What Is A SEO Friendly Website?
We have all heard of the term SEO friendly website. But what exactly do most web design companies mean, when they promises you a SEO friendly site? Essentially, what they means is that they will build you a site that, from the technical SEO perspective, is build following the best SEO practices. In layman terms, it means building a site where every page is easy for Google to crawl and index. It also means that every page on the site (as well as the site architecture as a whole) is structured so that Google can easily understand its content and context.
Crawling and indexing is important because if a page is not found in Google’s index, it can never be ranked. Understanding the page is important so that Google can, through its algorithm, accurately determine what the page is about and how best to serve it in their search engine results pages (SERPs), if at all.
Hence it is important to note that nowhere in the term SEO friendly (when mentioned by web design companies), is the guarantee of page one rankings.
Factors That Make A Website SEO Friendly
All Pages Crawlable
Only pages that you do not wish for Google to show in the SERPs should be blocked with a noindex meta tag. Examples of such pages may include your dashboard login page, backend pages, restricted members only pages and the thank you page etc. All other pages should be left free for Google to crawl and index.
In addition, your important pages should be linked to from the homepage and there should be internal links on every page, pointing your web visitors to other important and relevant pages on your website. No page should be left orphaned (i.e. stand-alone). And XML sitemap should also be submitted to Google via the search console. This way, Google should have no problem crawling your site, discovering your new pages and indexing them.
Keywords within domain name as well as page URL use to carry more weight in Google’s ranking algorithm. These days, they are less important. Nevertheless it’s still a good practice to have your keywords in the slug, with a hyphen separating each word. If nothing else, they appear in the SERPs and can help users understand what the page is about.
In a SEO friendly website, the title tag should contain:
- your keywords
- A title that aptly describes the page
This helps Google understand what your page is about. Think of the title tag the same way you would, titles of essays in an ‘A’ Level General Paper examination. They should guide how the rest of your essay is written.
A site can rank without meta description. It’s not necessary for every page to contain a meta description but if it’s present, do ensure that it properly describes the content of the page. Also avoid having duplicate meta description (i.e. same description on different pages) of your website.
Headings and Sub Headings
These are your H1 to H6 tags. They function the same way headings and sub headings do in any written essay. They help readers understand your content and easily scan it to look for specific sections that interest them; they help Google better understand the content and context of your page too.
You wouldn’t want to read a book where the same content is repeated page after page; such content add no additional value to the reader. In the same way, duplicate content on your website will not be appreciated by your readers and should be avoided. Hence Google has a duplicate content filter which filters out such content. And if you need to add duplicate content on your website, you should indicate the canonical version to Google. A web designer schooled in SEO will know how to do that for you.
Mobile Responsive Web Design
Because mobile web visitors now consistently exceed 50 percent of all web traffic, Google has shifted to mobile first indexing where your mobile website is used to determine your SERP rankings, even for desktop search. And Google’s recommended approach toward building mobile friendly websites is to adopt the responsive web design approach. As such, to be considered SEO friendly, your website should be mobile responsive.
In a web design contract, content is usually provided by the client. And for clients unable to produce their own web copy, web design companies usually provide copywriting services for an additional charge. But whether the content is provided by your web designer or yourself, it’s important that the content is of good quality and written for the audience and not Google. In less competitive niches, good content on a properly structured page, with proper title tag and headings are all that’s needed to rank on page one of Google search.
If a site is built following the above guidelines, it is considered SEO friendly. Unfortunately, many SEOs and web designers alike know the above guidelines and are already building sites as such. Hence in many niches, Google has already got way more than 10 SEO friendly websites to choose from for page one rankings; SEO friendliness alone is thus not enough.
Google has around 200 signals which they use to rank websites. Their algorithm is very complex but it’s aimed at picking the best sites for any given search. So to rank, aim to be the best and most informative website (in the eyes of your customers) and you will do much better in Google search.