How to Build an SEO Friendly Website Design From the Ground Up

Web design is not just about building a beautiful and mobile responsive website, but rather it’s about:

  1. Getting people to find you
  2. Getting people to stick around
  3. Getting people to keep coming back

You have to realize that people are fickle today and buried in far too many advertisements. So the best way to stand out is to actually man up and give folks what they want. Stuff like answers to their questions ad ultimately the solutions to their problems is a great place to start.

You can sell them right to your front door with money in hand by not seeing at all, but helping them and providing long form content that guides them through the path they need to take to come to you ready. Ready for the best you can provide. When you do this, shopping on price goes away because they know they want you, not the other guy.

To do this, the website design must be built on successful SEO best practices that will bring customers to your door. SEO is what gets them there, then the content keeps them with you. There is a process to do this, and it needs to be followed in the right order to save you time and money in the process.

But first, please make sure your web team has the knowledge. Relying on most developers or designers for solid SEO is a pipe dream. They re-ally don’t know SEO and don’t care to. You’re paying them to set up a website, not SEO optimize it.

Also, even though there are huge SEO ramifications in the website design process, its not reasonable to expect your SEO to be “done” when your site launches. SEO is a huge ongoing undertaking that involves every aspect of your website and really every other website on the web that might list you, link to you or profile you in any way.

But, there is a lot that can and should be done in a website build to lay the foundation and make your life not just easier but better when you start landing great high paying customers without paying for traffic. Be-cause that’s ultimately what SEO is about.

OK, so first off in the process, it is important to understand search engine optimization (SEO) and how to reach customers that are already looking for a business like yours.

This process entails several elements that will be explored before a web-site is even designed and built. Web design follows information and not the other way around.

As Steve Jobs said: you have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. Jobs understood that when you try to reverse-engineer the “need statement” from the product, it’s too easy to lose touch with reality.

How to begin

Let’s keep it simple. Customer needs come first, and define the website you want to build. A huge mistake is thinking that a nice design will bring customers. It won’t. Your design will help tell your story effectively, and it might keep folks around who expect a certain level of design for a business like yours. But your content and SEO will bring customers in and jeep them there. Your content is your credibility and the calling card that goes out and does the work of bringing prospects to your doorstep.

Web design starts with discovery and Q and A. What are your goals, what is your product or service, who are your customers and what are their questions? How are people searching for a business like yours. And beyond that, what are people searching for before they search for a business like yours? What related searches are they doing?

Also, what is your story? What are the emotional triggers your customers will respond to? What is the level of trust they need for a purchase of your specific service?

A proper website shows the real you and the people behind the company. Yes you can aim to look a little more established than you really are, or raise your level of professionalism over your last website. But the website needs to reflect your personality, how you do things and trigger positive feedback.

Testimonials from happy customers are key. So is a good “about” or “history” section. Bios and your about page are big. You are in the process of making friends. So do you help out in the community? Do you want to profile your employee of the month? Photos and video of happy customers, case studies or a finished job push the right buttons and help people trust that you’re a real business that cares about your customers.

Visitors to your website will react positively if what they read and see makes them feel good about you, if you answer all kinds of questions and help them ask even better ones, now you’re on the right track. Show them that you truly understand their problems on their terms, not yours, now you’re really going in the right direction. In this case its all about them.

So what they see immediately upon opening your site needs to speak to them about what makes you and your offering unique in how it solves all their issues and problems around what you do.

Web Design for SEO

So we have discussed the big picture so let’s dig a bit deeper. A web design with the end user in mind helps improve SEO rankings. Full Stop. There are technical reasons why this is the case and why it’s of para-mount importance to design with the user experience in mind. For starters, Google doesn’t see your cool website design the same way you do, which is why a website must be designed with Google in mind.

A web page doesn’t look the same to you and me as it looks to a search engine. Web pages have to be structured for both search engines and human visitors alike.

It can be done. A good SEO and web design team can work seamlessly together to effortlessly weave in your keywords and content architecture in the most effective way now and into the future. That is the big difference. What most people do is hire two different teams, one website team and one SEO team and the SEO team comes second. This is the big mistake. If you do this, you’re SEO will always be a bolt on item. The SEO team will focus on a few pages, maybe suggest a few others and they will go off for possibly years and keep trying to make that poorly built website.

When you build a website for SEO from the get go, you not only save money but you save time and you get far better results. We’ve seen well designed and SEO’d websites go out and perform really well right out of the box making massive improvements from the previous website that was rebuilt.

Once you have your on-page web design right, then the links that come to your site will be that much more powerful. When your site is inter-linked and optimized correctly, a much smaller amount of time and cost goes into your SEO down the line.

Best Practices Website Design

A proper web design process is the best way to lead a consumer through a storytelling process and vastly improves conversion rates.

Having what is essentially a one-page website makes it difficult to lever-age a variety of search terms and use SEO best practices to get visitors to your page. You need a variety of content in the form of blogs, articles, informative pages, case studies, FAQ’s, SAQ’s or Should Ask Questions and any other information that helps them understand the process better right up to where and when to hire somebody like you.

Most folks still struggle to get their heads around this. They can’t imagine why they’d need anything other than a few pages. If you’re getting strong referrals that might work a little, but to get real mileage and create an asset, you have to help them at every step in the customer journey. You have to help them before they need you, and right on through during and after the sale. Believe it or not, creating all that content with your keywords in mind is great SEO. Its the exact kind of SEO that Google wants you to do and will last for years if not decades, not just until the next Google search update happens.

So, in a solid web design process where SEO is taken into consideration effectively, you start with keyword research and you architect your site and blog around the types of keywords and keyword themes that people are using around each step in the customer journey for your business. Those specific keywords, but more importantly the overall keyword themes need to be planned into the very fabric of your website.

If you get this right and you continue to build out your content, you’ll be surprised what will happen for you. But if you get this wrong, your website will just set there going nowhere. Even if you “do a blog” if you don’t build in your keyword architecture then nobody will find your stuff, or if they do, they won’t be the right folks you’re looking for.

Site speed, mobile responsive design, and SSL security are all important as well. Google wants to see a well built website that addresses as many factors as it possibly can to deliver the best experience to your users.

If your site displays that you don’t really care, then Google responds by not really caring in turn. You see how that works? Yup they want a lot, but you get a lot back in return if you take it seriously and understand you’re building an asset that grows over time, not just a pretty web page.

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