When building a new website you need to consider both consumers and search engines. You need an SEO friendly website to show up in Google when people are searching for your products and services but you also need a creative solution and a beautiful design that will dazzle your target audience. In this article, I will talk about the importance of collaboration between web designers, developers and SEOs, and how this partnership, or the lack thereof, can affect your organic rankings.

What is SEO in web design and development?

SEO in web design and development is the process of SEO specialists reviewing the different stages of your website development to ensure that technical and content SEO best practices have been met. This means that your SEO specialist should be involved in the process from the beginning, as early on as choosing the CMS platform and reviewing the design wireframes. This is important because different CMS systems offer different advantages and disadvantages, and being aware of what could benefit or hurt your organic presence from the start gives you the chance to fix it.

Before a website goes live, SEO experts will consider the crawlability and indexability, site architecture, content, and mobile friendliness of your site. All these elements play a role in organic rankings and if search engines can’t find your content, it won’t rank and therefore won’t drive traffic to your site. After all, Google looks at over 200 factors when ranking a page which is why working with technical SEO specialists as part of launching a new site or migrating an existing one, is crucial.

7 reasons why SEO is important in web design and development

Getting things right from the start of the project will save you a lot of hours of reviewing and redesigning your site to meet search engine’s best practices. Taking a proactive approach with your online marketing will help you develop a search engine-friendly site that is easy to scale and takes advantage of online search behaviour.

Here are 7 reasons why SEO and web design and development should go hand in hand.

  • Crawlability and Indexability
  • Keyword research
  • Site architecture
  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Website speed
  • On page SEO
  • UX

1. Crawlability and indexability

Whether your content can be crawled and indexed by Google can mean the difference between night and day when it comes to your organic rankings. When we, as SEO specialists, review the wireframes and staging environment of your site, we will be able to detect whether any important content or internal links are controlled by JavaScript and therefore present difficulties for Google to render. It is important to review this early on in the process so that you have time to fix it before your site goes live. Remember that any important content should be controlled by HTML and should be server side-rendered. Whilst Google is getting better at rendering JavaScript, the process still takes longer as Google needs extra resources to access and render the content.

2. Keyword research

You may think keyword research is only something you should be interested in as part of a marketing campaign but that is far from true when it comes to your organic presence. Having awareness of how people search for your products and services will affect the way you build your navigation, categories, filters, informational content and URL structure. The keyword research will help inform your site architecture which is why it is vital for this part of the review to be completed early on, before the new sitemap has been finalised. Whether you are launching a lead gen or an ecommerce site, having awareness of how people search for your products or services will affect the sitemap of your site. How people search may be different to how you sell.

3. Site architecture

Evaluating the site architecture early on can provide great benefits. As part of this review, we assess a lot of different elements - canonical tags, URL structure, breadcrumbs, internal links, and filters. Here, it is important to understand the relationship between pages, the hierarchy of the content and how easy it is to add new pages to the site.

4. Mobile friendliness

It won’t come as a surprise to you that most websites are now built with mobile friendliness or mobile first in mind. However, your SEO expert should be reviewing a few more aspects when it comes to the mobile friendliness of your site. It is significant that the same content is displayed across mobile and desktop devices. You should not have different navigation items depending on the device users have decided to use to visit your site. With mobile first indexing, Google takes the mobile version of the site for indexing and ranking purposes so if any content is only present on desktop, you may lose out and it may be considered bad experience as you are presenting different content on different devices.

Whilst the whole site can be mobile friendly, it does not mean that all elements will be. It is important to test your stage environment to see whether content displayed in tables is mobile friendly, whether the font is big enough on mobile so that people are not required to zoom in or whether there is enough space between various elements on the page. This is especially important because the majority of your traffic is coming from mobile devices.

5. Website speed

Google has now confirmed that the Core Web Vitals metrics are the only factors playing a role in the website speed ranking so having input from your SEO specialist at an early stage is vital. They will review the design wireframes and audit the staging environment to see whether the different types of content and page templates pass Core Web Vital metrics on both desktop and mobile and will be able to provide recommendations and actions if they do not.

6. On page SEO elements

There are numerous on page SEO elements that we as SEO professionals look at when auditing a page. However, as part of a web design review, we will be reviewing the content on the page that is controlled by Javascript to ensure that the important copy is server side-rendered. The staging environment review will also include assessing headings, internal links, additional content sections on the site (scalability for content optimisation in the future). If there is an issue with any of these elements, they will be raised with the web development team and fixed before the launch of your site.

7. UX

Whilst user experience will be taken into account as part of the website design, your SEO expert will have valuable input. As part of the UX review, we will be looking to assess whether the information on the site is clearly presented, content is readable and accessible and whether there are any issues with mobile usability and interstitials.

How to best communicate between web design and SEO professionals

Whilst in theory collaboration between the two departments sounds easy and logical, this might not always be the case. Even if SEO specialists are brought on board early on, they may have conflicting recommendations to those of the web design and UX team. SEO experts will want more content to be indexed in Google to improve your rankings, whilst UX specialists and web designers may prefer a cleaner design that encourages conversion and user engagement. Both are important and finding the balance between the two is where the magic happens.

Understanding why the SEO input is valuable, and at what stage of the web design and development process this input is needed, is key to a successful project. To do that, identifying the stakeholders early on and arranging kick off calls will be a great starting point for bringing everyone together and discussing all important elements of the project.

Final thoughts

SEO should not be an afterthought but part of your online strategy from the very start to give you the best chance of ranking in the search engine results pages. The SEO team at Adido have years of experience with website development and migration, so if you are looking to grow your online presence, talk to our technical SEO specialists for more information.

Related articles:

The different types of website migration
What do web accessibility and SEO have in common?
How to make a website more accessible
Why do a website audit?

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Meet the author ...

Radina Ivanova

Senior SEO Manager

Radina holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Sales and Marketing and has worked in search for the past 6 years. She is experienced in Technical SEO and loves putting ...