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A Simple Checklist for Optimizing Your Website Design for SEO

If you search the web, you can find a lot of information about how to optimize your blog posts, white papers, and e-books for search engine optimization (SEO), but what about your website? Taking the time to optimize your website for SEO will help your business get found online by your target audience during the most critical times in the buying process. Your overall goal should be to make it easy for search engines like Google and Bing to understand the intentions of your website so it will appear in the top results for relevant searches.
So what are the search engines looking for anyway?
There are 4 basic elements of your website that search engines use to determine how relevant your website is to the search someone has just made:

  • Content: Your content is scanned for relevant keywords and phrases based on the text in the webpage itself, the titles, and any descriptions that are provided.
  • Performance: Your website needs to function properly and load quickly.
  • Authority: Ideally, you want to be able to create quality content so that other authoritative sites will link to your content from their own websites.
  • User friendliness: Not only should your website be visually appealing, but it should be easy for your visitors to navigate through.

With this in mind, here is a checklist to reference when developing a strong search engine optimization strategy for your website design:

Conduct analysis of your website and your competitors’ websites.
In regards to your own website, make yourself aware of what keywords your website is currently ranking for. Are those the keywords and phrases that you want to be ranking for? For your competition, take a look at the top 5 results on a search results page to see which keywords they are ranking for and what they are doing well. SEMrush is a great (and free) tool for performing competitor keyword analysis.

Build on keyword development.
Once you’ve created a preliminary list of the keywords and phrases (including misspellings) that your target audience is typing into search engines to arrive at websites like your’s, you need to work on keyword development to rank for these high performing keywords and phrases.

Create an Excel spreadsheet that includes these keywords and phrases and your current rankings. As you are continuing to improve your search engine optimization strategy to include these keywords and phrases, monitor your rankings weekly to check your progress. If you are being successful with your strategy, you should see a boost in website traffic.

Optimize page titles with keywords.
Many businesses do not incorporate relevant keywords into page titles. Including these keywords will help to establish a page theme and communicate to search engines what the content on your page is all about. You should also include these keywords in meta tags and alt text. It’s important to not get carried away, though, with incorporating these keywords into these areas on your pages. That would be called keyword stuffing, which can actually be detrimental to your search engine optimization strategy.

Submit your website design to legitimate online directories.
Having your website be included in online directories like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can be a powerful way to boost your search rankings. Considering that there are hundreds upon thousands of online search directories out there, using a business listing service can allow your website to be included on many of these sites with one single submission. But use caution, there are far more spammy listing engines than there are legitimate ones. Those services tend to spam links to your website and content and in doing so, can result in your website being blacklisted by the major search engines. For getting started, you might be best sticking with Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Enhancing your website design for search engine optimization will drive more traffic and allow you to convert more leads. Give this checklist a try and see how it strengthens your own SEO strategy. Have a question? Get in touch!

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