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A site that has been developed with search engine optimisation in mind should be search engine friendly from day one, yet flexible enough to allow further development. I-COM recently developed Red Solar’s website and I was able to utilise my SEO knowledge to ensure that the site was built in a way that improved usability, so that the search engines would react well to the new design and structure.
Prior to web development, keyword research was carried out and a keyword map was created. This provided a sense of direction in terms of what each page was about. Following this, the next step was to create a navigational structure.
Why is the structure of the navigation important for your website?
Navigation is very important, and should make it easy for both users and search engine spiders to find content throughout your site quickly and efficiently.
Do: When designing the navigation structure, categorise the pages and create a hierarchy with pages covering broader subjects at the top level, followed by pages that honed in on aspects of each top level subject in the sub sections. It is best to use HTML/CSS navigation because crawlers can read the text inside. Also ensure that any internal navigational links have keyword rich link text, and that your site has a sitemap, listing that links to every page on your site (if possible). This sitemap should be linked to from your homepage, so that no content is more than two or three clicks away from your homepage.
Tip – Using the example below, you can see that the residential page is top level and that it has been divided into sub sections logically. Users looking for solar panels will select the residential section and it first explains about residential solar panels on one page, the next page down provides benefits, then how much it will cost you, then finance information, and finally, residential case studies.
- About Us
Partners & Accreditations
Health & Safety
Residential Solar Panels
When I was creating the new pages for the site, I ensured that the URL structure was keyword rich by using the keyword map to assist the selection of keywords for a page.
Do - Keep your URLs short. Use hyphens or underscore to separate multiple words that describe what the page content is about.
Don’t - Avoid using numbers, capital letters, long urls, subfolders and unnecessary characters such as, ?=&# because they indicate dynamic URLs and they are sometimes hard to parse.
Tip - Don’t forget to use keyword rich file names so that your website has a search engine friendly URL.
How an SEO will code your website
When I was coding the website it was essential to ensure that the code was tidy and included meta titles, descriptions and keywords in the right places. Well optimised code can also help, by increasing download speeds and allowing the search engine spiders to crawl your website without any obstacles; after all, if spiders can’t crawl your website then it is unlikely to be displayed in search listings.
Do – Validate the HTML code and ensure it complies withweb standards and is error free, where possible. Test the page in different browsers to make sure everything is in the right place.
Don’t – Leave errors on the page or any open tags.
Tip – Use tools like the w3c validator to check if you have errors and add Google Analytics code into your code to track traffic and measure goals. Furthermore, add your website to Google Webmaster Tools for an insight into how Google views and indexes your site.
You may have heard that ‘content is king’... this means it must be written for both users and the search engines. Although you may want to write your own content as you know your business best, work with your SEO consultant to ensure the page is properly optimised for the target keywords and for users.
Do – Make sure the content is interesting, unique and well optimised with keywords. Use correct heading structures and ensure that they also contain keywords. Most importantly have a clear call to action on each page.
Don’t – Use the same content on more than one page of your site or content syndicated from other websites as it will prevent your website from ranking well in search engine results.
Tip – Consider your images as content - optimise the image file names so they contain your keywords and also use alt attributes to explain to search engines what the pictures are about.
With Red Solar's website, most of the on page optimisation was done during the web development process. This saves time because if you develop a website, then you know every aspect of the website inside out. The SEO work will continue because optimisation is an ongoing process which involves adding content, building links and constantly striving to refine and improve the website and provide great information to its visitors.
If you would like to find out more about developing a site search engine friendly website, contact the online marketing experts at I-COM. You can call us on, 0161 402 3170 or fill in our online enquiry form and we'll get in touch.