Are you thinking about updating your company’s website? Before you start launching any changes, it is important to be sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps that will ensure you can execute a strong SEO strategy once your new website is complete. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) playing such a key role in establishing a healthy ranking signal, it is important that it is not an afterthought. Not sure where to start? Here are a few SEO elements to keep in mind when designing your new website.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

First things first, your domain name is a chance for you to give your new website some serious SEO power. One of the safest solutions for your domain name is to use your company’s brand. Using the brand name in your domain will build brand awareness within your target audience and increases your chances of being found within a navigational search. Other than building brand awareness in the minds of potential consumers, using your company’s brand as the domain name will fire off brand signals to search engines. Brand signals are simply any mention of your company’s name or website online. Establishing quality brand signals can help push your website into a high ranking position.

Other than using your brand name, you may consider an exact-match domain. What’s an exact-match domain? It’s a domain name that uses a keyword phrase. For example, if your company wanted to rank for “buy cheap flights,” your exact-match domain would look like, www.buycheapflights.com. Even though you’re using more keywords, the jury is still out on how effective it is. In September 2012, Google noticed how many companies were using exact-match domains and launched an EMD update. This update prevented low-quality websites from establishing a high ranking position for just having keywords in a domain that matched a search query. However, if your business plan is to maintain a high-functioning and honest website, an exact-match domain may still work in your favor.

“In the long run, it’s usually better to build your brand name over using a generic domain name,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “A good example would be brands like uber.com and lyft.com. You probably haven’t heard of the website rideshareservice.com.”

Invest in a Strong Hosting Platform

In a world where everyone wants information within seconds, a quick loading time is a key factor for your new website. However, the web hosting system is not always to blame for a slow loading time. It is important to be sure your website’s coding system is up to snuff in order to eliminate any cause for a slow loading time. Your website speed can fluctuate, especially if you are constantly uploading new products or content that contains images.

“Since a faster site creates a better user experience, Google has made page speed big priority in its ranking algorithm,” Pitzl said. “If you choose the wrong platform or Content Managing System (CMS) you can see technical difficulties that will end up hurting your user’s experience.”

Speaking of platforms, investing in a mobile-friendly website has never been more important. With 60% of searches now being conducted on mobile devices, you will want to make sure your company isn’t missing out on easy business opportunities. Even though there are a lot of aspects to consider when constructing a mobile-friendly website, less is always going to be more. It is important to keep your layout and navigational tools simple and easy to find since you have a lot less space to work with compared to a desktop website layout.

“Site navigation helps SEO in two main areas. Having a solid site structure helps users and it helps search engines find your pages for indexing,” Pitzl said.

Quality Content is Key

The whole point to having a website is to promote the product or services your company offers. Potential consumers come to your website or blog in hopes of fulfilling a purchasing need or to read up on the latest developments within your industry. However, when it comes to content, it is important that you don’t stuff keywords into your website in the hopes of boosting your ranking signal.

“Google has become so good about knowing what is on your website, you really have to create quality content to rank. The days of low-quality spam content are over,” Pitzl said.

This type of writing not only creates a poor user experience on desktop and mobile websites, keyword stuffing does not advance your website in search results. It is important to implement industry-related keywords into your content, but don’t overdo it. Creating useful and high-quality content is what will get your website noticed by consumers.

When was the last time you had a SEO audit conducted? Contact our SEO department today!