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Building a new website? Here is how to do it with SEO in mind

New Product Development
Ecommerce Analytics
Ecommerce Implementation
Ecommerce Integration
Ecommerce Platform Development
Mobile Strategy
Attribution & ROI

Google Guidelines for Web Design with SEO in mind:

1. Before building your site, ask yourself: What is your objective? Acquire new customers? Advertise new products? Engage with existing customers? Create your site with these goals in mind.

2. Content is King. Do not let flashy features and visual noise distract users from what is really important: your message.

 3. Writing for the Web. Keep it brief. Users do not read websites like they read books; they skim. Make sure you surface important information clearly, so that users can get what they need quickly and easily.

 4. Create a consistent look and feel. Your website represents your brand. It should look consistent throughout and accurately represent the brand you want to portray.

5. Simplicity is a virtue. Many of the themes we created are simple for a reason: they let your content shine through.

6. Do not make your user think any more than they have to. If a user cannot find out what he or she is looking for right away, there is a high probability he or she will navigate away from your site and never return. Ask yourself: if I were a potential customer coming to this website, what would be the most important information to me?

7. Test, Test, Test. Ask your friends, family, and customers to look at and use your website. The insights and feedback you get might surprise you.

 

Whilst creating a website, follow some of these Google’s best practices that will help with growing your website visibility online.

 

1. Top Navigation

Top Navigation tab needs to have text-based links in static HTML, for SEO crawlability & indexation (ensure all 'mega menu' links - options & sub-options are showing up as links in Google's cache).

2. Footer Links

All text-based content on the website should be present in Google's cache along with footer links.

3. Ensure your site is secure (HTTPS)

  • HTTPS is being used for communication over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with an ‘S’ at the end that stands for ‘Secure’.This essentially provides website users with a layer of protection in that firstly, users can be sure that they are interacting with the exact website intended.
  • Secondly, the data exchange is encrypted which prevents information theft. Finally, HTTPS prevents data from being modified or corrupted during an exchange.

Why use HTTPS?

Apart from security as the key priority, there are several more things to consider:

  • User trust is extremely valuable and when a site is not HTTPS, users can see a note declaring ‘Not secure’ in the address bar instead of a padlock.
  • Updates like HTTP/2 (which we can really benefit from, speed-wise) are only supported over HTTPS in some browsers.
  • Google stated that as of August 2014, they are using HTTPS as a ranking signal and have further suggested that the signal will get stronger over time to allow website owners to make the switch
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Here are some SEO Considerations to consider when creating your site

 

XML Sitemap

It worth insuring all pages that we want Google to “see” is declared in the XML sitemap. A sitemap is a HTML code which allows Google to understand what is on your site.

A XML sitemap protocol is specifically intended for search engine spiders. At its root, XML is a file that includes all the behind the scenes activity on a web site. Not just the site’s main URL, but all the URLs within the site along with the associated metadata. This can include when the URL was last updated, how important it is, the average frequency changes occur, the URLs relation to the rest of the site, etc. The

HTML sitemap

HTML is just a general overview of the site, just the pages and info a user needs to be concerned with. If you’re on a web site and you’re looking for the shopping cart or the ‘Contact Us’ page and can’t find it, you’d go to the sitemap and easily find it there.

While this is geared towards the user, it can also help your search engine ranking because your site is user-friendly and catering to the site visitor.

Redirects

If you are migrating (please note, we work with a migration checklist to ensure we mitigate any lack of visibility), you want to ensure that all pages are redirecting correctly from old pages to new pages.

Custom 404 “not found” page

When a page is broken, you get a “not found” page on Google.By customising your broken page template, it can provide useful & helpful information to the user.

Tell visitors clearly that the page they are looking for cannot be found. Use language that is friendly and inviting.

Make sure your 404 page uses the same look and feel (including navigation) as the rest of your site.

Consider adding links to your most popular articles or posts, as well as a link to your site's home page.

Think about providing a way for users to report a broken link.

No matter how beautiful and useful your custom 404 page, you probably do not want it to appear in Google search results. In order to prevent 404 pages from being indexed by Google and other search engines, make sure that your webserver returns an actual 404 HTTP status code when a missing page is requested

URLS

Website needs to have clean URLs with maximum 3-4 sub-folders to depict clear architecture of website. All pages on the website except individual product and blog pages should have hierarchical URLs as per the main navigation of the site.

Individual Product and Blog pages should have flat URL structures so that targeted keywords in the URL are close to the domain name

All URLs (home page, category pages, product pages and other pages like FAQs, About Us, T&C, etc. - existing + new) should be static URLs and in standard lowercase format.

Content

Ensure content on your site is unique (not copied from anywhere on the web). Google and other search engines frown upon duplicate content.

Meta Data

All URLs should have their respective page titles and meta descriptions along with header tags (H1 - only one per page, H2, H3, etc.) on desktop & mobile.

Headings

The main heading present in the body copy of the page should be in H1 tag. There can only be one H1 tag on every page. All sub-headings (one or more) should be in H2, H3, & so on in descending order of hierarchy. Headings of the same hierarchy level should be in same header tags.

Canonical URLS

A canonical URL is the URL of the page that Google thinks is most representative from a set of duplicate pages on your site. For example, if you have URLs for the same page (for example: example.com?dress=1234 and example.com/dresses/1234), Google chooses one as canonical.

Note that the pages do not need to be absolutely identical; minor changes in sorting or filtering of list pages do not make the page unique (for example, sorting by price or filtering by item color). In the above case, it is required to give canonical tag to the static URL -> example.com/dresses/1234.

No Important Pages should be blocked by Robots

Ensure Search Engine crawlers are provided access to all sections of the website and not blocked using Meta tags in source code or in robots.txt

Image Alt Tags

All images should have image Title and Alt attributes for keyword targeting. The attributes should be descriptive. As Google cannot understand images, its important to have these in the code to allow Google to see the image.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console Setup

Google Analytics, Search Console and other platforms tracking codes need to be present throughout the website.

If you have an International Site, Hreflang is important

The Hreflang attribute allows Webmasters to show search engines the relationship between web pages in alternate languages. Utilizing this attribute is necessary if you are running a multilingual website and would like to help users from other countries find your content in the language that is most appropriate for them. It is very important to make sure our pages do not have any hreflang link issues, otherwise search engines will not be able to interpret them correctly and, as a result, will not show the correct language version of our pages to the relevant audience.

What are Hreflang tags for?                                                                                          

A method to mark-up pages that are similar in content but aimed at different languages/countries/regions.