Common SEO Tricks Web Designers Often Neglect

In the world of SEO, there are hundreds of factors which can contribute to a website’s rankings. With so many ranking factors, it’s easy for many technical aspects to get overlooked not just by web designers but SEO experts alike.

Throughout this post, I’ll share some simple tips and tricks to help build the rankings for your clients and personal websites.

Target the right keywords

Keyword Research is the most important think when it comes to SEO. Before you start building content for a website, you need to first know exactly what you’re trying to rank for. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start your keyword research. It removes the guessing game of choosing which keywords to target by giving you their monthly search volumes as well as other related keywords. This helps you combine a list of relevant keywords to target before building out a web page.

Build high quality links to your site

Backlinks are the number one factor when it comes to ranking websites today. If you want a website to rank for certain keywords, you’re going to have to go out there and obtain backlinks from high quality websites. This doesn’t mean submitting your website to a list of link and article directories because these have little effects on SEO today and actually have the potential to do more harm than good.


Reaching out to other website owners and bloggers in the industry and building a relationship is a great way to obtain a link back to your website. Offer some type of unique but related resource on your site which can easily be used as link bait.

For example, if you’re a web design agency, you can create a page that offers free resources such as HTML templates, PSD files and more.

Guest Posting:

There are many websites on the internet and many of them love offering opportunities for industry experts to write articles for their website. Many of these website get high amounts of traffic and have a lot of authority which make them a great prospect for building a link to your site.

Finding guest posting opportunities isn’t even all that difficult either. Just do a Google search for any of the following:

  • Niche + Contribute
  • Niche + “Write for Us”
  • Niche + “Submit Article”
  • Niche + “Become a Writer”

Leverage Client Sites:

If you’re a web designer, one easy and effective way to get links back to your website is to add a link to the footer of each of your client sites. You can vary the link anchors with URL based anchors, branded anchors and target keyword related anchors. However, be very careful with your anchor text ratios or you may end up with a Google penalty.

Joining Organizations:

Many cities have various clubs or organizations you can join. Often times when you join them, you can easily get a link back to your website. Many of these clubs and organizations can be BNI Groups, Chamber of Commerces, Board of Trades, Business Mastermind Groups and more. The only downside is that you may be required to pay an upfront fee to become one of their members.

Content Length Is Key

A study done three years ago by serpIQ found a relationship between content length and search engine rankings. The study found that many of the sites in the top three rankings for various keywords would have as much as 2500 words.

Creating a long high quality article is not necessarily that easy. However, one technique to help you with content creation is to target more keywords on fewer pages. For example, if you’re trying to target 5 keywords, it’s better to have 1×2500 word page that targets 5 keywords as opposed to 5×500 word pages that targets each keyword individually.

Configuration of the .htaccess file

User Friendly URL Structure:

If your building a website on a content management system, odds are that the default URL structure will be something nasty like This is not search engine friendly. Search engines love when the URL itself describes what the page is about. A better website URL which would work in that case would be

Clean URL structure

Without properly configuring your .htaccess file, odds are that you’ll end up with a website that loads both the www. version and the non-www. version. Without a proper sub-domain redirect setup, you’ll end up with two variations of the same page indexed in Google. As a result, Google will find it difficult to determine which version to prioritize in the search results. To setup your .htaccess file correctly, add one of the following segments of code to your .htaccess file.

Redirect to .www version

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example-website\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^.*/index
RewriteRule ^(.*)index$$1 [R=301,L]

Redirect to non .www version:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example-website\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^.*/index
RewriteRule ^(.*)index$$1 [R=301,L]
Position Keywords Correctly

When it comes to on-page SEO, the most effective places to have your keywords are between the title tags, header tags and in the URL structure. However, because these are the most powerful places for your keywords, it’s also a good idea to weave in a variety of longtail keywords as well. If your website’s page is on “Web Design Tricks” some examples of potential titles, headers and URL structures that can be used are below:

  • Title Tags: The Best Web Design Tricks of 2015.
  • Header Tags: Some of Top Web Design Tricks This Year.
  • URL Structure:

This way, you’re able to target keywords such as.

