Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the architecture of a website are deeply connected. Without proper website architecture, your website’s SEO won’t reach its maximum potential. In fact, a truly SEO-friendly website starts with the technical elements first. How exactly are the two linked? Here are 5 mission critical – and frequently overlooked – technical website elements to pay attention to.
- HTML and Google XML Sitemaps. In order to rank your website, search engines utilize “crawlers” to analyze the content on it. These files are basically maps, as their names would suggest, that tell these bots how to navigate your website. After crawling, your website is then indexed and stored in a database used to serve search results to queries based on the indexed information.
- URL structures. What’s in a URL? The answer is more complicated than you might imagine. Google will not pay attention to URLs that are made up of a series of numbers and symbols. A good URL uses hyphens between keywords that directly describe what is on that page. A good example of an effective URL is “www.myadvice.com/blog/seo-facts-for-marketers.” An ineffective URL would look like this, “www.myadadvice.com/?sfm/72988/Blg724.” The second example doesn’t communicate any useful information to Google. Similarly, understanding how HTTP response codes work and how to use them will help you tell Google how to parse the information on your website – and avoid errors.
- Easy navigation. If there’s one thing to remember in SEO, it’s that search engines want the same things users want. If visitors to your webpage can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll give up fast, which means you’ll likely be penalized in search rankings. If the navigation bar on your site is confusing, overly designed, or glitchy, it’s not doing its job. Keep your menus simple and easy to navigate.
- Optimized images. Any images on your webpage should be the minimum size that they can be to still be effective with the appropriate tags coded to them. Smaller images and logos load faster. If a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load, visitors are likely to move on to another site and you’ll face search penalties, so this is an important metric to pay attention to.
- Keyword research. Understanding how people are searching for your business and your services will help you understand how to architect your website. The days of keyword stuffing are long gone in the SEO world – it’s more important to design your website in a way that makes it easy for those who are looking for you to find you.
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