Creating a website that meet current standard of search engines can be challenging task, but more complex is to generate a steady stream of traffic from website. It means you would need a plenty of tactics or tricks (that really works) which can lead to generate traffic for your site. So how do you develop Web content and other technical aspect that caters to both search engine spiders and Website visitors? Or we can say “Is your website ready for the search engine of the future?”
Okay, you must check all ingredients coming together, whether you got it just right and test everything before live. But this step – the testing – is often ignored before a site goes live. Testing a new website can seem overwhelming. Teams aren’t sure where to start. But you may have more help than you know. Every team member can assist in the pre-launch process. To solve this problem your website development should include writers, web designer, web developers, marketers, search engine optimizer, tester, and network administrators coming together to create the site. These same people can help test it. Here's how. There's no single set of tricks and strategies to observe, which is why here I have divided all categories into two main sections technical aspect and SEO aspect that can make your site more appealing to search engines.
Technical Aspects of Website (Technical SEO)
If your website has coding errors, the search engines will struggle to crawl the pages on your website correctly, and give you poor web ranking. So there are numerous technical aspects of the website which need to keep in mind while developing any website.
1. Select unique design, business related theme
Select a website theme which is suitable for your business. If you consider single page theme then you should have s dropdown option in main menu so that people can direct see the inner page.
2. Page Layout – Home Page and Inner Page
What to Include in Home Page
As we all know that home page is crucial for any website like main gate or entrance of house. And everybody wants to have it good, unique and accessible to all aspect of house. Similar to this concept, home page is an integral part of any websites therefore it should be unique, looking wise good, intuitive, directly contact or access to all internal pages. A truly effective homepage should have following items in place.
- Include clean, attractive logo and tagline.
- Make all major section easy to find and navigate like menu navigation.
- Add some excellent, attractive banners (explain facts, featured on, milestone, client testimonial etc.)
- Add visual picture (video or image) of what product/company/services does
- Give brief description of the company.
- Add call to action.
- Add some frequently ask question (FAQ).
- If you’re selling product than highlight main features.
- Custom search button.
What to include in Inner or Product or Services Page
- Heading or title of page (which should include Importance of particular services in sort)
- Live Status or Quick fact of your Services (You can include portfolios here) or you can also add services or product milestone.
- Add Offering areas or domains or industry we serve.
- Our unique process or how we do it or how it works?
- Add top Features of our offered services and type of services we offer.
- Explain advantage or importance of your services or “why they use your services?”
- Add portfolios of particular offered services with a link.
- Importance or advantage or benefits of using Organic SEO services or any other services
- Add call to action that can be request form, simple link.
- Case Study or White paper or any other resources with link (missing in Guest Blogging page)
- Testimonials (Text or videos if available).
- Don’t forget to add social sharing option.
3. Make fewer HTTP requests
When a web page loads in a browser, the browser sends an HTTP request to the web server for the page in the URL. Then, as the HTML is delivered, the browser parses it and looks for additional requests for images, scripts, CSS, Flash, and so on. Therefore you should find out a way to reduce HTTP request. So best way to reduce request is not use too many CSS, JS or combine all CSS at one folder and all JS at one folder.
Minification is the practice of removing unnecessary characters from code to reduce its size thereby improving load times or we can say it is a technique that combines and compresses website code into smaller chunks to speed up your site. You can read more about it at Google. 80% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end. Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, flash, etc. Reducing the number of components in turn reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. This is the key to faster pages. Combined files are a way to reduce the number of HTTP requests by combining all scripts into a single script, and similarly combining all CSS into a single stylesheet. Combining files is more challenging when the scripts and stylesheets vary from page to page, but making this part of your release process improves response times. Bonus Tips: Try to avoid inline CSS.
5. Responsible Web Design
With increasing mobile users, everyone out there started implementing web interoperability and responsive web design that can work on mobile devices, ipad, desktop and other supported devices. Responsible website can enable web content, design, layout to be rendered and interacted with on different configurations, including different devices, operating systems, and web browsers.
6. Custom 404 Page
When a 404 (“page not found”) error occurs, make sure you have a custom page to help your visitor find something else of use, even if it wasn’t what they were looking for. Therefore design custom 404 page as per your site structure and add relevant link on the same page.
7. URL Structure
A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most searchable. Always try to use dash instead of underscore in URL. More you can refer SEJ post. More you can check Paddy Moogan post on technical SEO at Moz.
