SEO for Web Designers: 13 Steps to Build Your SEO-Friendly Website

by Outranking
Updated On: August 17, 2023
SEO for Web Designers: 13 Steps to Build Your SEO-Friendly Website

The competition is fierce in today’s web design industry. Not only are designers faced with the struggle of competing with one another, but also with AI designing tools. Though your work may stand out among the rest, you may be missing out on potential clients if your website isn’t ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). With a little bit of SEO effort in your content strategy, you can truly become the best in your field.

On your SEO journey, we’re here to provide some of the SEO best practices and tactics for you on this journey to becoming a successful website designer.

Why is SEO Important for Web Designers?

As a web designer in the highly competitive and saturated tech industry, it’s necessary to attract and retain clients. With the evolution of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) has emerged as a crucial strategy for improving online visibility and increasing organic traffic to your website. 

SEO involves optimizing your website and online content to rank higher in SERPs when relevant keywords are searched. SEO can make a huge difference for your design business through:

  1. Improved Online Visibility
  2. Increased Organic Traffic
  3. Higher Conversion Rates
  4. Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy
  5. Competitive Advantage

How to Implement SEO for Your Web Design Website

Step 1: Define the Core Services of Your Web Design Business

The first step to implementing better SEO for your web design company is to understand your core areas of the web design business. This involves identifying key areas that connect with your company’s core offerings. By doing so, you can structure its website in a simple format before building it out. This is especially helpful in improving the website navigation.

To break down your company’s site architecture, first, identify your main services. For example, you may offer services like web design, web development, SEO, content creation, and social media marketing. These services can be further broken down into sub-areas that relate to each service.

Try this:

Core Service AreasExtended List of Sub Areas
Web Design1. Responsive design
2. User experience design
3. E-commerce design
4. Landing page design
5. Website redesign
Web Development1. Front-end development
2. Back-end development
3. CMS integration
4. API integration
5. Custom web development
SEO1. Keyword research
2. On-page optimization
3. Off-page optimization
4. Local SEO
5. Technical SEO
Content Creation1. Blog writing
2. Copywriting
3. Video production
4. Infographic design
5. Content strategy
Social Media Marketing1. Social media management
2. Social media advertising
3. Influencer marketing
4. Social media analytics
5. Social media strategy

Once you’ve broken down the company’s services into core areas and subareas, you’ll be left with a clear outline of your core offerings and how to best optimize your website to attract the attention of search engines. This makes it easier to jump into the next step: keyword research.

Infograph listing possible core services and their corresponding subareas for a web designer's website.
What services make your web design company unique?

Step 2: Conduct A Thorough Keyword Research

This is an important step, so here are three recommendations to keep you on track:

  1. Gather a list of keywords in each core area of your website.
  1. If you have multiple core or sub-areas of focus, repeat this step.
  1. Exclude irrelevant or outdated keywords – only focus on analyzing the most important ones.

To make this step as simple as possible, you can use a tool like Semrush or Outranking.

Method 1: Semrush

  1. Go to Semrush and enter a core service area keyword like “Web Designer” or “Website Creator” and click on Keyword Magic Tool.
Screenshot of keyword results for "web designer" on Semrush.
Keywords like “web design services” may be a good place to start.

2. Select the relevant filters to exclude irrelevant or outdated keywords.

List of keyword filters for "web designer".
Focus on keywords that actually represent what you have to offer as a web designer.

3. Export the CSV file with the desired data to analyze every keyword in the file and build a content strategy.

List of web design service subareas and their corresponding keywords.
You should have a list like this.

4. Repeat the process for each sub-group in a core service area to gather all the necessary keywords.

Method 2: Outranking

  1. Go to Outranking and select Keyword Generator.
  1. Enter a core service area keyword like “Web Designer” or ” Website Creator”.
  1. Outranking will automatically take you to the next step of keyword refinement and cluster analysis.
  1. Review and analyze the generated keywords to build a content strategy.
  1. Repeat the process for each sub-group in a core service area to gather all the necessary keywords.

