How to Implement SEO in Website Design Process?
From the very moment when a business concept pops up in mind, the marketing plans also get started. And it never ends. Similarly, when your client asks you to create a website, you should start considering the SEO aspect along with the crispy design and clean code.
All of us have some roles to play in a website design process: While the designers create stunning layouts, the developers make it functional with lines of codes, and copywriters invest their creativity to send the right message. But All these roles end at some point.
What never ends is the role of SEO! And trust us when we say that SEO cannot be managed by one person! Google is becoming more demanding with every passing day and you cannot rely entirely on the copywriter and one webmaster to do some magic. Today’s SEO world needs a well-rounded approach, which means you need to think about SEO throughout the website design and development lifecycle, starting from the proposal phase!
How to Implement SEO in Web Design Process?
Implementing SEO in web design process is one of the crucial tasks to rank higher on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). We have broken down the website design process into different key phases and explained how to implement SEO in each of them. So, let’s get started.
The Proposal Phase
When you first talk to the clients, most of them may say something like this – “I want the website to get more customers and grow my sales.” But you, being a professional service provider, should understand their actual goal. They want their business to be found on Google and want to convert users.
To fulfill the clients’ needs, you have to optimize the website and that will impact the project cost, timeline, and process. So, always map these things to your proposal. However, don’t start mentioning the core-technical stuff like robots.txt or caching, etc. because the clients are not going to understand a single thing (in most cases). In the proposal, you must explain the necessity of SEO for their website and how you are going to do that.
The following are some examples of how you can put down the SEO aspect in your proposal in layman terms.
- Responsive web design that looks stunning on every device
- Impeccable user-experience with three-second or less website loading time
- Untouchable security that keeps the website data and user data private
- Content that’s easily readable for humans and Google bot
- Appealing CTA buttons that instigate visitors to click.
In this way, you can explain what you are going to do in SEO and their benefits. Your goal is to get the client on board and the benefits are surely going to prompt them to hire you.
The Setup and Planning Phase
You may not work on the core optimization part during the setup and planning phase but you can surely do the groundwork for SEO in this phase to cut off the extra work afterward. The following are some aspects you need to look after.
Review the Existing Design of the Clients
Before you start designing and developing a website, you probably ask the clients for the existing assets like logo, images, and copy. This is where your SEO journey begins. The sooner you get these assets from the client, the faster you can review them and let the clients know whether they are outdated or low-quality. Also, explain that with these assets, nobody’s going to take the website seriously. If visitors don’t like the look of the website, they’ll abandon it within minutes (or even seconds) and that’s where the bounce rate will go higher and devastate the site’s ranking.
Collaborate with the Copywriter
Even if an experienced copywriter is writing content, it’s important to collaborate with him/her the entire time. SEO is not all about content, it’s about where and how you place it. So, instead of a content-first or design-first approach, go side-by-side. You can share the website wireframe with the copywriter to explain how you are imagining the blend of design and text. Well, copywriters may not know the design techniques or trends very well but they can surely give insights on text length, sales copy, etc. And when it comes to the content optimization for SEO, make sure the writer is well-aware of internal linking, external linking, image alt tags, actionable CTA, meta tags, etc.
Sales Funnel Design
Conversion is a common goal for any website and any website owner. So, if you want to design a website that’s rich in conversion, you need to go beyond design! Designing a sales funnel is not only about laying down one step after another for visitors, but it is about knowing the user’s intent. You should try to understand what draws the audience of the business to open a site and take an action, you can design your metadata and landing page accordingly.
The Design and Development Phase
This is the most important phase in the whole web design lifecycle. It’s very likely to wrap it up in designing and coding but it’s vital not to lose your focus on SEO here! You have a lot to do in this phase. That’s why you should create and maintain a checklist that will keep you in track with SEO implementation in your web design process. This checklist will show you everything that needs to be done. Take a look at the checklist below. You can copy this checklist or make one of your own.
- Enable caching
- Firewall implementation
- SSL certificate installation
- Image size optimization
- Add Robots.txt file
- Enable Google Analytics tracking
- Connect to Google Analytics
- Connect to Google Search Console account
- Sitemap creation and submission
- Write schema markup
- Information architecture mapping
- Mobile-first design
- Responsive design
- CTA optimization for every page
- 404 page creation
- One focus keyword for every page
- 1-1.5% focus keyword density
- Meta title optimization (within 60 characters)
- Meta description optimization (within 155 characters)
- Focus keyword in the slug
- Properly written content
- Relevant internal and external linking
- Every image should have alt text
- Use header tags (put focus keyword)
- Try writing shorter sentences
- Try writing shorter paragraphs
- Plagiarism testing
- Including geo-specific keywords
- Google My Business (GMB) page setup
- Creating Location-specific pages (if required)
- Mentioning contact info
Ongoing SEO Support
- Testing page loading time
- Analyzing web server uptime, speed, and security
- Google blacklist checking
- Security monitoring
- Checking keyword ranking
- Checking broken link
- Checking software updates
As long as you follow this checklist, you are going to cover almost everything in SEO alongside the web design process. However, this is a generic list. For the specialized projects (like e-commerce), you may need to add/subtract some points.
Link building or keyword optimization aren’t the only things that shape SEO. As you have read, there are a lot more things to do other than these two. So, start thinking about the SEO from the moment a client assigns you the work. Your success in SEO lies in how successfully you can implement it in the web design lifecycle.