5 Critical Points Web Development Should Note When Building SEO-Friendly Websites

Jen Saunders
Reading Time:5minutes

Let’s face it, most web developers give SEO little thought. Their focus is on aesthetics and functionality. Thinking about how the site is designed to host various SEO strategies is simply not a concern held by website developers.

This is puzzling on many levels.  First of all, who in their right mind wants a website that isn’t designed to attract organic search traffic? Furthermore, more organizations are investing in new websites with a custom digital marketing growth stack, and SEO is a major component to such a strategy. It is paramount companies work with a website development team within a digital marketing agency that has the chops to both build a modern site that will resonate with people, but also attract large numbers of them through organic traffic.

This article is intended for web developers who do very little on the SEO front, as it is for companies looking to invest in a new website that will also attract customers through organic search optimization strategies. In order to generate leads through SEO, these five points should be honored when building a custom website.

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1. Create an SEO Map to Reflect Your Sitemap

When creating a site map, website developers typically loop pages into primary ones accessible through the top navigation, and secondary pages located off the main navigation. This design staple in of itself has SEO value because it helps Google understand the primary products and services offered from the site. However, without a deep understanding of the buyers, how they engage with industry-related content, and how to use keywords in various ways on each page, SEO potential value is dismal at best. By doing a deep-dive into buyer personas and keyword research that reflects their intentions, web developers can map out the appropriate URLs, page titles, H tags and meta descriptions for each page.

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2. Structure URLs for SEO Value

All too often website developers will structure page URLs based on assumptions and “common sense”. But rarely do these moves garner maximum SEO value. Unless an organization asks the developer to structure a URL in a precise way to help convey part of a branded message, SEO considerations should always be front and center.

When Google crawls a web page, the URL is the first piece it scans. Then, if the content reflects the keywords in its structure, and the other considerations like schema markup mirror the URL’s topical and semantic accoutrements, a healthy environment will exist for drawing more organic traffic.

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3. Web Development with SEO-Friendly Site Navigation

To the surprise of most people, SEO and website navigation go hand-in-hand because Google better understands sites that are easily navigable. In addition, when Google deciphers a website’s navigation, it is more likely to display the site in the search results for users entering the right search queries.

Providing an amazing user experience (UX) improves SEO, and the connection between site navigation and SEO should never be overlooked by web developers. SEO-friendly site navigation and clean design overlap. Website developers can improve UX and SEO by keeping the navigation clear, appropriate to top products and services, keeping it consistent, and keeping it simple.

Avoid the temptation to cram the bulk of the site’s content within the navigation bar interface. This will garner chaotic navigation and kill UX and SEO. Instead, use fixed scrolling bars for easy navigation decisions from any point on the website. Just make sure you don’t overdo it; too many choices in the drop-down menu will spring multiple silos making secondary pages more difficult to be crawled by search engines and can cause potential confusion for users.

If you have a ton of content then you may not be able to stick to minimal drop-down menus in your site nav. If this is the case, opt for a mega menu design element. These are giant drop-down interfaces that work by mouseover. They typically span multiple columns and help in streamlining content while creating favorable UX and SEO. Mega menus help improve SEO rankings by grouping pages based on keywords in the form of silo architecture. By isolating groups of pages all relevant to one another an enhanced element of organization is employed that helps Google understand subpage content and who the ideal searchers are that should find the content.

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4. Internal Linking for UX and SEO

Internal linking is an ideal way to ameliorate UX and SEO challenges faced with deep sites. But whether your site is a standard eight-page platform or you have lots of content on multiple pages in submenus, cross-linking pages within a single silo to one another while each links to its primary product or service page can strengthen SEO and help improve UX by allowing for another method for website visitors to find what they are looking for with just a click away. When pages are linked together within a silo tremendous opportunity is created for for individual subpages to stand out in the search results. By linking similar pages together, users will visit more pages on your site, engage in lengthier session durations, reduce bounce rate, and perform other engagement behavior that sends signals to Google telling it that your site is favored as having the best content solutions to the query.

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5. H Tags are Crucial for SEO Value

Another common SEO no-no web developers commonly make is using multiple H1s on a single page. From their perspective it is just a way to add a desired font. However, H1 tags tell Google what the content is about, and if you have more than one on a single page it can cause a massive backfire and drop in rankings. Viewed as headings by readers, H tags (headings) have the power to inform readers and keep them engaged on the page. Studies also reveal that headings help prevent readers from getting distracted and enables them to better grasp the message in your content.

When it comes to H tags, always use a single H1 that uses the appropriate keyword and context so that both Google and human readers will find value. You can use multiple H2 and H3 tags, just make sure their subject matter is structured using the right keywords, topic, and context while being informative.

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About
Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.