How to Develop an SEO-Friendly Site?

February 20, 2019 Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Search engine optimization is a long-term process of getting your website indexed for targeted keywords and improving its positions on the search engine results page. When we say long-term, it means the sooner you start working on your SEO, the better – ideally, you should start thinking about your SEO as soon as you decide to create a website.

What is an SEO-friendly site?

An SEO-friendly site is a website that search engines can crawl efficiently, index all its content, and display relevant pages for targeted search queries. SEO-friendly websites rank high on the search engine results page and get a lot of free organic traffic, i.e., potential customers.

Web designers and developers are not necessarily SEO experts, and they might not know enough about SEO-friendly site architecture, the optimization of images and texts, and other vital details. So keep reading to learn what you need to make your website SEO-friendly from day one.

Basic Recommendations


Choose a content management system (CMS) with specifics of your business in mind. Some of the most popular site builders include WordPress and Joomla, but there are many more to check out.

Pick a suitable template that will fit your homepage and the other pages equally well.

Mobile Optimization

An SEO-friendly mobile site is a site that works great on different devices and screen sizes, providing excellent user experience for all visitors. Use special tools to make your website mobile-friendly as soon as you choose the approach (responsive design vs. adaptive design).


If your website is supposed to collect and process personal data (anything from email addresses to credit card details), it must work on the secure HTTPS protocol to protect that data from web threats.

HTTPS protocol lock icon

Load Speed

Your website load speed needs to be in the green area of a special Google’s service, on both mobile and desktop versions. Load speed is one of the key ranking factors.

Google PageSpeed Insights tool

A screenshot of Google Page Speed Insights tool

Homepage Building

  • Build your H1 heading on the homepage thoroughly — it should include the most competitive keywords.
  • The only appropriate URL structure for your homepage is We do not recommend using any other URL structures (,,

Website Architecture

Your website should have a clear hierarchical structure (names of the sections should match their content, making it easy for users to see the hierarchy in each URL).

The most important pages with the highest value should be under three clicks away from the homepage.

URL Structure

It’s essential to make your website links clean and consistent to help search engines crawl your website fast and understand its content well. To achieve that, take care of the following:

  • Make sure only one version of the web site is available – either with www or without www. If you’ve got both versions, set up redirection using HTTP 301.
  • You must not mix www-URLs and those without www in the internal website cross-links.
  • All URLs must work either with “/” at the end or without it. If HTTP 301 redirection is set up incorrectly, both versions of the URLs may be available – that’s not good for your website SEO.
  • There shouldn’t be more than one URL for a web page on your site.
  • Sections and web pages must have a clear URL that people can understand (1-3 words that describe the content on the page.) Avoid prepositions, articles, conjunctions, and other linking words in English or other languages.

404 Errors

Optimizing 404 error pages is also an important part of SEO. Core website pages must not be linked to empty sections.

For example, if has some content, then must not have an error 404 page: this URL should lead to a page that is linked with

Make your error 404 pages informative — there should be links to the homepage and an HTML Sitemap. Non-existent pages must always respond with the 404 HTTP code rather than redirect users to your homepage.

A screenshot from 404 page

A screenshot from 404 page

Such pages should have this <title>: «Error 404, page not found». If you use a creative error 404 page, make it no-index via robots.txt. This page must return the 404-server code.

Website Navigation

  • Do not add links as Java or AJAX scripts. Navigation must be textual.
  • To make navigating your website more intuitive, use navigation chains — breadcrumbs. Their structure has to be streamlined and consistent.

Vertical site structure should be represented by:

  • links from your homepage to category pages;
  • links from category pages to subcategories/product pages.

Horizontal site structure should be represented by:

  • category pages that are linked to corresponding category pages;
  • product pages that linked to related product pages.

HTML and XML Sitemaps

Basic search engine optimization cannot do without HTML and XML sitemaps. An XML sitemap must include all the active URLs of your website. The sitemap should have the URL like

Website Texts

  • Your website text should be easy to read, formatted, and it should not contain spelling errors.
  • If possible, use bullet point lists and divide your copy into paragraphs to simplify perception. Highlight important parts of your copy by adding graphics, and not just through HTML.
  • Don’t stuff your copy with keywords too much.
  • All website pages must have unique texts.
  • Your webpage text must contain only one H1 heading with keywords. It has to be above all the other headings. You can add from 2 to 6 H2 headings with keywords as well. Though it may be tempting, don’t format all the page texts as a heading.

Wikipedia request

An image screenshot from Wikipedia for the request «Website»


For best results, you need to:

  • Think about alt-tags for your images when building the website design as they should include keywords for this specific page. We do not recommend making alt-tags longer than seven words.
  • Use unique images that have a license for reuse and modification.
  • Stick to popular image file formats (JPEG, GIF, PNG и BMP).

Meta tags

  • You should be able to edit meta tags on each page of your site.
  • All meta tags on your site must be unique.
  • The <title> tag must be relevant to the page content and include core keywords. It shouldn’t be longer than 70 characters.
  • The <description> meta tag is a short and unique description of every page (including keywords). It should consist of 2-3 sentences up 140 characters long in total.
  • Finally, meta tags on every page should include a branded keyword (“your brand name”).

Wondering how to check if your site is SEO-friendly and how to increase its presence on Google or other search engines? Use some of the best SEO tools listed in our article named SEO Tools for Website Promotion.

How to Develop an SEO-Friendly Site?
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