Website design coming up? Here’s 10 SEO mistakes to avoid

Posted by Abby Mitchinson on 25/04/16 16:06

Your new website will be better, faster and stronger. It will be easier to find, faster to load and more user-friendly. It’ll be better designed, be more helpful to your customers and lead to more sales.

But, only if you avoid these SEO mistakes in your next bespoke website design.

1. Not thinking about SEO from the start 

When planning your bespoke website design and strategy, think about discoverability and accessibility from the start. There’s no point in having the most beautiful site in the world if no one can find it. Thinking about SEO while the site is being coded or when it’s finished is too late. Plus, any action taken at these late stages will end up costing far more. 

Laptop on a desk in front of a window and next to a pot of stationery to represent website design seo mistakes

2. Not doing an audit of your existing site 

Unpopular though it is, your existing site should form the basis of the new one. Find out what’s working and isn’t by measuring: 

  • Number of visits
  • Top performing keywords
  • Number of inbound links and the domain authority of these websites
  • Total number of pages indexed
  • Total number of pages that receive traffic 

Discover which pages have the best ranking and which keywords drive traffic and conversions.

3. Failing to identify and include commonly searched keywords

If you’re creating high quality, useful, and informative content for prospects, then your keywords will appear naturally on your web pages. Write for humans, not just search engines. 

Build every page around a different keyword. Include it naturally in the text – a maximum number of 4-5 times. Include this keyword in your page title, meta description and H1 tag. 

Start by looking at ‘buyer personas’ – the different kinds of people that buy from you – so that you can create pages that provide value to all your customers.

4. Not setting up 301 redirects 

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. It’s absolutely crucial to set these up for your old URLs, so that traffic gets transferred to your new ones. Failing to set up your 301 redirects can result in a drop in rankings for your site and a whole bunch of 404 Page Not Found messages for your visitors. 

Ensure you get every single URL by mapping them in an Excel document and crossing off every one as you set up a 301 redirect.

5. Failing to consider URLs 

A new web design is a great opportunity to restructure long URLs that don’t match the content. Search engines and people prefer URLs that make it easy to understand what your page is about. When you do restructure your URLs use dashes in between words. This means Google can search for single words as well as groups of words.

6. Remove low-quality links 

Use Google Webmaster Tools to check for manual penalties incurred by low-quality links (spammers can do this to cause ‘negative SEO’). You’ll have the option to make these links ‘no follows’ so that Google stops paying attention to them.

bespoke web design

7. Not implementing responsive website design 

Responsive design means that your users get a great search and browsing experience, no matter what device they view your content on.  Only styling is changed, not the URLs or HTML, meaning it’s easier for Google to crawl your pages and retrieve your content.

8. Forgetting to unblock search engines 

Did you block search engines from crawling your site while it was under construction? Your shiny new website won’t show up in Google’s search results until you unblock its indexing robots which means you will be unable to track your progress and more importantly your sure can’t be found. 

9. Forgetting to add analytics tracking to your site 

Did your content audit and keyword research pay off? You’ll never be able to compare your redesigned website against your old website unless you paste the correct Google analytics code on your new one.

10. Failing to think like a human 

When you are first starting out, don’t worry so much about SEO. Add value in your content and people will read and share it. 

Sound like good advice? Good. Because avoiding these ten SEO mistakes will mean your new website doesn’t just look great, it can be found easily by customers searching for the keywords that lie at the heart of your customers’ problems, and at the heart of your business.  

Avoiding these top SEO mistakes is one step to ensuring your next bespoke website design project is successful. Download our guide to learn more top tips for website design:

7 Top Tips for Great Website Design

Topics: Website Design

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