Integrating SEO into Web Development

Posted by Helen Curry on January 22nd 2015

Search engine optimisation is a vital part of any business’ online presence, it determines where the company sits in relation to its competitors which directly impacts how successful they are in comparison. SEO is extremely important for converting sales, if a company is difficult to find via search engines then potential customers are likely to buy from a competitor with research showing that 90% of searchers don’t click past the first page of a search engine.

Due to the importance of SEO businesses are starting to integrate it into the early development stage of the website build rather than leaving it to the marketers to make it SEO friendly. With search engine algorithms constantly changing to make the user experience more enjoyable and searches more specific, developers have to take the likelihood of regular content changes into consideration when building a site.

It’s suggested that roughly 80% of all searches made are on Google, therefore developers need to take their algorithm, guidelines and rules into consideration when building a site. The speed of the site is crucial to how well the site performs on Google, how quickly pages load and content is readily available is important to how they crawl the site. Google penalise sites that are slow, stating that users are usually unwilling to wait longer than they click and will often return to the search engine results page to find another site which performs more efficiently. Users don’t want to wait around, they want instant access. Google use the ‘bounce rate’ as a major factor in the algorithm, a site with a high bounce rate will fall in ranking, so if a site is slow and people leave it quickly it will have a high bounce rate which will lower its credibility.

A fast website is proven to attract repeat visitors as loading time affects the users behaviour on how many pages they click through. A faster website converts better than a slow one; research by Google has demonstrated that almost 50% of internet users expect a website to load within 2 seconds and are likely to abandon the site if it isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. Google is always watching and websites, therefore creating fresh and engaging content that appeals to the right target audience is important to achieving good SEO as the spiders that crawl the sites can spot copied and irrelevant content. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm focuses on every piece of content created and states that it must provide value to the sites audience.

Often site owners and marketers focus on ranking highly for specific keywords which helps drive as much traffic to their site as possible. However, they’re forgetting about what visitors will do once they get to the site. The site copy may be well optimised for the right keywords with meta data in place but they’re worth nothing if when visitors land on the site they can’t navigate their way around easily and find the site confusing. The visitors journey has to be good from start to end so they will spend more time on the site, visit more pages and improve conversion rates.

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