Jeremy Hickman, WordPress Website Designer 1200 627
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Jeremy Hickman, WordPress Website Designer 310 310

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About the author

Alastair is an experienced SEO and PPC consultant, and haa been helping companies generate and convert leads through search traffic for more than a decade. He worked as Head of Search at a leading B2B marketing agency prior to becoming an independent consultant.

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Why is it Important to Consider SEO in Web Design?

‘If you build it, they will come…’

This idea may have worked out for Kevin Coster’s character in the 80’s film ‘Field of Dreams’. In the film he builds a baseball field that attracts the ghosts of baseball legends, who turn up to play a spectral game one evening.

However, this advice doesn’t work with websites!

Just because you have a visually stunning website built using the latest tech doesn’t mean anyone will actually find it.

a website that is designed without considering SEO will be lost in the expanse of the internet

Like a beautiful home without an address, a website that is designed without considering SEO will be lost in the expanse of the internet.

Considering SEO during web design lays a strong foundation for future organic traffic growth. 

By following SEO best practices from the start, you improve your site’s ranking prospects. Retrofitting SEO after the new site is launched is often a tedious and costly process.

Considerations When Designing an SEO-friendly Website

When designing a new website, there are several SEO considerations to keep in mind. These will ensure that your site can be easily crawled and indexed by search engines, ranks well in search engine results, and provides a positive user experience.

All necessary ingredients for organic traffic growth.

Keyword Research & Page Optimisation

Keyword research is an important first step before building a new website. Without keyword research you will have no way of knowing what pages are required and how they should be linked together (website architecture) to ensure the site receives the right type of visitor – potential customers for your business.

Keyword research is akin to understanding your target market before launching a new product. Here’s why it’s integral to the web design process:

  • Keyword research sheds light on what your customers are searching for, helping you tailor your website’s content and functionality to attract them
  • Keywords are the building blocks for your content strategy. By incorporating relevant terms throughout your website, you ensure search engines can easily understand and index your content, making it more discoverable

Clean Code

Clean code is a critical aspect of web design and SEO. By writing clean, well-structured code, you ensure that search engine algorithms can easily crawl and index your website. 

Clean code also contributes to faster page load times, which is vital for a good user experience (UX) – an important ranking factor for search engines.

Unfortunately, some drag-and-drop website builders introduce excessive code that can slow down your website and negatively impact search engine rankings. A skilled web designer focused on SEO will ensure your site’s code is streamlined and efficient.

Mobile First Design

Mobile-first web design is critical for SEO in today’s world as mobile users are often the majority of website visitors. In fact over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. 

Search engines prioritise mobile versions for ranking, and mobile-first design ensures a seamless experience across devices.

Here’s why a mobile first approach is important for SEO:

Optimal Website Architecture for SEO

Website architecture is the blueprint of a website, determining how its pages are organized and linked together. 

It plays a crucial role in the overall SEO performance of a site. A well-structured website not only enhances search engine visibility but also improves user experience, leading to better engagement and conversions.

There are several key elements that contribute to an SEO-friendly website architecture:

  1. Logical Hierarchy of Pages:
    Organizing pages into a clear and logical hierarchy is essential. This involves creating a structure that resembles an inverted pyramid, with the homepage at the top, followed by main categories, subcategories, and individual pages. This hierarchy helps search engines understand the relationship between different pages and their importance within the site.
  2. Clear Navigation Paths:
    Navigation is a crucial aspect of website architecture. Users should be able to easily find the information they’re looking for without getting lost or frustrated. This involves creating intuitive navigation menus, breadcrumbs, and internal linking structures that guide users through the site smoothly.
  3. Strategic Placement of Internal Links:
    Internal links are an essential part of website architecture as they help distribute link equity throughout the site. Placing internal links strategically can improve the visibility of important pages, enhance user engagement, and reduce bounce rates.
  4. Flat Site Structure:
    A flat site structure is often recommended for SEO, as it ensures that all pages are within a few clicks of the homepage. This structure minimizes the number of levels in the website hierarchy, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index all pages efficiently.

