Search engine optimization is essential for a successful website. But how do you consider SEO from the beginning of the web design process: the wireframing process?
Best practice for web designers is to begin conceptualization with a wireframe. While many wireframes focus on functionality, layout and structure of the site, an ideal wireframe also addresses SEO. Integrating SEO wireframing from the start makes it easier to maintain the big picture and think through the specifics of individual pages, keywords and navigation; and saves additional work and headaches later on in development.
1. Determine the Site’s Structure
Think through what the individual pages of the site should be as you establish the site’s architecture. What purpose do they serve?
Wireframes force organization from the outset, and the more clearly you order the site and arrange content, the easier it is for both search engines and your customers to find their way around.
2. Research Keywords
Setting objectives for each page lays the foundation for the next step: researching keywords. Incorporating heavily searched keywords that are relevant to the page content provide the best search engine results.
Deciding the purpose of each page makes it faster to find optimum keywords to use in your menu items and page titles. SEO wireframing also gives you a head start on developing permalink names, descriptions, and meta tags.
3. Put It Together
Armed with a detailed and logical site structure and relevant, researched keywords, you can now add SEO to the wireframe. Build the wireframe navigation and include appropriate keywords in each path.
Keep the most important information in the top or second level directories; and create your link structure to match.
4. Bask in Your Glory
You’ve now created a sophisticated SEO wireframe. Since keywords are already integrated into the site’s wireframe, the website’s copy can be quickly and effectively optimized.
Since this method focuses on the page level, it works well for small or medium-sized sites. For larger sites, you may want to consider a section-by-section rather than page-by-page approach.
How do you engage in SEO wireframing? Share your thoughts, tips and tools.