Building a website might be on the 2015 agenda for your business. If you’re like most business owners, you want to give your company as much exposure as possible. That’s why you decided to build a website in the first place, after all. The key to creating a successful web presence is making sure customers can find you. Search is the top way users find sites online.
We want to help you accomplish everything you set out to do this year. With that in mind, let us show you how to build a website that’s easy to discover in search engines.
How to build a website that’s search engine friendly
The first step on the path to gaining maximum search engine visibility is ensuring web crawlers can navigate your site easily. A great analogy comes from Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO. Think of the Internet as a subway system with millions of stops connected through numerous pathways. The stops in the system are individual documents. The pathways are links among those documents. In order for search engines to understand a complete map of the Internet, they crawl links from document to document.
To ensure search engines include your site in their Internet maps, you must:
- Link your documents together logically
- Structure URLs properly
- Name URL paths correctly
- Connect to sites search engines already know
Doing these things will go a long way toward making your site search engine friendly.
Link your documents together logically
Users on your site should be able to navigate from a general page (like the homepage) to pages focused on specific content. Add text-based links between pages to make it simple and easy to go from one page to another.
For example, if you have a photography website, think about how users will go from the first entry page to contacting you. How will they navigate through the website? Will they want to see sample photographs? Examine rates? View customer testimonials? Each of these paths is an opportunity to present pages with specific content. Make sure users can easily click links to each page and then back again to the page where they originated.
Structure URLs properly
The fundamental principle for structuring URLs is to choose a format that is easy for users and search engines alike to understand. Website URLs should contain words and phrases arranged in a logical order and convey what the content is about before opening the page. For example, “http://www.websfotowebsite.com/groups/rates” is much easier to decipher than “http://www.websfotowebsite.com/987654/123abcdefg.html”. On the first URL, you expect to see content about group photography rates. On the second URL, it’s anybody’s guess what you’ll find there.
Name URL paths correctly
You never want to leave anyone (especially search bots) guessing what your content is about. That’s why you need to name URL paths using easy to understand language that spells out the content precisely.
When a user searches, matching phrases in the URL are displayed in bold in search results. This signals to users that a particular search result is relevant to his or her query. Increase the chances users click through to your site by including the words and phrases they search for in your URL.
Rather than default to a generic, automatically-generated URL, take time to think about how users would search for your content and include one of those phrases in your URL. Separate words with hyphens to make the words in the phrase clear to users and search engines. Avoid smushing all the words together.
Connect to sites that search engines already know
Lastly, when you build a website for maximum SEO visibility, you need to connect it to other websites search engines are already familiar with. This is more about getting links from reputable websites than it is linking to other sites. In our subway system analogy, your site is a new stop a search engine hasn’t encountered yet. Increase your odds of search engine discovery by getting links from sites search engines frequent regularly. Announce your site to your network of users, friends, and partners. When sites in your network pick up your announcement and link to your website, it increases your reputation and makes it more likely search engines will visit.
If you have a local business, make sure it’s listed everywhere users search for local information. Webs’ local business listings tool can help you get started.
In a nutshell, the way to build a website for maximum exposure in search is to make it easy for search engines and users to navigate your site and understand what your content is about. If you are just beginning to build your website, Webs offers easy site-building tools and even a helpful SEO Booster to get you off on the right foot.