It is vital that SEO is considered when designing a website’s architecture, because architecture has a direct impact on search engine visibility. 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO can be thought of as anything needed to help search engine crawlers find and index a website’s pages. Failing to address SEO during the web design process can lead to some serious issues with the website.

Here are some important technical SEO elements to think about during a web design project:

  • Redirects. These are important if a website is being redesigned. Redirects are similar to a mail forwarding service when you move home. They tell search engines that a website has moved and enable visitors to be redirected to the new site.
  • XML sitemap. This is a document search engines use. It provides a list of website pages to enable better finding and indexation of pages.
  • Robots.txt. This is a small text file that is located in a website’s root directory. It tells search engine crawlers which parts of a website they can access and which parts are restricted.

How Does SEO Fit Into The Design Process?

Here is a 5 step plan for integrating SEO into the web design process. 

  1. Customer Research
    It is important to understand who your ideal customer is before site design gets underway. As a business owner, you want your website to be an effective online sales channel. By undertaking customer research you ensure the design process is focused on creating a customer-centric website.
  2. Keyword Research
    The information obtained about the customer feeds into the keyword research process. Keywords aligned with all stages of the buyer journey are listed providing guidance on how the site needs to be structured and what content is needed.
  3. Website Architecture & Internal Linking
    The keyword research is used to inform the site architecture development. This results in a structure that’s aligned with the target customer and SEO best practices. 
  4. Technical SEO
    If the project is a site update, a redirects list is created so that the old website redirects traffic to the new one. An XML sitemap and robots.txt file is created.
  5. Pre Launch & Post Launch
    Once the website is ready to go live, a crawling tool is used to make sure there are no broken links and the old site can be redirected properly. After the site is launched, it is important that organic traffic and keyword rank are monitored closely so any potential issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Don’t Let SEO be an Afterthought

Like building a house without a solid foundation means you’ll need expensive renovations to make it liveable, ‘retrofitting’ SEO after a site launch can be extremely complex and costly.

Web design and SEO shouldn’t be regarded as separate functions. In reality they’re inextricably linked, both serving the overall goal of helping a website do what it’s meant to do – attract and convert the right traffic.

Web design and SEO shouldn’t be regarded as separate functions…they’re inextricably linked…helping a website do what it’s meant to do – attract and convert the right traffic.

Trying to ‘do’ SEO after a new website goes live often requires changes to the architecture to make it more SEO-friendly. This can cause traffic disruptions as pages and links are updated. Significant changes to a live site will lead to temporary dips in search rankings which impedes steady organic traffic growth.

And this all has negative consequences for any business wishing to acquire more opportunities and sales from search engines.

It is far easier to have SEO involved from the beginning of the design process!

Client testimonials

So much tech know-how is needed to make a website function properly.  While many off-the-shelf products are available for a cost-effective price, what you save in money, you lose in website performance and speed - key factors for your search rankings.  Going for one of those well-marketed products is a false economy, and I am glad we saw the light and hired Jeremy.

William Hanson

Executive Director

The English Manner

Alastair has been a real asset to the team at Future Visual guiding us through the maze of SEO secrets. I’ve been delighted with the ideas he has developed with us and most importantly, the results. All our traffic is up and inbound enquiries are consistently growing. Highly recommend!

Tim Flemming

CEO and Co-Founder

Future Visual

Jeremy's input has been instrumental in 4D Contact building a successful inbound lead generation marketing strategy, which has delivered a 150% increase in our SQL's.

Heather Leveton

Strategic Marketing Consultant

4D Contact

I’ve worked with and Alastair since Jeremy introduced us in mid 2020. Alastair certainly knows how to promote businesses on the internet. We've had a large amount of enquiries & sales, due to his knowledge. I would highly recommend him

Matt Lawson


OkOki Limited

Jeremy had great communication throughout the build process which really made us feel like we had full control and could get it exactly how we wanted, whilst being optimised for SEO so we can rank well on Google.

Levi Sanderson


LDS Detailing

The website is performing: I've already had potential customers choosing to call me through the website.

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