SEO

Did You Work with Your Developer for a Perfect SEO Site?

Recently I had a one to one with an SEO specialist that I work with and we went over points that affect the ranking of a website, both from the design perspective and development.

When designing and developing a website one can easily get side tracked and get carried away with the design and features of the site, which all can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you are building a site for your business. The thought of how this new website would perform in search engines may not even cross your mind at this early stage, and in some cases may not even be in the business plan.

When building a website many points come into mind, from how the design is going to be, the features and modules that need to be developed, how to make the site function and work the way it should be, and also the general mechanics of the whole online experience. All of these points are probably going though the website owners mind, on how they can relay and portray this to the development team, to make their thoughts come reality. As part of all this one also needs to ensure that the website that they are having built can be found by search engines, when it comes to SEO, it’s not just one point that will be the deciding factor of where you rank in search results, in fact its a whole network of factors that all work together to help search engines determine where to position you in the results.

Many of the times we need to work with the designers and the development team to ensure that all points are taken care of when building a perfect website, this will save us hassle and cost in the coming future. I’m going to try to keep this as short and simple as possible, covering all the main points, a website owner needs to cover when working with the designer and developer to build the perfect website so that once the website is built you will not need major structural changes when you start with a full fledged SEO campaign.

So what are the main on the page factors that affect SEO?

Content: We may have heard this over and over again, but content is the main reason why users will come to your site. Whether its text, images, or videos, it’s what attracts customers.  One of the main points where business websites fail online is due to poor content. The designer and developer have built a wonderful site, which is what they have been hired for, but the business owner has not put much thought into the content of the website. Most of the time the content is copied and pasted from competitor’s websites, with a few words changed here and there. Fair enough the site is complete, but from an SEO point of view, the content is very poor. When building a site, the same amount of devotion and effort also needs to be given to the text of the website, which is being given to the design and development, as it all works together.

All in all the pages of your website all need to be well written and informative, and have a decent amount of text on them.

As part of putting good quality content, one also needs to look at how they can keep their site fresh with new content. Besides setting aside time to come up with new content, it can be quite a task for a general business owner to constantly come up with fresh content all the time for the website.

One of the easiest ways of implement fresh content on the site is:

  • Business Blog: Many business’ are adapting to having a business blog, but still many out there do not have a blog, having a blog which is constantly updated will add fresh content and create a platform for a social connect with the visitors , as you are providing new content, every time you post and share on your social media accounts.  You may want to consider adding a blog onto your business website solely for the purpose that you can post relevant content frequently.
  • News / Events Page: Similar to blog, something less effortless is having a news and events page, which will create new page, with your company news, and events that you hold or attend.  The events page can also be in the format of a calendar, which will create a calendar event every time you post a new event and the links shared on social media.

Specific Coding (HTML)

This is more the responsibility of the developer, but as a website owner one needs to be aware of this, and at times even work and educate the developer to do code the site accordingly, by placing relevant text in correct coding format.

When developing the site, one thing to make sure is that the Title Tags and the Meta Description of all of your pages are different and as per the context of the page, and the Title Tag contain relevant keywords that is related to that specific page. Along side these Meta codes, the body of the page should be positioned well, with relevant headings and sub headings using the correct header tags (H1). When providing the content of your website to your development team, inform them clearly that these are the titles you want for so and so pages. In Microsoft Word, you can give headings to Titles, using the style tab. This will help your developers understand the headings. Also if this is copied pasted into a CMS platform, most of them will automatically add the relevant H1 tags.

Design & Development

Load:

Besides the overall look and theme, the site needs to load quickly. Care should be taken with the graphics, and the features, that have been designed and developed, that when putting them to test on the World Wide Web, you may find your site takes forever to load. As part of keeping a good visual appeal aim to maintain the load speed of your site as low as possible.  This will not only keep your visitors happy, with a smooth loading website, but also keep the search engines happy.

Search engine friendly – Crawl

As part of the development, its best to ensure that your website is easily accessible by the search engines, so that they can crawl through all of your pages, without any issues. Having good navigations, and a good internal linking system will help in this along with an XML sitemap.