  • Web Design Tricks
  • Best Web Design Tricks
  • Web Design Tricks of 2015
  • Best Web Design Tricks of 2015
  • Top Web Design Tricks

You also want to have your keyword, along with many long tail variations located within your content. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want your target keyword to appear more than once for every 500 words. If you need to mention it more than once, use synonyms or other long tail variations of your primary keyword. If you’re keywords appear to frequently and unnaturally in your content, it will make your website appear spammy to search engines.

Silo Your Website

Website siloing is so important and by simply changing your site’s structure, you can potentially see big improvements in your site’s organic traffic.

Site structure breakdown

Website siloing is the process of organizing your website into categories and sub-categories. This type of website structure is very prominent on major websites such as BBC News. On their home page, they have links to a broad list of categories such as News, Sports, Weather, etc. However, when you click on of those categories, such as sports for example, you’ll find a new sub-menu pointing pages such as their Football, Formula 1, Rugby page. It’s almost like having a website within a website and search engines love this.

With this type of structure, it helps search engines better understand what the website is about and understand the relationship between various pages. Not to mention, it also increases the websites overall user-experience so website users will also have a much easier time finding necessary information.

Optimize Your Site’s Speed

The truth is that no one likes visiting a website that takes long to load and neither does Google. If you’re website takes too long to load, search engines will rank your site lower because they understand that is not what the search user wants.

The average load time for most sites is about 5-6 seconds so this is the target range you will want to be in with your website. You can get a good idea of your website’s load time by checking out this tool by Pingdom.

Host Sites Locally:

If you have a website that’s targeting an audience in China, it’s probably not a good idea to host that website on an American server. Hosting sites will help increase the user experience for your target audience by providing them with faster load times. Another interesting fact is that BuiltVisible did a study on the effects an IP had on localized rankings. They found that having an IP address based in the ranking country does increase a website’s visibility in the local search results.

Caching Plugins:

There are a wide range of caching plugins to choose from such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. These plugins reduce the amount of time required for a webpage to load by saving HTML versions of web pages on the server’s ram for fast deliverability.

Compress Images:

Large images can have a major effect on a sites load time. It’s a good idea to compress images as much as possible.

Using a Content Delivery Network:

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) such as CloudFlare are a free and easy way to accelerate your website. By using a CDN, your website’s traffic is routed through a global network of servers which allows your website users to get faster load time regardless of their location. They’re also great for blocking bad bots which may attempt to visit your website and consume server resources.

Create a blog

Search engines love content. As stated above, websites that rank among the top in Google tend to have almost 2500 words of content. By creating a blog, you open the doors to a hub where you can informally write about anything you desire.

A blog also has a number of great benefits besides blogging. A blog makes it much easier to do outreach with other influencers in the industry. A blog can be used to showcase your expertise on a topic and promote your personal brand.

Also, a blog makes it quite easy to create link bait on your website. ¬If you’re doing outreach, it’s not always easy to get a relevant link pointing to your website’s home page. However, if you create a blog, you can easily create relevant information which can be linked to from another website. Not to mention, gaining a lot of links to your website’s internal links also helps to build your site’s overall domain authority.

Leverage Social Media

Today, social media is becoming a much more important factor when it comes to ranking websites in search engines. In fact, Search Metrics has found that there’s an increasing importance for social signals when it comes to SEO. To take advantage of this, it’s a good idea to setup social media profiles for your websites and share relevant content from your website on these profiles.

Use internal linking

Building links to pages on your site from other pages is the easiest way to obtain links. Internal links are great for SEO and you should take advantage of them. Create a contextual and descriptive links within your site’s content to other relevant pages on your website.

Optimize Images

Image optimization not only helps your website rank better in the search results but also helps search engines have a better understanding of content on the web page. Search engines, such as Google, have gotten smarter and it’s quite apparent if you play around with their image search feature.

Some tips for optimizing images are as follows:

  • Create a short description of what the image is in the title and alt tags. Create a description that tells Google what the image use.
  • Use descriptive image names. If you have a picture of a red car that has the name “4859f9.jpg,” rename it to “red-car.jpg” instead.

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  1. Super article, covers all the essentials!!

  2. Great stuff!Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

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