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How to design a Wix Studio website with SEO in mind

an image of author Crystal Carter, with search-related iconography, including line charts, a gear icon, and a menu

When web design principles align with SEO, it’s a win for users, for Google, and for your brand.


In this blog post, I’ll discuss how you can add SEO into your design workflow to achieve better organic reach for your clients. Part of the Wix Studio Academy sessions for Wix website creators, this beginners guide will teach you how to use SEO competitor analysis to inform design decisions and engrain keywords into your process to launch sites with SEO in mind.


Table of contents:


This blog post is an accompaniment to our webinar “Designing with SEO in mind”—Click here to download the webinar slides.

Do web designers need to know SEO?


It helps the long-term search viability of a website if the design team understands SEO. As a web designer, you may not need to know every aspect of SEO, but an understanding of how your website is shaped by the expectations that users coming from search engines have can definitely lead to better outcomes for a website over the long run.


SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving websites to add value for users and thus rank better on search engines for organic (non-paid) search results. The purpose of SEO is to ensure that search engines (like Google) can see and understand your website and that human users want to see your website.


If you can achieve those two things, then you have a winning recipe for website (and thus, business) success. In order to get to that point, SEO should be considered throughout website development, content creation, and website management processes.



Just as the design language, color palette, and UX help to deliver a good brand experience for your website visitors, SEO best practices influence the value people get from your website and, therefore, how highly Google ranks it.


SEO terms that designers should know

When working on SEO projects or alongside SEO experts, here are a few common terms that you may run into. These terms refer to how search engines work as well as opportunities for better SEO both on-page and on the SERP.


For Google, crawling, indexing, and ranking are top priorities.


  • Crawling: What happens when Google visits your website and reads the content there.

  • Indexing: Which pages are (or aren’t) showing on Google.

  • Ranking: Where and how prominently Google shows content from your site.


For people and Google, elements that make your content more discoverable are key.


  • The SERP (Search Engine Results Page): What shows on Google after you search a term, before you click through to a result. The SERP’s appearance and features can vary depending on the search query (e.g., a map for local queries or a video carousel for “how-to” content).

  • Keywords: The focus topic for each web page and the most likely words users will enter into Google to find the page or information they are looking for.

  • On-page SEO: Opportunities to add keywords, structure, calls-to-action, and unique information for users. This term refers specifically to the search optimizations you can implement on a given page.

  • Internal links: These links help users (and Google) move from one page on your site to another. They also help indicate which pages are most important on your website.

  • Backlinks: Links from external sites that point to your content. These show Google that people value your site and help Google discover your work.

  • Rich Results: Special features on Google search results that are generated via structured data. In many cases, Wix automatically adds this code to your pages.


You can download this glossary as an easy-to-reference PDF below:

Wix SEO Design Glossary
.pdf
Download PDF • 59KB

How to create a Wix Studio website with SEO in mind


Achieving user satisfaction is one of the top goals for both web designers and SEOs, and it hinges on understanding your audience and their intent.


The audience insights that you can tap into with SEO tools and tactics can help you identify what’s most important to your potential website visitors. Before you launch your site, keyword and competitor research can uncover new opportunities for content and page types. As you go live, monitoring your indexing (in tools like Google Search Console) can help you confirm that your site is easy to navigate. And after launch, your site’s SEO performance can tell you what worked well and what didn’t, providing you with a roadmap for continuous improvement.


Keeping SEO in mind as you design ensures that your build is tuned to all of the ways that users interact with your content.


Carry out competitor research to understand user expectations

Your website is one of billions on the web. When users search for and visit your page, they know there are many other pages like it.


Businesses often vie for the same keywords, the same audience, and the same pool of organic search visibility. These competitors sometimes even sell the exact same product. This competition is even more intense on the search results page, as Google only shows a limited number of top organic results per query.


Fortunately, as a web designer who understands your SEO competitors and the user journey, you are well positioned to create a website that exceeds user expectations. For those with a design background, it’s worth approaching this in a similar manner to how you might create a visual mood board. In both cases, the aim is to get a sense of how you can effectively connect with your audience by taking inspiration from how others are connecting with their respective audiences.


An example of a mood board, showing 7 images in a collage pattern, with a visual theme of patterns and waves. There are also 4 shades of colors as a color swatch.
An example of a visual mood board. Source: Canva.

For a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis, you may want to engage a specialist SEO agency; but even in those conversations, it helps to have an idea of a process that resonates with your needs. In my experience with designers can get useful SEO competitor insights by following these five steps:


01. Carry out 3–5 searches to complete a user goal related to your website This replicates the user discovery journey and helps you to understand how Google manages keyword intent for your page’s topic. For instance, if Google shows local maps and business profiles, there is clearly an intent to visit a physical location. This means that web design that prioritizes contact details and location will perform better on search.

02. Take note of SERP features for relevant keywords — Google generates search features (like rich results, featured snippets, etc.) from content on the website. Review the SERP to see what draws you into a website. For instance, if there are lots of images then consider including more images in your design to optimize for this feature.

