Good job! You know the importance of not only your website, but the importance of SEO for your website. Now that you’re eager to get your website to the top of the search results, let discuss how to look at your website to see if its SEO-Friendly.
What makes a website SEO-friendly?
An SEO-friendly website is one that’s understandable by Google’s bots, and helpful to its users. When making a website SEO-friendly its very much about making it easier for Google to know what your content is about so Google can know put you in search results accordingly.
Here are 5 key things to look out for when figuring if your website is SEO-friendly or not.
1. A good website design
Of course Google’s ranking algorithm doesn’t know if your website is pretty or not, but users do. When users go to your website and click the back button really quickly because you have an ugly ass website then that’s what Google can see and does measure.
When your website is well-designed, users are a lot more likely to stay longer and interact with your website which then the algorithm can see giving that page brownie points, or a higher ranking.
How to improve your website design
Unfortunately, people can really suck at designing websites so it’s very easy to mess up quickly. If you want to improve the design of your website, there a couple of rules you can follow to make sure your users stay.
Less is more
Stop adding all those widgets and other useless things added to impress. The less clutter you have, the happier the user is. So stop using most of the screen trying to get someone to go to another page. The less of this propaganda you throw at your user, the more they can focus on what they came for – which leads me to my next point.
Look at Inspiration Feed’s blog layout for how simple a website design can be while still being beautiful and pleasing to look at.
Content is king
Content is why people go to every website. So, it only makes sense that the content of your website should be the most important thing. No matter what your website is for, the more and better you can explain something the better. And so, the design of your website should reflect this.
- Is the text easy to read (font and font color)?
- Is the content easy to scan through?
- Is your content even helpful to the user?
Ill say it again, look at Inspiration Feed’s blog layout for how the content is the complete focus of the website.
White, and more white.
Your website’s background should be white. Not tan, not near-white, not black, not anything that isn’t pure #ffffff white. There are also many reasons why white is the best color in web design, some even white is the color of web design because of how robust and useful it really is.
You knew this was coming, look at Inspiration Feed’s blog layout for how all a great design needs is a white background with dark text.
2. Descriptive headings and paragraphs
This is big. The funny part is, people often mess this up thinking their doing something cleaver when really they’re hurting their website.
Let’s say I have a website about an architectural firm, and on the homepage I have this beautiful image of a house with the title saying “Feeling like a vacation?“. Well guess what, Google thinks your website is about vacations now. Great job there.
That’s an extreme outcome, but it gets you thinking like a Google crawling spider. No, having a tagline like that isn’t going to hurt you /that much/, but if the headings and paragraphs don’t accurately idea of your website then how is Google supposed to analyze it and put you in the searches where you’re supposed to be?
A better heading than “Feeling like a vacation?” would be “We are an architectural firm who build your homes that feel like a vacation.” That way Google reads that and sees, “architectural firm” and puts you in those related searches.
When it comes to paragraphs this can be an issue too, but fortunately, it’s quite easy to fix. Here’s an example for a web designer’s website to improve the paragraph content for SEO:
I locally create websites for businesses, and help with website realted services.
An SEO-improved version of that would be:
I’m The Website Architect, I create websites for businesses in Toronto, Canada. I help my clients with various web design services like website updates and additions, website speed optimization, and web security.
Do you see how much more descriptive that is? That not only helps the user fully understand my content more, but it helps Google understand it better too.
Just with an update to that one sentence, Google can now see:
- Who I am
- That I’m in Toronto, Canada
- That I do those specific 3 services
Instead of the open-ended shit it was before. If you made an article on how to reshingle a roof, don’t call the article “Updating your roof”, call it “how to reshingle a roof”. Be more descriptive!
3. Descriptive image names and alt tags
Now that your headings and paragraphs are understandable by Google, it’s time to do the same with your photos.
Your photos should be named what they are. If you have a photo of farm animals, it shouldn’t be called DCIM-30496957.jpg it should be called farm-animals.jpg. That way, Google can actually know what the images are about and see the relevance to the image and the content, valuing it accordingly. Also, adding an ALT tag to the image helps people with visual impairment know what the image is about on your website, which accessibility is a ranking factor.
Descriptively naming your images also gives you the added benefit of showing up in the Google image search results. As you know when you click on an image in the image results, it has a link to the page it’s on, which provides you with more opportunities of receiving traffic.
4. How fast your website is
Website speed is becoming more and more important because of the percentage of mobile phones viewing websites now a days. Websites will always load faster on a desktop than a phone. Considering mobile phones are 52% of the viewership of your average website (and growing), its only becoming more important to have your website loading faster.
This is why Google has it as a ranking factor. They want to promote fast-loading websites because it gives more value to the search results they give you, enabling them to do their job better – serve you good search results.
How to speed up your website
This can be a big topic. How you go about speeding up your website can depend on what platform your website is on, what hosting provider you have, and whats on your website itself.
You’ll want to start my article on finding out what’s making your website slow so you can start making the optimizations. Then you’ll want to start optimizing those areas of your website whether it be slowing loading images or a massive amount of plugins.
If your website is on the WordPress platform, I have written an article on how to speed up your WordPress site if you’re interested.
Start with running your website through Googles page speed tool and see what numbers you get back. If your score is 70+ on desktop, and 60+ on mobile, you’re good. If it’s lower than that something should be done, but no matter your results you should always strive to optimize as much as possible.
5. How valuable your content is
Out of all the 5 things you should check to see how SEO-friendly your website is, this is by far the most important. The truth is, no one is going to go to your website unless there’s value.
Look at this blog post for example, “How To Check If Website Is SEO Friendly“. I have spent time writing and researching this question to create the most helpful and valuable resource for that query. Now, this article will naturally find its ranking at the top of the results because of the value it brings to users searching for how to check how SEO-friendly their website is.
You should ask yourself, is your content helpful and valuable? Could it be more informational and provide more value? No matter if it’s a website page or a blog post, it will benefit from giving more value to the users.
How to make your content more valuable
This is easy: Have original research and content. Stop paraphrasing what other people are saying and calling it your own, no one benefits from that. Instead, give the user useful information they might want to know or ask.
Go to each page of your website and ask yourself, “what would the user want to know?”. If you’re on the about page of your website, what might the user want to know /about/ you? When did your business start? Would they want to see photos of your business? Would they want to see pictures of you as the owner?
Paint the full picture and spare no details. Valuable content does take time and effort – but that gives you an advantage because not everyone is willing to put in that work.
Using SEO tools/checkers
Sure it’s fun putting in your URL seeing what information these SEO checkers will give you, but the majority of them aren’t going to help you and are a waste of time.
I’ve used 6 of these tools just for this article and 3 of them told me absolutely nothing useful. Look at this one I used below, SEOoptimer. I ran the test and it said “Your page links appear friendly“; Yeah that’s helpful.
The only tool I recommended is SEMrush’s site audits. Their audits can be run for free with an account a limited number of times per month. When your audit is complete it will show you all the broken links (404 errors), images with missing ALT tags, pages with slow loading times, and much more.
Other than the Site Audits area of Semrush, I recommend staying away from all other SEO tools. If you want to see how SEO friendly your website is, it can mostly be done with common sense.