A Complete Checklist to Developing a Website with SEO in Mind

Author: Tom Cottrill | Date Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Every aspect of your digital marketing efforts should be optimized for search engines and focused on engaging your target audience. Anybody reading this post already knows that, so we don’t need to tell you. However, many companies think they can just create a portfolio website to use for when customers ask for more details about their business. We are web developers because we believe that this is frankly a waste of a website. Website optimization with SEO in mind is a crucial part of website development, and some steps should be taken to make sure your website is properly optimized.

How to Focus on Website Optimization for Your Site

As with any type of SEO effort, website optimization during the development process is about keywords, relevance, user experience, and other important factors. Part of this includes the right technical coding on the website during development as well. The most important part is that Google and search engines can easily crawl and index your website and all of its pages to make sure it’s found easily and by the right searchers.

Page Layout Optimization

Layout is a crucial part of web development for user experience, navigation, and effective conversion, but it is also important for optimization. Layout of a website includes size of text, where buttons go, location of content and media, links, and any other visual elements. For the same reasons this is important for an effective website, Google finds it an important ranking factor. If they send searchers to your website and it provides a poor experience because of its layout, it deters people from using their search engine. Their crawlers specifically look for layouts that are easy to navigate and easy to read/view. Some page layout website optimization tips are:

  • Get the right size font. Too small makes it hard to read, while too large is aggressive and difficult on mobile.
  • Make sure the font and background are easy to read. Typically light colored backgrounds with dark fonts are easiest on the eyes, but if you opt for a dark background, make sure the font contrasts enough.
  • Eliminate text from images.
  • Keep your images and videos compressed.
  • Try to avoid Javascript (it can confuse search engines).
  • Flash moderation and iFrames can stop search engines from being able to find your site, so try to avoid these as well.
  • Break the page up into smaller chunks of content to make it easier for people to skim and find the information they want.
  • Think mobile-first when creating page layout to make sure the large number of mobile searchers can easily navigate your site.

URL Structure

Page IDs and complicated URL structures do your website no favors with the crawlers. A worded structure like companyname.com will be a lot better and make your site easier to find than companyname.com/?page_id=. Your website developer should be creating page URL structures that are easy to find and use, and when it comes to individual pages, the structures should be very clear about what they are and what the page’s purpose is.

Plot Keywords During Development

Before you even start creating content or pages for your website, your keywords should be plotted. This can happen during the sitemap phase of development so you have a good understanding of what page titles you’ll need and where they should fall in terms of priority and structure. Make a list in a spreadsheet with any keywords people would search to find your business or that are relevant for your website. Look through any other bios you have written in the past and find some main words that stand out. Then perform keyword research to determine the difficulty and searchability of these keywords. A good SEO agency can perform this research for you, but it should be done simultaneously with the web development process. 

Make Your Website Secure

A huge part of website optimization is website security. Your website has to be protected from hackers and viruses to ensure the people visiting your website have their information protected, along with protecting yourself from losing your entire website. Your website should be secured with an SSL certificate—it is actually required by Google now, so make sure your web developer provides it—because if you don’t have it, Google will determine your site is unsafe and will not allow it to rank in SERP.

Other security measures your developer will need to take follow a set of best practices for website security, including:

  • Using fewer plugins
  • Using a qualified host
  • Signing up for monitoring services
  • Updating passwords regularly
  • Doing regular security audits

Ensure Clear Navigation

Your website needs to have a clear navigational structure so website visitors—and crawlers—can easily move around your page and find what they want. This includes using categories, having an easily utilized search bar, including key pages in your navigation, only having a small number of main pages in navigation, and making sure your menus are easily accessible on desktop and mobile.

About Ignitro Studios

Since 2013, Ignitro Studios has been working to blend marketing and technology in support of agencies and other marketers. By understanding both sides of web development, we have a unique perspective and advantage within the industry. We provide design, development, project management, QA, and strategy, driving the bus so our clients don’t have to. We will work with our clients to get results while also empowering them to do their job better. Learn more about Ignitro Studios.

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