03. Identify competitors —A brand’s assumed competitors may be different from their SEO competitors. Search your brand and/or your core offerings to see who is winning on Google for those terms.


The “People also search for” section of the search results for the term “best buy” showing walmart, target, gamestop, and micro center.
Google often shows competitors at the bottom of knowledge panels when you search for a given business.

Google often recommends competitor brands alongside your own brand on the SERP, so take a look at them, too.


04. Review 3–5 top-ranking competitor websites Pages that rank well are those that deliver customer value. So, try to identify the value each page gives for that query. Look for common tactics like CTAs and videos. Consider what design elements make you feel like you can trust the website.

05. Review best-in-class competitors — Large sites like Amazon.com get millions of visits per day, so it’s likely that your customer has visited their site as well. Whether it’s how they handle checkout or how they integrate reviews, think about how you can include some of these elements in your site experience to be more competitive.


A Google Slide titled “how to analyze your audience and competitors,” what a list of what to do (detailed in-text above) and what to ask, including “Does the search result have clear intent? Are brands like mine being shown here? Are you familiar with these competitors? Can you incorporate any of these elements for your website?”

Use keyword research to identify web design priorities

At its core, keyword research is audience research. The terms that people use to find information and complete tasks online reflect what they need and value.


From the perspective of web design, this means that keyword research can help you understand what is a priority for your website visitors.


For instance, for the query in the image below for the head term keyword, yoga classes, we see Google’s predictive search offering additional keyword recommendations, based on actual user searches. The terms fall into themes around:


  • Where the classes take place

  • Who the classes are for

  • The type of class

  • Etc.


To reflect this in web design, elements like maps, clear audience segmentation, and even imagery can be designed to best serve this audience, therefore increasing your opportunities to rank.


Google search suggestions for “yoga classes,” with suggestions including “near me,” “near me for beginners,” “online,” “for seniors,” etc.
Google’s search suggestions provide a clue as to what Google expects to see on a website about this topic.

While there are a number of methods for carrying out granular keyword research, we can see some of the page and section topics that Google expects to see on a website designed for this content reflected in its search suggestions.


To carry out some initial, top-level keyword research to guide your web design decisions, consider the following:


  • Where do keywords segment into groups? High-traffic “head” term keywords segment quickly in research tools. Which segments do you see? Should your website serve these groups?

  • Which themes do you see in your keywords? This research can show audience needs and concerns. Recurring questions, for example, can inform site navigation and what should show above the fold.

  • Which on-site elements bring the page’s keyword to life? In addition to including keywords in URLs, meta descriptions, title tags, H1s, and anchor text for links, are there media, page elements, or types that add value to the topic?


You can use general keyword research tools in tandem with Wix and Wix Studio’s built-in tools to carry out your keyword research. Recommended free tools include:



You download this list as a PDF below:

Free SEO Tools (Wix)
.pdf
Download PDF • 35KB

During a web build, keywords insights can help your content, UI, and design to meet users expectations.


Use Wix SEO features to optimize as you build

Every premium Wix and Wix Studio website includes access to a full suite SEO tools, integrations, and functionality built into Wix by Wix.



So, every premium site on Wix has a technical SEO configuration that includes:


  • Server-side rendering (SSR)

  • Server-side caching

  • Global CDN infrastructure

  • Valid SSL certificate

  • Dynamic XML sitemaps

  • Automated redirects

  • Bulk redirects


And in addition to that, Wix automatically adds structured data for page types like Blogs, Events, Stores, Forums and apps like Wix Video, enabling you to earn rich results without manually adding the structured data markup yourself.


This means that—as a web developer building in Wix Studio—you can use the platform to optimize parts of your website by adding features and page types that have been enhanced to perform on search.


A Google Slide showing a table organizing built in SEO features for different Wix page types, including Blog, Events, Video, Stores, and Business Info.

Which Wix SEO features can best serve web designers?

Here are some of the Wix tools that can guide and support you and your client to make informed decisions as you build your website:


  • Wix SEO Setup Checklist — Use the Wix SEO Setup Checklist to perform keyword research for your site. Optimize your homepage for instant indexing via Google Search Console. And, prepare your site for ongoing optimizations with resources like the Wix Site Inspection tool.

  • SEO Assistant Use the Wix SEO Assistant to set a focus keyword for your blog posts, follow the optimization tasks, and fix issues on the spot.

  • Create AI text - Use AI Text Creator to add keyword-focused copy to your static pages, which you can use as anchor text in your internal links, ultimately increasing crawlability.


Remember, SEO happens over the long-term


SEO is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” activity. New competitors emerge, your audience expectations may change and it is important to be aware of that process. When you launch with Wix and Wix Studio, our SEO tools can help guide the way but it will be up to brand teams to deliver SEO brilliance.


 

Crystal Carter

Crystal is an SEO & digital marketing professional with over 15 years of experience. Her global business clients have included Disney, McDonalds, and Tomy. An avid SEO communicator, her work has been featured at Google Search Central, Brighton SEO, Moz, DeepCrawl, Semrush, and more. Twitter | Linkedin

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