URLS

Extra care should be given to URLS, especially when building CMS websites, many of the times they generate ugly urls which look something like: YourDomain.com/category/page2-%?ID2=name-of-page

Great, you can create pages from your backend admin, but the URL is not good for the users to remember and also the search engines will not be impressed as its not SEO friendly. The URLS need to be short and at the same time contain information about that page or keyword. Such as: YourDomain.com/about-us/company-history or if its an ecommerce site something along these lines: YourDomain.com/CatogeryName/product-name

Images

We all enjoy images, as it makes the website more exciting, and enjoyable to view. If you are providing images to the development team, the key is to ensure that the images are not very large. Most designers will change the size of the images to make sure it loads quickly. At the same time from an SEO prospective, ensure that the images have relevant descriptions e.g. in the Alt text of the coding. Many of the times to make things easier, if you provide the images along with the description tag to your development team.

We usually write technical stuff about SEO, design, development…etc. but this time I thought of writing some points about how a website owner who may not know or have minimum knowledge about HTML, SEO or technical stuff can become a qualitative part of the development process.

The above points are the little things that matter much where care needs to be given on the on page side of developing a good Search Engine Friendly website. In my next article I will cover the basics of how your off page activities will help your website rank in search results.

I am not saying that as a website owner one needs to get into the technical details but by contributing and participating in the process as much as one can, content wise and concept wise related to his niche industry. Will give a better understanding of how the whole website works.

We all know that we create a website for the user who has the potential of becoming a customer. When the website owners inputs their points from the business point of view and also ensuring the website is being done according to how they want it, which gets translated by the web developer in the form of a perfect website, the outcome will surely sow the seeds for online success.

 Did You Work with Your Developer for a Perfect SEO Site?

Wasim Ismail

Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions along with an online SEO consultant & blogger for business at wasimismail.com, specialising in online industries.

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8 thoughts on “Did You Work with Your Developer for a Perfect SEO Site?

  1. It’s important that site owners remember that design is very subjective. You can ask 10 people what they think about your site and get 10 different answers. Don’t get so caught up in the design of your site that you forget the basic principles of SEO. It doesn’t matter how “pretty” a site is if it doesn’t convert!

    1. Definite, the focus should be on getting the site to work, whether its to generate sales or leads. Many of us spend days or even months on the design phases of a web project that we forget to look and put our focus on other areas. Overall the site needs to be of such that works for you and what you are looking to achieve.

  2. Great points about SEO. And a lot can be found in the guidelines Google has posted about what they look for in a quality site. One of the main things is having good high quality content on your site. Title tags, meta descriptions, etc. are all easy to do, and shouldn’t be overlooked, but having good content is hard to come by. Also, Google has pointed out that page loading plays a factor in how they rank websites. You may have good content, but if the page takes to long to load, people will mostly leave before reading any of your work.

  3. it’s amazing how some people just don’t get it, design versus SEO I mean. I have a client that I built six blogs for and I brought on a friend who does web design. I’m sorry now that I got them involved, this client is something else. She so interested in the design that it’s taken us numerous mockups and redos and she still not happy. she worries about those small little things like the color of blue or wear a button is placed. I keep telling her as build the sites get them ranked, and then base the design on the conversion rate. It seems like I spend more time trying to explain SEO than I do actually doing SEO

    1. Amazing this sound soooo familiar, i guess we all have similar clients. I have had a few like this in the past, and every time i think to myself i will tackle this differently on the next project, it just doesn’t work. Yes design is important, and plays a part in conversion, but overall looking at a bigger picture of the website, the design is just one factor that makes the website.

    2. One thing that I’ve learned that can help get them off the overall design scheme is to just set A/B testing with there ideas for design and one of my ideas of how I think the site should look and feel from SEO stand point. Although you had to explain to them that your doing this to help them in the long it is usually a good tool to say hey it looks like maybe if we combine our ideas we can have a great website. I’ve learned that a customer has to have there input to feel in control and that if you can do little things to give them input but be able to justify why your input is more knowledgable it helps builds trust and lets them let you have more control

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for posting this site, This is also important that we should work with developers for making SEO sites. Please keep continue to share more information about SEO..

  5. I wish that the first SEO “expert” that we hired to help us rank for certain keywords had told us that our website was not SEO friendly. For months we paid him to SEO our site and nothing happened. Now we know that first he played us, second our website was a mess and third we didn’t know much about SEO to begin with.