If you plan on having a website made, or creating your own you need to know the basics of search engine friendly website design, if you don’t have the basics right it’ll make your journey to the top of the search engines even harder.
Here are a few of the basic features that your website needs to be search engine friendly:
Search Engine Friendly URLs
These are pretty self explanatory. Not only do they allow visitors to get an idea about what the page is going to be about before clicking on the link but they can also help aid your rankings within the search engines for the keyword the page is targeting, for example https://www.123ranking.co.uk/facebook-page-design.html is going to perform a lot better than https://www.123ranking.co.uk/page3.html for the keyword “facebook page design” (assuming everything else on the page and the links to it are exactly the same)
Unique Title Tags
The title tag is essentially the title of your website (or page) and is one of the most important factors in an on-site optimisation. This is common knowledge for SEOs but a lot of people, including some CMS developers, do not realise this. Each page of your website should have a unique title tag that reflects the content of your page and includes the keyword(s) you are trying to target on that page. Keywords in title tags are essentially in priority order, the first keyword within the title tag is the most important and so on. Sometimes it is really hard to get those things right and asking SEO agency for help might be a good idea.
Crawlable Link Structures
This is very basic stuff that every website should have but it’s extremely important. Every page of your website needs a link to it, if there is not link to it then how do you expect Google to find it?
Keywords should be used within h1 tags, e.g. <h1>Basic Features of a Search Engine Friendly Website</h1>. h1’s are essentially headings and give Google an indication of what the page is about. Bear in mind there can only be a single h1 on a page and it’s debatable how much algorithmic weight it holds these days, but it is still worth doing. h2’s, h3’s and so on can be used as headings above paragraphs of content, for example we use h2’s for all our sub-headings in this blog post (“Search Engine Friendly URLs”, “Unique Title Tags” and “Crawlable Link Structures” etc)
Meta Robots and Robots.txt
The meta robots tag and robots.txt is essentially used to control how the search engine spiders crawl your website (or page). The default setting for the meta robots tag (also applies if you do not have a meta robots tag) is index, follow (<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />) which basically means the search engine spiders have free reign and can go wherever they wish. This is absolutely fine as the whole point of SEO is to make our site more appealing to the search engines, why wouldn’t we want them? They are friendly spiders.
Image source: https://freelanceretort.blogspot.com/2011/10/spider-sense.html
The robots.txt equivalent of this is as follows:
You can restrict which pages of your website the search engine spiders can access but we don’t need to go into that in this article. What you want is either no robots tag (or <meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />) and a robots.txt that looks like above to ensure you are not stopping the search engine spiders from crawling your website.
The meta description tag is used as a short description of the page’s content. It doesn’t have any real algorithmic value these days and should be used as advertising/marketing copy to try and draw readers into your site. You should be able to set the meta description yourself on each page of the site.
This isn’t necessary but is very helpful to prevent duplicate content issues on your site, as if you have multiple versions of the same page the search engines may have trouble deciding which version of the content should be shown to people searching. Ideally you want the ability to set the canonical url (<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.123ranking.co.uk/blog/basics-of-a-search-engine-friendly-website” />) or have it done automatically for you by the CMS so in the eyes of the search engine there is only 1 version of each page.
Once you’ve got the basics right you can progress from there, without these basic features you may find it more difficult to achieve the rankings you are working towards.