Once you’ve identified the keywords for each sub-group, you’re on to keyword analysis. This involves analyzing the search volume, competition, and relevance of each keyword to determine which ones will be most effective for your content strategy.

Step 3: Cluster Keywords and Determine Your Topics

Next up: keyword clustering. This process entails grouping similar keywords into clusters based on their semantic terms and similar intent group to refine your keyword list and identify the most beneficial keywords for a website’s SEO content strategy

For example, your keyword list may include keywords such as “web design”, “responsive design”, “e-commerce website”, “website development”, and “website redesign”. By using keyword clustering, these keywords can be grouped into clusters such as “web design services”, “responsive website design”, “e-commerce website development”, and “website redesign services”.

Grouped web design keywords.
See how these keywords are related?

To pick the primary keyword for each group, consider various factors including your ability to create better content than competing web pages, how many backlinks your competitors have, the knowledge gap or underserved area in the intent, your topical authority, and common SERP competitors. You can label keywords based on their difficulty for success and analyze competitors’ coverage in a topic to capitalize on opportunities to easily build topical authority.

Using a tool like Outranking for keyword clustering can simplify the process and save time. 

Step 4: Create a Content Calendar

To prioritize keywords for creating and optimizing content for a web design website, you can follow these steps:

  1. Create a list of primary keywords and groups related to your business and industry.
  1. Open up each group and pick the primary keyword.
  1. Add all those topics to your content planner.
  1. Click on the planner to see the entire list of topics you’ll be using to create your content calendar.
  1. Prioritize your keywords based on their importance and relevance to your business needs.

Outranking can help with prioritization by providing a priority-setting feature that allows you to set priorities for your keywords from high to low. The three priorities that Outranking suggests are High, Medium, and Low:

PriorityKeywords ContainingWhy
HighWeb Design, Website Creation, and Website DesignDefines you as a thought leader and supports your important pages for the flow of information, but doesn’t have the same impact as high and medium priority
MediumBest Web Design, Top Website Creation, and Website Design ServicesPlaces your product or service among many competitors in the web design niche
LowHow-to Guides for Web Design, Educational Resources for Website CreationDefines you as a thought leader and support your important pages for the flow of information, but doesn’t have the same impact as high and medium priority

Prioritizing your keywords can help you focus on creating relevant content for your web design services, and with a complete list of prioritized keywords, you can plan a year’s worth of content with ease.

Step 5: Create A Content Production Process

Establish your process early on. Here are two expert tips to ensure you note down a thorough content creation and optimization process:

Screenshot of Outranking's SEO Brief details.
To ensure your content’s success, outline as much as possible.

1. Create Detailed Content Briefs

An SEO content brief is a document that outlines the goals, target audience, and key messaging for a particular piece of content. It can ensure that everyone involved in the content creation process is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Make sure to include details such as the target keyword, word count, tone, and any specific formatting requirements.

2. Develop a workflow for tasks

A workflow is a series of steps that need to be completed in order to produce a piece of content. It helps ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it. Make sure to include who’s responsible for each task, any dependencies, and any tools or resources needed to complete the task.

You can keep track of every document with a customized workflow and see what stage your documents are in at a glance using Outranking’s Kanban view. You can also easily access any of your documents in no time at all using Outranking’s document view. Additionally, Outranking’s integrated tool can help you build content briefs or create content directly in your SEO content strategy.

Screenshot of a customized content workflow.
Keep track of your content every step of the way!

If you don’t have an in-house team, it may be beneficial to hire an expert agency or Outranking to help you make this plan come to fruition for your web design business. This will allow you to focus on your expertise while ensuring that your SEO strategy is executed successfully.

Step 6: Create SEO-Optimized Content for Your Web Design Website

This is the moment you’ve been working toward – creating optimized content for each service page and blog post to cater to your target audience. Here,  you can increase the likelihood of ranking higher on SERPs, attracting more organic traffic to your website, and ultimately generating more leads and sales.

Screenshot of an SEO report for the article titled "SEO for Web Designers".
You want to make your content as SEO-friendly as possible.

