Calling all web designers, do you include SEO as part of your packages? If not, you need to! SEO is a huge part of building a website because it can have a major impact on its visibility and performance. Isn’t that the point of having a website? To be found? Don’t worry! It’s easier than you think once you understand a few key elements. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to implement the tips we’re going to share in this blog. We’re beginner-friendly around here!
Why does SEO matter when it comes to web design?
It’s simple really. What’s the point of a beautiful website if no one can find it?! Web design and SEO work hand in hand because an SEO-optimized website draws more traffic. Simply designing a website isn’t enough for our clients. They want and need the traffic results to go with it.
The sooner SEO techniques are implemented on a website, the sooner pages could start to appear in search results. That’s why it’s your job to include SEO in your website packages. SEO strategies should be implemented as soon as the page is published. Plus, if you are a web designer, it doesn’t hurt that you can start to charge more for implementing these strategies. Therefore making your business more profitable. ?
Let’s get into a few SEO tips with an easy to use checklist that you can start implementing for your clients today!
A Web Designer’s SEO Checklist
Here’s what you need to know to build an SEO-friendly website for your clients.
Fast Page Load Time
Websites that Google will love, have a page speed of fewer than three seconds on both mobile and desktop. Understanding what impacts page speed is the first step. A fast page speed likely means the page has well-optimized images, limited video, correct file sizes, and minimal use of dynamic content. Did you know that 70% of users admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy. For our product business friends, the highest e-commerce conversion rates happen on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds. It’s no surprise that we like things fast!
If you are curious where your website stands, head to Google Pagespeed Insights to find out.
SEO Titles and Meta Descriptions
You should have an SEO title and meta description for each and every page on your website. The SEO title is what appears on Google search results as the title of the page. This is that blue headline you see on Google. The good news is that you can edit it to make it more click-worthy. You have 50-60 characters, so be sure to make the most out of them. As for the meta description, this is the short paragraph that appears under the SEO title on Google. This is a brief descriptions of what the reader will see when they click through to your web page.
When writing your SEO titles and meta descriptions, you should think of them like you are writing a Facebook ad. What will entice your audience to click through to your website. Don’t forget to use keywords!
Proper URL Slugs
A URL slug is the characters that come after your domain ‘www.duocollective.com/url-slug-lives-here’. URL slugs should be short and keyword friendly if possible. Have you ever seen a URL that looks something like this?
Google doesn’t like this. We want URLs to be short, to the point and most importantly, readable. Here is an easy formula for you to follow!
Domain – Subcategory – Page Name (which will likely include your keyword)
your website — blog — 5 things you didnt know about my topic
Are you building the right pages to compete with your client’s competition? First, did you even look at your client’s competition and scroll through their website? Start by simply asking your client for a few examples of competitors to research before starting to build their website. If they don’t have any, do your own research through similar keywords and find competitors offering similar products or services. Keep in mind your competition on Instagram isn’t always your competition on Google!
Once you have your competitors in mind, here is what you need to look for. Check the pages they have on their website, what keywords are sprinkled throughout their copy and peek at their big headlines on each page. Use this as a guide for your client and website.
Image Alt Text
Alt text is a backend feature associated with images. It describes an image in case the image can’t be viewed or if someone is visually impaired and using a screen reader. Every image on your website needs to have keyword-rich alt text that also serves screen readers. Your media library also needs to be all nice and organized in folders. Bonus if those folders also use keywords. Every image has deep meta data like this. Do you see a theme? Google crawls literally everything on the frontend and backend of your website, so almost everything should be SEO optimized!
This is important for everyone, but it’s extra important for those businesses with visually heavy content. Think photographers, product business owners, recipes, apparel, etc. If you think your business has an audience that might be searching in the Google images tab, then you better optimize those images with extra attention!
Headline tags break up the text to make certain points stand out on the page, creating naturally skim-worthy content. Let’s be honest, we all love to skim! Usually, headlines are a different font, color, or size depending on your client’s branding. You want headline tags to jump off the page and catch the user’s attention. But what you might not know is that these tags are more than just design.
Did you know the actual tag — headline 1, headline 2, headline 3 — matters? On the backend you are using these tags to tell Google what is the most important thing on your website. Using these tags correctly is extremely important to being indexed well for search engines. Plus understanding what keywords to use and where to use them will significantly impact your web page performance.
You are the expert friend! So you should guide your clients on the importance of keywords and help show them where they should live. You might not be around for every page they decide to add to their website, so make sure they know where to add keywords for new pages. We recommend creating a short tutorial video or handout for them to refer to whenever they need to make a website change. This will boost your referrals and the overall client experience tenfold. This is just one of the ways you can get more clients and book out farther.
Without words, Google wont know what a page is all about. Therefore the recommendation is that each page should have at least 300 words of copy. One of the pages that is most commonly lacking words is the contact page. Use this page to speak to FAQ’s, reiterate your mission, who you are and what you offer. We often times find that this is the second most viewed page in Google Analytics, so optimized accordingly!
Are you implementing the right tools to analyze the success of the website? The three we recommend every business owner have are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google My Business. These will give you a comprehensive overview of how your website performs on search engines. As a web designer, you should absolutely get familiar with these tools!
Do you design a custom 404 page in case of errors? Error pages are the worst-case scenario, but we still need an action plan for when they arise. They are also extra important for SEO. At the end of the day, SEO’s main goal is to create a better user experience. Therefore, we want to create a positive experience, even in a crappy situation, by letting the user know that they’ve come across a broken link. Understanding 404 page best practices is key for every web designer who wants to be fluent in SEO.
SEO is a non-negotiable when it comes to web design
SEO is an integral part of building a website, and should absolutely be included in your web design packages. Just because you create a beautiful website doesn’t mean that it will get seen. Learning how to implement SEO in web design will not only improve your client’s performance and satisfaction. It will also improve your profitability and set you apart from your competition.
Are you ready to level up your web design? Join our SEO Group Coaching Program for Copywriters and Web Designers! Take the guesswork out of SEO and join a group of like-minded creatives for six weeks of personalized support — completely tailored to what you want to learn. See you in there!