard SSL Certificate, multi-domain, and code-signing certificates. SSL certificates come with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and a secure padlock to increase trust for your visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Website SEO works most efficiently when every set of keywords has its own landing page. Creating a page full of helpful content that keeps the user engaged will increase the likelihood of Google selecting your page to answer a user’s question.