Many people view SEO and web design as two entirely unrelated business website components. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, expert designer and optimizer Chris Vendilli, founder of Pittsburgh web design company ProFromGo, recently counseled a group of small business owners looking to expand their online business:

“SEO must be integrated into the web design process long before you ever begin to build the site. These are not mutually exclusive website aspects and in fact one without the other is a very poor strategy for any business owner, ultimately resulting in an abysmal ROI.”

Vendilli would know – his company is one of the few professional Pittsburgh web design services that have integrated SEO into web development right from the start. According to Vendilli, there are a minimum of 6 critical aspects of web design that must incorporate SEO in order to be effective:

Domain

Exact-match domains often yield powerful SEO effects. When starting a new website, some savvy online businesses find a keyword or keyphrase that is relevant to their services or products and likely to convert well. Keywords that receive a large amount of traffic can then be used to purchase exact-match domains. However, another strategy that works well is to create a name that does not have any search history at all. For instance, websites like Yahoo, Google, Facebook and MySpace all use domains where there would be no “naturally occurring” competition for search terms. To clarify, if you make up the domain snausoodle.com to sell your product, Sausage Doodles, you’ll probably automatically rank on page one for that term. This is the drawback with exact-match domains – there is the possibility that you’ll compete with naturally occurring search terms.

Keywords

In the online world, keywords are everything. They are the primary way that people look for information, products and services, and they are the primary language that search engines speak in. If you’re working with a web design firm that isn’t concerned about integrating your keywords into the design process, you may be working with the wrong company. Keywords must be properly optimized into nearly every aspect of your website, including all tags and titles, descriptions, alternate text, copy and content.

Navigation

If your site is not easy to navigate you’ll experience a high bounce rate and a lack of indexation. Search engines take this into account when determining where to rank your website in the search results. Therefore navigation is just as critical to the design process of a website as it is to the SEO.

Page Layout

Your site must be user friendly. If it’s not, your bounce rate will increase and your traffic will suffer. A website must be optimized for the reader. This means that it cannot simply consist of huge blocks of unbroken text or be cluttered with images and calls to action. There must be a logical flow to the pages and text, graphics and call outs must be placed where appropriate. Customers that are not able to find what they are looking for on your page will bounce away to your competitors, and search engines like Google have specific algorithmic formulas that can “calculate” how well your pages are laid out.

Sitemap

As part of a recent internet marketing case study, a Pittsburgh restaurant’s SEO tactics were recently examined. Pre-study traffic had been stagnant for approximately three years. After hiring a professional Pittsburgh web design company to make some structural changes, the restaurant then planned on utilizing the services of a separate Pittsburgh SEO services provider. However, one of the first things the web design company did was to create a sitemap for the restaurant, which had a considerable amount of content. After the sitemap was indexed the website realized a dramatic improvement in traffic and search rankings. As a result the extent of the required SEO services was reduced and the company was able to save money by simply adding a sitemap plugin to their WordPress website.

Load Time

If you think you can’t stand waiting long periods of time for pages to load, you’re not alone, as search bots don’t like it either and will penalize websites that aren’t equipped to handle the level of traffic they receive. Therefore, a fast load time, plenty of bandwidth and a dedicated IP can help to improve both the form and function of your website, and that’s good news for your SEO needs.

Get the best integration of SEO and http://www.profromgo.com/services/web-design/ possible.

Or, click here for a free SEO and web design strategy session for Pittsburgh based small businesses:

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