In 2022, building an SEO-friendly website should be relatively easy.
The majority of popular website CMS systems are either SEO-friendly off-the-shelf or can be relatively easily configured to be SEO-friendly.
In this article, we look at what you need to know to ensure your next website is an SEO powerhouse.
- What is an SEO-friendly website?
- SEO-friendly web design
- Why build an SEO-friendly website?
- What are the best SEO-friendly website design platforms?
- SEO-friendly web hosting
We feel confident that if you read this article you will have a good idea of how to approach building an SEO-friendly website. However, if you need some help or would rather just talk to a human about your objectives then by all means drop a comment below or get in touch.
1. What is an SEO-friendly website?
An SEO-friendly website is a site that Google can understand.
There are various steps here, but the main ones would be:
- Google can crawl the website and review all pages
- The site is structured in such a fashion that makes sense (like a filing cabinet)
- Google can then interpret the content of each page to understand what search terms that page is relevant for
- The site is connected to any external SEO factors like a Google Business Profile for local SEO
Technical SEO plays a part here in that the site has to follow best practices, but in 2022 most common small business website platforms should have reasonable technical SEO off-the-shelf. Typically, you can then improve the technical SEO with plugins for your chosen platform.
For structure, the filing cabinet analogy is useful:
- Your website is the filing cabinet
- Your categories are the draws
- Your pages are the documents in the draws
This is a simple way to think about things, but if you can clearly describe your business like this then mapping this out in an SEO-friendly way gets much easier.
- About Us
- Service A
- Service B
- Service C
- Location A
- Location B
- Location C
- Resource A
- Resource B
If Google then crawls your site and infers meaning from the structure then you are well on your way.
If your site then has the basic SEO elements optimised:
- Page titles – outlines what the page is about and should feature the main keywords
- Description – an overview of the page that helps entice users to click on the listing
- Body copy – the copy includes relevant keywords in a natural way
Technical SEO features that are useful include:
- Control over crawling and indexation (the ability to noindex things like categories and authors can be useful)
- XML sitemap generation – sitemaps that build on your indexation settings
- Integration with Google Search Console
- Integration with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics
- Redirection tools – the ability to create 3xx redirects
If you have all the above then you will have a site that is technically SEO-friendly.
You will, of course, have to then optimise the site to ensure that everything is well-structured and well-optimised, but the foundational pieces should be in place.
2. SEO-friendly web design
In most cases, you will not build your own site.
So, you want to work with a web design company that understands digital marketing and SEO.
You want a partner that understands SEO-friendly web design so they can help structure a site that is optimised around your goals.
Here you are looking for a company that can:
- Get a clear understanding of your business
- Understand all products and services
- Map out an SEO-friendly structure for the site
- Utilise an SEO-friendly platform to build the site
- Implement the page level optimisation
You are looking for a web developer that is not only technically astute with SEO and web design, but one that can develop a clear map of your business and then use this to structure your website.
You will then have a site that clearly maps your business to search and the digital marketing landscape.
3. Why build an SEO-friendly site?
This one should be easier to answer.
- Billions of searches every day
- 99% of clicks go to the first page of results
- 97% of users searched online to find a local business
- SEO drives more than 10x the traffic of social media
- The top 5 listings get the majority of all search clicks
- 28% of local searches are followed by a purchase
There is no shortage of compelling SEO statistics out there.
The nutshell here though is this:
If you are not visible on the major search engines, you are missing out on the majority of business opportunities out there.
You are making life easier for your competitors and basically treading water until the time when you are muscled out of business by the companies that took SEO seriously and built an SEO-friendly website.
That may sound a little brutal but tough love is warranted sometimes.
Ignore SEO at your peril.
4. What are the best SEO-friendly website design platforms?
SEO can be complicated.
Fortunately though, in 2022, many of the most popular website platforms out there are SEO-friendly.
Building your site using an SEO-friendly platform ensures you have a good starting point for your SEO.
Content management systems like WordPress or cloud systems like Shopify are SEO-friendly off-the-shelf.
These platforms, particularly WordPress, are further improved by many free SEO plugins that simplify optimisation.
Even more technical platforms, like Magento 2.0, are supported by SEO plugins to ensure the sites are technically well-optimised.
What is the best SEO-friendly website platform for you?
This is a little tougher to answer and it largely depends upon your unique situation.
It is important to choose a platform that supports your business and for that platform to be SEO-friendly.
To simplify this, I will grade the most popular CMS systems by how SEO-friendly they are.
- WordPress – AAA if used with the WordPress SEO plugin and smartly configured
- WordPress.com – the hosted WordPress lacks a few key features of the hosted version but is still a contender
- Shopify – needs a little configuration to get the best results but is our eCommerce SEO CMS of choice
- Wix – great for SEO beginners
- Squarespace – good range of built-in SEO features
- WordPress + WooCommerce – SEO-friendly but has the potential to be messy
- GoDaddy – surprisingly good website builder with SEO features
- Joomla – has SEO features but is confusing to configure for non-technical users
- Weebly – a good platform for smaller sites or SEO beginners
- Drupal – can be SEO-friendly but needs a careful hand
- Magento – can be optimised for SEO but needs a careful hand
- Bespoke or custom website build*
* bespoke sites can be SEO-friendly, but the potential for problems is way higher and the developer will need to be up to speed with SEO best practices for developers (link below).
5. SEO-friendly web hosting
Websites are expensive to do well.
They take time, money, and effort, also known as blood, sweat, and tears.
It then never fails to amaze me that after investing all of these resources, businesses scrimp on web hosting.
Your super-optimised site will fall flat if it is running on slow, insecure web hosting.
We covered this in more detail here: How Important Is Web Hosting For SEO?
In a nutshell, though – good hosting can give you an SEO competitive advantage.
Fast, secure sites are a great user experience – this is good SEO.
Building an SEO-friendly website has a few moving parts.
You need to start with a platform that is technically SEO-friendly and able to be well-optimised – WordPress, Shopify, etc.
You then need to create a map of your business and structure the pages on your site in a way that clearly represents your business.
You then need to optimise the basic SEO page elements on the site (page titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags, etc).
You need to ensure your copy is well-written and sensibly optimised so it will convert clicks to customers.
Finally, use high-quality hosting as this can be a competitive difference-maker.
How SEO-friendly is your website?
Unsure how SEO-friendly your website is? Get in touch to get a free SEO audit and learn the top 5 things you can do to improve your website SEO today.
References and further reading