When building a new website, or redeveloping an existing one, there is always a lot of focus on the exciting new features and how much more usable the website is for the visitor. Or occasionally there is a focus on price, which for a smaller, growing business is completely understandable. Unfortunately, when a website is created completely for the user by a web design company not versed in SEO, or is through a cheap “instant website” sort of company, the SEO tends to suffer.
When it comes to optimising a website, there are some very basic things within the actual technical build that provide the foundation for an SEO campaign. Sure, a really poor website can be raised within the search engine rankings with some targeted link building, but very quickly there will come a time where it cannot go any further. You can throw any number of good quality links at a website, but if the fundamental on-page issues are not sorted out there will ALWAYS be a “glass ceiling” from which you cannot progress.
Website Development SEO Fundamentals
Once a website is built with the fundamental on-page aspects taken care of they never have to be re-visited again, it is completely “future proof”. This means that the solid and unshakeable foundation of an SEO campaign has been built. These fundamentals are the very basics of website design, and something that a bespoke development job by an expert company can give you.
Clean, well written code is one of the biggest aspects of this. It is amazing how many websites are still written in old, clunky code and laid out using tables. Google’s robots have a much easier time if the code is compliant with current HTML guidelines. If you have an old website, use the validation tool
at W3.org and see how many errors it throws up.
Google measures websites on how well the user can navigate them, so it is important to make sure there is an easy-to-navigate and linear structure in place so that the robots can find their way around the website in the same way people would. If the navigation is sending you all over the place and there are many different versions of the same product for example, then your site will not be seen in as good a light as your competitors.
Clean, linear URLs that fit the navigation structure are a must in a well performing SEO campaign. For example, the following URL is a perfect one for a company selling Blue Widgets www.widgetsellers.com/widget/blue-widget, but unfortunately there are still websites that have a confusing URL structure such as www.widgetsellers.com/categoryid=756577687876?oeuhfusahfhk , and if you look at that and think its confusing, it is pretty certain the Googlebots will do the exact same.
No Duplicate Content Issues
In cheaper website solutions, it is the case a lot of the time that there are multiple versions of every page, and that these can be found just by changing the URL. To the user this isn’t a problem, but Google sees two completely identical versions of your website, and as Google dislikes duplicate content that could be a problem!
The Future Is Easy
Essentially, after this initial development work is done, all that is required to make sure this doesn’t change in the future is a Content Management System that makes it easy for whoever is administering the site to add new pages and categories without damaging the work done. Essentially, you are only adding to what has been done and expanding on it, rather than changing it. It means all future SEO work can be devoted towards targeted listings for what YOU want to be found for, rather than on essential development tasks that SHOULD have been taken care of at the start.
On-Page Optimisation and Long-Term Campaigns
Of course, doing all of this only gives you a foundation on which to build a long-term SEO campaign. Once this has been done you will need an experienced SEO Consultant to advise on the actual on-page optimisation such as content, meta tags etc. But this, along with expert link building, is all the more likely to give you the results you are looking for if the website fundamentals are taken care of. The glass ceiling is taken away, and the sky is the limit for your website’s SEO potential!