You’ve had your website designed and it’s a work of art. It could be hanging on a wall at an art museum.

And frankly it would get far more traffic if it were hanging at an art museum.

So what went wrong?

It’s beautiful, it’s responsive, it’s a sight to behold. The problem is, it isn’t designed with top SEO in mind.

And these days, one of the most important aspects of creating a website is SEO friendly web design. A poorly designed website can have a long-term negative impact on its ability to rank in search results.

Nobody wants that.

There are many things to enact when designing a website with top SEO in mind.

In order to optimize your website for search engines, you’ll want to follow these basic design tips:

Make the website about one thing.

We’re not saying you have to be completely exclusive. There will be other content, of course. But you’ll want to choose one primary topic that is the most essential to your message.

You’ll also want to do some keyword research before choosing a topic.

Speaking of keywords…

Mention keywords where they’ll have the most impact.

Put your primary topic in the site title, domain name, description, tagline, keywords, blog categories, page titles, and page content.

You can make a lot of these changes a lot in the General Settings (if you’re on WordPress) or through a plugin.

And don’t forget to use keywords in your images.

Use HTML headings properly.

The textual content on a website is associated with HTML tags, such as HTML headings. HTML headings define the function of content.

They also specify how one piece of content relates to other pieces of content.

For example, a main text heading such as the page title are often tagged as H1 (or Heading 1), with subheaders tagged in descending order of importance as H2, H3, etc.

Search engines will then read H1 text as the most important heading on the page. Text tagged as H2 will be seen as secondary in importance, but related to the text tagged H1.

Without the appropriate definition of HTML headings, top SEO is lost. Search engines simply will not understand the meaning of a web page and display it in search results inaccurately.

Or even worse, not at all.

Make readable URLs.

A URL is the address of each of the web pages on a website, such as www.awesomeseo.com/contact-us. Such a URL would link a website visitor to the contact page for a business called “Awesome SEO”.

Search engines like URLs that humans can easily read and interpret. They do not, on the other hand, like URLs filled with numbers or ambiguous letters and symbols. Examples of SEO unfriendly URLs include:

  • www.awesomeseo.com/288644 or
  • www.awesomeseo.com/category/story-12

These sorts of URLs will devalue your web page.

Link to internal pages on your site.

If your content management systems don’t automatically do this, be sure you are linking to your most important pages directly from your homepage and cross-linking them with each other.

Be aware of page load time.

Humans aren’t the only ones who don’t like slow page loads.

Search engines aren’t crazy about them either and a slow page load will make it harder for search engines to scan and index.

Page load time can be affected by design components such as the amount of content on a web page and the size of images and graphical elements. You may also want to dispose of music player, flash graphics and any unnecessary plugins.

According to Google, page load time is part of its determination of how high in the search results they’re willing to list your page.

Incorporate partial use of JavaScript.

Yes, JavaScript can help you design a cool website. But it is should be used partially because search engines prefer the limited use of JavaScript.

This doesn’t mean you have to banish design that pops by getting rid of images. You just need to optimize them. Compress images to a suitable size, add alt tags to the images and describe them wherever possible.

Compress images to a suitable size, add alt tags to the images, and describe them wherever possible.

Link to other websites with relevant content.

This can be done by including a blogroll, link list, or resources page on your website. But do so sparingly.

Each outbound link is a “vote” for another site, but if you do it well and people click on those links, it indicates to search engines that you are a trusted authority on your particular topic.

And have other websites link to you.

When it comes to top SEO, this one is huge.

Unfortunately, this one is also not really in your control. The only thing in your control is creating excellent content.

So just get to writing great content. And, start guest posting on other blogs.

Remember that inbound links are essential to SEO.

Update, update, update.

Here’s the deal.

Generally speaking, sites with dynamic content are going to rank higher than those with static content.

Blogs and directories do well on search engines because they are constantly being updated with new content.

So keep it fresh.

Make sure your website is indexed in search engines.

While a lot of search engines will automatically find and index your content, it’s not a guarantee.

It’s important that engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are crawling your site so that people are finding you online. If they’re not, add them directly.

Make it mobile friendly.

As of 2015, Google included mobile-friendliness in its determination of pagerank.

That being said, a web page that displays optimally on mobile devices is going to rank higher for mobile friendliness than a similar desktop-only web page.

Even if your web design has been mobile-friendly for a while, you’ll want to be sure it doesn’t need to be retrofitted to pass Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Stop changing your domain name.

Even if you’re doing everything to get top SEO, the age of your URL is a factor in your site’s search ranking.

So you’ll have to be patient. It takes age and wisdom for it to start to rise to the top.

Finally, write like a human.

None of the above tips are going to count for much if you’re creating content that sounds like a robot wrote.

In a nutshell, a user-friendly website is easy to navigate. It should be simple to find information and for visitors to remain well oriented until a specific goal is completed.

Basically, if a human visitor finds a website difficult to understand and navigate, so will search engines.

So write great stuff (or find a writer who can), follow the above tips to design with top SEO and then have patience. The results will come.

Do you have any stories on how effective website design improved your business? Go ahead and share with us!