Did you know that the top three results of a search query get 61% of all traffic?
Your website may look sharp, but without search engine optimisation fundamentals it will fail to drive the results you’re looking for. That’s why a web design agency is a crucial partner in your web building game plan. From our team of specialists, here are six SEO mistakes we commonly come across with companies that have built without an experienced web design partner.
01. Overlooking Keyword Research
As one of the core foundations of strong search visibility, keyword research should take top priority but it is so often overlooked.
So, before you begin carving out your new website, make sure that you research keywords to understand what people are actually searching for so that you can adjust your search strategy accordingly.
Where to start? The simplest and easiest way is to head to Google and start typing. As an example, we are a company specialising in website design. Therefore, we would begin our search with the keywords ‘website design’. From this Google will suggest a list of the most popular terms that include those keywords. Just like that, you have a handful of specific topics to work with.
There is also an endless list of tools that can assist in your keyword research, with some of our favourites being Google Trends and the Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner.
After identifying the ideal set of keywords, make sure that you take action and integrate them into your content and site structure (think meta tags, meta descriptions, H1s, H2s, paragraphs, and URL slugs).
02. Not Designing Responsively
Responsive website designing is crucial not only for search engine optimisation but also for user experience.
If you want to generate success with SEO, responsive designing needs to become a primary focus. With a responsive design, search engines will tag your website as ‘mobile friendly’, sending it to the top of search results on mobile devices. What’s more, employing responsive design will enhance your website's performance across all devices, improving user experience and customer satisfaction.
03. Not Using 301 Redirects
The beauty of the web is that it’s never fixed. You can constantly reinvent your website’s design, content, and information architecture to create the best experience for your users.
But like all great things, there’s a drawback: when you change website structure, you often end up deleting pages, or simply changing where they ‘live’ on the website.
Thankfully, for that we have the 301 redirect (a commonly overlooked tool).
If you’re moving a page to a different location with a new URL, set up a redirect to the new location. And in the case of deleting pages, make sure you redirect the old URL to a new page with similar (and hopefully, more useful) content.
What’s more, the 301 redirect also preserves a so-called “link juice”, the SEO equity a page has built up over time. With this benefit, new pages get to enjoy the same rank the old page had.
04. Slow Page Loading Speed
Well known in the world of search engine optimisation, websites that load faster will also rank higher. This means more search traffic which will help you increase website conversions.
But before you run off to assess your website’s loading speed, you should note that the factors slowing it down will differ from desktop to mobile. Both devices are important, but as the majority of web browsers are mobile based and with Google's new mobile-first indexing policy, this should take priority.
Looking specifically at mobile (because the rest of the world is too), URL redirects, multimedia, overlays, and popups are just a handful of mobile-specific causes of slow page loading and poor user experience.
05. Endless Scrolling
No one enjoys reading scripts of watered-down copy, nor will people scroll endlessly through content to find your engaging catchphrase. To simplify, if a user clicks on your website and waits for it to load, you better make sure its content is exceptionally user-friendly.
Tried and true, quality over quantity is the web design golden rule that will guarantee greater lead results. Avoid losing web visitors and enhance your SEO by assessing what content is essential to a page and then putting focus on keywords.
Our suggestion: cut back on redundant content and refine it to be topic-specific. Not only will your website become more mobile-friendly, but you’ll also see search rankings optimise and web visitors stay to keep clicking for more.
06. Not Canonicalising
Many websites will have multiple variations of URLs that lead to the same page. Amateur management of this web aspect is one of the most common SEO mistakes and it all comes down to forgetting to canonicalise.
The problem with not canonicalising is that search engines will interpret multiple URLs as multiple links to the same page. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make as Google will severely down-rank you for having duplicate content and attempting to game the rankings system.
To avoid this costly mistake, you can use an HTML tag called “rel=canonical” to ensure that Google knows what URL represents the definitive version of a particular page or bit of content.
Need help? Let’s talk.
Ultimately, each of these common SEO mistakes comes down to lack of search engine knowledge and web design expertise. Collectively, these errors are merely the tip of the iceberg and however common they may be their impact on website success is not to be discounted.
To add to the complexity of search engine optimisation, it’s also constantly evolving. So, if you’re looking to grow your search visibility while focusing on what you do best, the best takeaway is to consider partnering with a web design agency.
Equipped with the skills, experience, and industry insight, a web agency’s service is an invaluable investment for any business looking to increase their search rankings.