An SEO Checklist Your Web Designer Should Tick Off
We’re constantly astounded by clients who have had websites built by other agencies. Many times, there are aspects of sites that we deem essential that have not been included in the site build. It can be hard to know this though, especially when you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re currently in the process of having a site built, and you’re not sure what to look for, we’re here to help. This SEO checklist is one to go through with your web designer to make sure your site is optimised from the offset.
Unlike many other agencies, we build all our websites optimised for SEO. This includes more SEO specific elements of website design such as optimised images, a keyword strategy and site speed. Much of this is very basic, but still often missed.
If you’ve got big images on your site, for example, if you’re showcasing work or photos, this can really slow your site speed down. Large images take a long time to load, and in turn, can slow your website down. Search engines are known to penalise for slow site speed, so this is definitely something to avoid. To prevent slow site speed, optimise and resize all your images to keep your website fast-loading.
Another key SEO practice to get your designer to complete is adding alt-tags to all your images. Alt-tags provide key information to site users if the images don’t load. They also provide search engines with further information about what the image content is. According to Yoast SEO plugin, “Google places a relatively high value on alt texts to determine what is on the image but also to determine the topic of surrounding text.” This is why it’s important for image alt-tags to contain at least one of your keywords.
Keywords are written into copy, alt-tags, headers and meta-descriptions. They are the main words or search queries that define what your content is about. If you were to search words or phrases to find your website or content – what are they? These keywords or keyphrases you’d search are the ones that should be in your keyword strategy. The keywords you use tell search engines what your content is about. This allows search engines to serve up your website and pages as a result for certain searches. This is your search engine ranking. Ranking highly for your chosen keywords or keyphrases means you are more likely to get organic traffic to your website from search engine results pages.
Heading structure is important for on-page SEO. Headers tell search engines which parts of your content are important. H1 is a title tag, which tells readers, and search engines the title of your content. Then, there are H2 headers, which are subheadings for your content. They break the content up into sections, making it easier to read. A good heading structure overall makes your content easier to read, for both people and search engines.
Site security is a ranking factor. If your site isn’t secure, or it doesn’t have an SSL certificate, it may be deemed unsafe, meaning people will be put off visiting. SSL certificates allow secure connections from a web server to a browser. The security of a site is key, as it means data cannot be corrupted and information cannot be stolen. Many web users would not make a purchase if the site was not secure, indicating that site security does have a direct impact on sales. This is especially important for e-commerce sites, or any sites where payments are made.
You may not think you want a blog, but they are great for SEO. Having a blog page means you are able to write or upload content regularly that is optimised with keywords. These blogs can help impact your page and domain authority, and ultimately help you rank higher. Not only this – but with a blog, you can also assert yourself as a leading industry voice. As well as having regular informative content, Google can see that your site is active and regularly updated.
If your site is hosted with 1000’s of other websites, you’re sharing resources with all of them. This can negatively affect site speed. Having a dedicated, secure server means you won’t be sharing with other websites. Ultimately, this means you’re provided with more stability and reliability. Dedicated hosting allows enhanced security. This is particularly important for companies handling sensitive transactions over SSL.
So, your checklist should consist of the following. Some we’ve already mentioned, and others are worth asking for too:
- optimised images
- a minimal, initial keyword strategy
- H1 and H2 headers
- correct permalink structure
- a blog
- non-static content
- fast secure hosting
- site speed
- the business address in footer
- prominent CTA’s
- phone number top right.
There are more things to expect from your web designer, but it really depends on your business and the purpose of your site. For specific information about what you should be looking for, contacts us. As web design Norfolk based specialists, we can help.