There are no industry standards as to how SEO should be implemented for new website builds, let alone websites in general. Even “best practices” vary widely between agencies.
Many may say they build “SEO friendly” or “Google Friendly” sites, but this is never actually explained. There are over 200 factors that play into whether your site will rank well on business owner or marketing manager, you can’t possibly keep track of all 200.
That’s why we’ve put together our top 12 tips for including SEO witching your next website build:
- Ensure the site is optimised for mobile. Because the majority of Website traffic is now through Mobile devices, Search Engines are prioritising sites that are mobile friendly.
- Structure the Pages Separately. The pages should be structured so that it is easy for Google to search each page. This could include giving each separate idea or product its own “static” page. This is as opposed to having multiple ideas or products on one page, or having all content on one page, which adapts content through animations.
- Structure your URLs. URLS shuld be structured in a way that makes sense How many times have you seen a URL like: www.exampleurl.com/aicn8%hfnek#$.kjsjvnnr/? You have no idea what the page will have on it. Both users and search engines prefer to see structured URLs so that we have an idea of what the page might contain. This could look like: www.exampleurl.com/articles/2017/why-you-should-be-SEO-aware/
- Create a custom 404 redirect page. If someone is on your site and types a page into the URL bar that doesn’t exist, it best practice for them to be shown a page that redirects them to a working page on your site, like the home page. This means that users can still come access your site.
- Decrease page load times. The time it takes to load a page on your site is a contributing factor to SEO presence, which is why we do our best efforts to reduce these as low as possible. There is no guarantee of how quickly your page can load, as it not only depends on how the code is written, it also includes the content on the site and where the site is hosted relative to the user. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your pages load in less than 2 seconds.
- Change how images are handled. Images play a large role in making your site look professional. But Google’s bots can’t read what’s in your images. You need to write it in the image file names and descriptions. It’s also best practice to hold your images in a separate directory so that Google’s bots can find them all in one place.
- Write meta titles and descriptions. Meta Titles and Descriptions are the pieces of text that come up in search results. They’re what people see before they come to your site. It’s important that before your site launches you write these in your code or Content Management System (CMS). This means that if users have a question or query which your site can solve, they’re more likely to click through.
- Upload an XML site map. While you are primarily creating the site for users, and their needs come first, you also need to ensure that Google’s bots can search through your site easily. This is why it is important to upload an XML sitemap, which tells the bots how to move through your site. Google’s automated XML sitemap creators can be used to build this.
- Submit your site for indexing. Now that the site is launched, its time to tell Google that it exists through the Google Search Console. This tells Google that your site has launched and that it needs to be searched.
- Choose whether you want your site to appear with or without the www. You can either choose your site’s URL with or without the “www.” It’s important to make the decision either way so that your traffic isn’t split between the version with the www in front of it, and the one without. You can set all traffic heading to the URL you don’t want, to the one you do through a 301 redirect in the Google Search Console.
- Target your domain to New Zealand. If you are only targeting our domestic market you can tell Google that this is where your efforts are targeted, so that you primarily show up in relevant NZ based searches. If your market is not NZ then choose the market that is most relevant for you.
Did it Work?
- Run an independent report. At the end of all of this run an independent report through Woo Rank or similar sites that show how your site is ranking in all aspects of digital marketing. This will also give you an understanding of how your content is functioning and other ways you can continue to optimise your site.
This is not an exhaustive list of factors that play into whether you will rank well on Google. It will however give you an understanding of some of the top things to consider and ask questions about when rebuilding your website.
P.S. We include all of these within our standard web builds to ensure that not only are we building a great website for you, we’re also helping it be found.