In today’s digital marketplace, it’s common to stumble upon web designers who showcase search engine optimization as core part of their services. Hiring one provider to handle both web design and SEO carries many advantages; however, the issue of concern is that too many companies that offer both SEO and website design fail to fully understand the complexities of optimization. The best practices of optimizing a website are continuously changing, and the competitive nature of search is growing fiercer by the day.
If you’re looking for a website designer to handle both the development and optimization of your site, it is critical that you choose wisely and enlighten yourself on what constitutes a search engine friendly website. Below we offer a number of characteristics that contribute to search friendly web designs and how to go about finding the right designer for your site.
SEO Friendly HTML Coding StructureThe process of developing a well optimized site must address the HTML coding structure. Otherwise referred to as a page’s back-end, the code used on each page as well as the techniques in which the code is applied can have a huge influence on how search engine friendly a website is.
SEO friendly website providers will often code sites using CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets) when building an optimized site. This helps to ensure that the HTML code of each page is minimized for efficient crawling and indexing by search engine spiders. By applying CSS in the HTML, web designers can avoid using code that can take up a lot of space, such as tags for various fonts, colors, and other styling elements. This will often times promote a greater ratio of keyword optimized content over cumbersome HTML code.
Similarly, the keyword optimized content (or page copy) should be presented as early as possible in the coding structure of a page. In many cases, the code of site-wide navigation links and other non-optimized elements are pieces of code that search engines spiders interpret first when crawling a page. If the page text is buried at the bottom of the page’s back-end, the spider will reach the content last, after chewing on a bunch of links and non-optimized content. The most skilled search engine friendly web designers will address this concern by making use ‘div’ tags in the HTML. Using ‘div’ tags can ensure that rich, keyword optimized copy is presented early in each page’s back-end.
Niche SEO Skills and ExpertiseUnlike some services for website design and development that may be one-and-done projects, search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Professional SEO companies will track, monitor, and report performance statistics and make continuous adjustments to best ensure the optimal outcome.
In essence, SEO’s have niche skills and expertise that may go overlooked by a typical web designer. Such specialties will often include the analysis and reporting of Google Analytics data, keyword position statistics, as well as providing detailed reports and strategy recommendations. Most SEO companies will also staff professional copywriters to generate content that’s both reader-focused and keyword optimized, in addition to having a strong portfolio of link building.
SEO copywriting (for on-page optimization) and link building (for off-page optimization) are two primary services of strong SEO providers. Ensuring that your prospective SEO friendly web designer is capable of providing these expertise is a solid means for qualifying candidates. Often times, asking your prospects related questions or for examples of their SEO work can shed light on just how effective they really are.
Search Engine Friendly Content Management Systems
Content management system (CMS) software is a convenient and highly sought-after solution for building and operating a website. Now, most website designers develop sites based-on CMS software. As a result, it is extremely important that if you’re opting for a CMS-based site, that you must ensure the CMS software caters to essential SEO capabilities.
With respect to SEO, it is crucial that your CMS has the necessary page editing functionality. That is, you or your web designer must be able to write keyword optimized page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs. In addition to functionality features, the back-end HTML coding structure of each page will often depend on the type of CMS software used to build the site. There are a number of content management systems that produce pages with minimal, search engine friendly coding structures.
Some of the characteristics that define SEO friendly content management systems include:
– software that generates page based on CSS, as opposed to nestled tables and other cumbersome coding structures
– a CMS platform that is considered ‘developer friendly’ in that it offers the capabilities of implementing links, copy, images, videos, and other elements in specific areas throughout a page
– software that allows users to produce dynamic, keyword friendly URLs
platforms that automatically generate XML sitemaps for submission to Google Webmaster Tools.
Be a Smart Shopper and Know What to Ask
If you’re seeking a website design company for both the creation and optimization of your website, be sure to ask your prospective providers a lot of questions. The areas that you’ll want to address are designers’ technical capabilities, like their HTML coding practices and graphic design skills. If CMS software is the basis for your website, inquire about the type of platform being used.
There’s a wealth of web designers out there that claim to be experts in SEO, yet fail execute the intricacies of optimization in an effective manner. As a shopper, being aware of the ideal aspects of search engine friendly web design can help you pinpoint the right expert for these services.