Search Engine Aspects of Website (Advance SEO)
With recent Google algorithm update, it is very hard to say that your website get top rank in search engine. The definition of search engine totally changed now day and it became complex than ever. In order to get rank in top SERP result, we need to need to focus on On-page optimization of website. If we do have good On-page than it will be easy get rank in Google. As SEO professionals, we have to understanding the concept of the web marketing and are ready for future changes. We need to do number of things apart from web content that can help the site right out of the gate with search engines.
8. Place Keyword strategically throughout content
Still keyword is vital part of any website but if we didn’t care and do keyword stuffing than it can work as poison for site. There do proper grounds work on keyword research, select right keyword and also you can use some of keyword tools. Once decide keyword than next task is to put it at right place. As per standard guideline, you can use keyword 1 times in title, 2 times in Meta description, 4 to 6 times in content or main body part of site.
9. Optimize Title Tag and Meta Description
Title is one of the most entities of website and it visible in SERP. We can’t avoid this, so prepare a unique title that should include keyword for all separate pages. Meta description is second most entity for any website and it also display in SERP. So make sure every page has a unique title tag and Meta description. Be careful not to use keywords excessively, however, as it can be seen as spam by both search engines and potential visitors and reduce the chance potential visitors will click-through to your page. Few month back Google has changed layout of search results. They calculate the pixel width of the characters used in titles with a limit of 512 pixels or 58 characters. Always place keyword in the starting of any title. As per new guideline, we should stick length of Meta Description till 158 characters or 920px.
10. Optimize heading tags (h1, h2, h3…. h6)
Every page should have unique page title that shows the brief overview of that particular page. We can use one time keyword in heading h1 tags (page title) but not more than it. Sometime we do have subtitle on webpage so in that case we can use other heading tags like h2, h3, h4 …… till h6.
11. Optimize Content
Optimization is an essential aspect of publishing website content. After all, what is the point of creating content that’s useful if your target audience won’t find it? Though in the past search engines had been known to reward keyword rich content with top rankings, that is not necessarily the case anymore. Currently, search engines are more focused on providing the best website content overall to searchers, and they are taking much more than keyword density and word count into consideration.
12. Optimize Images
With image search, just as with web search, Google's goal is to provide the best and most relevant search results to our users. While a crawling image Google read name of particular image that’s called alt image. Means we need to have some attribution for image with name so that people can get it while searching related term.
13. Create & Frequently Update Sitemap
Make sure your new website has an accurate site map in both XML and HTML format. Both users (HTML sitemap) and search engines (XML sitemap) care about this important element as it helps them find the pages they are looking for when other methods fail. Additionally, you need to update sitemap frequently if any changes occur on site.
14. Create Robots.txt
Website has multiple pages on site and some are important, few are just for user. So we need to block certain file, page or image that you don’t want to crawl by Google SERP. Therefore you can block this type of file by using Robots.txt
15. 301 Redirect
Sometimes content is repurposed or gets moved to fit the new navigation structure of a site. If you have an existing site and you are changing the URL structure with your new site, you’ll want to make sure you’ve mapped the old URLs to the new ones.
16. Optimize Canonical tag
If you’ve multiple pages on site with different- different URL (www.thenextscoop.com , www.thenextscoop.com/index.php etc) but same content or little bit different content. In that case, you need to use canonical tag to tell Google that these both pages are same and Google should read or consider main URL instead of other alternative.
17. Configure Webmaster and Google Analytics Account
What is wrong and how much traffic you’re getting from your website. So don’t forget to configure your site on Google Webmaster tool and Google Analytics. Google Webmaster tools will show you what is wrong or missing on onpage of your site. At the same time Google Analytics will show you how much traffic your website getting from different sources.
18. Activate Google Authorship
Earlier Google authorship shows Author photo and Google+ circle count on SERP that help webmaster to increase CTR but now Google has removed Photo and circle count appearance in Google SERP.
19. Activate Schema/ Rich Snippet
Rich snippets gives detailed information about particular web pages on SERP intended to help users with specific queries. If you’re having customer review on then you can add this to website so you can gain trust of visitor showing review ranking on sites.
A website should have minimum these all aspect that covered above to get maximum output from the same. Yes there are some more advance tricks for technical aspect and SEO aspect but that we will consider in Advance SEO in next post. If I missed any, let me know.
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.