Outranking’s SEO content optimization and AI-assisted writing platform can help busy web designers with limited time to write and optimize these pages to ensure the highest possible organic exposure. With features such as real-time on-page SEO scoring and on-page SEO optimization benchmarks, title tags, meta description optimization, outlines, and so much more, Outranking makes it easy to create content that ranks each and every time. 

Hiring an agency, consultant, or freelancer is also a great option for those who are unsure how to optimize your content for search engines.

You can learn more about Outranking’s features from the following video:

Step 7: Optimize Your Website’s Internal Linking

Optimizing existing pages with better internal linking can help improve the overall traffic of a website. By analyzing the pages on your website that rank between 1 and 10, specifically those in the top 4-14 positions, you can identify pages with some authority that can lend their ranking power to other pages on your website. By adding internal links from these pages to other pages on your website, you can borrow their authority and transfer some over to the page you want to rank for more keywords.

For a web design business website, it’s best to optimize pages that rank for keywords related to web design, such as “web design services”, “custom web design”, or “responsive web design”. These pages are likely to attract potential customers interested in web design services and are more likely to convert into paying customers.

Outranking can connect to Google Search Console and identify pages that are already ranking for keywords related to web design. By analyzing the positions of existing pages, Outranking can suggest internal linking opportunities to enhance the website’s performance. This can help web design businesses identify pages that have some authority and can lend their ranking power to other pages on the website. By optimizing internal links, web design businesses can improve your website’s ranking and attract more potential customers.

Step 8: Get Backlinks And Local Citations To Build a Reputation

Acquiring local citations and backlinks is needed for the local SEO of a web design business website. Local citations are mentions of your company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, and help search engines verify the existence and legitimacy of your business. They also help people discover your services online. Backlinks, on the other hand, are links from other websites to your website. They signal to search engines that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.

Screenshot of a web design company's Yelp profile in Toronto, Canada.
Establishing your web design company on sites like Yelp can help build trust and credibility with potential clients.

Acquiring local citations can help with local SEO for website creators in several ways. First, citations from relevant and trusted sources can help a business rank higher for local search queries. According to a survey by Moz, citations are the fifth most important ranking signal for local queries. Second, citations from business directories and other databases can help people discover a business online. Business directories often dominate search results for local queries, so these citations are necessary for searchers to find your business.

There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured. Structured citations list a business’s NAP information in a structured format, while unstructured citations are contextual mentions of a business.

Follow these four steps to build citations for your web design website:

  1. List with the ‘big three’ data aggregators: Acxiom, Data Axle, and Localeze. These data aggregators distribute business data to hundreds of other websites, so establishing yourself with them is vital.
  1. Submit to other core sites: Present your NAP information to other core sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp.
  1. Submit to popular industry and local sites: Register your company’s NAP information with popular industry and local sites like the Chamber of Commerce, MerchantCircle, and Yellow Pages.
  1. Pursue unstructured citations: Reach out to your local network for mentions in blog posts, forum posts, and press mentions.

Here’s a table with a list of data aggregators and websites you should receive citations:

Data AggregatorWebsites to Get Citations From
AcxiomAwwwards, CitySearch, and YellowBook
InfogroupSuperpages,, and AmericanTowns
LocalezeWebDesigner Depot, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local
Screenshot of a web design company's Yellow Pages profile.
Provide as much information as possible about your web design services.

Pursuing these citations from relevant and trusted websites, your web design business can improve local search rankings and attract more customers.

Step 9: Optimize Page Speed and Website Experience

For clients perusing your website, the details matter. Google has determined that Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor in search results, meaning that websites that prioritize a better user experience and faster page speed will be favored by Google. In 2023, optimizing elements like page speed and website experience is crucial for better rankings.

Lighter themes like the Web Designer theme on CodeCanyon and NitroPack-like WordPress plugins can help. 

You can learn more about designing your website for SEO using the below video:

Step 10: Track Your Website’s Rankings Using Google Search Console

As a web designer, connecting to Google Search Console is a must so you can track website ranking data to improve the organic traffic of your client’s websites. By analyzing the ranking data, you can optimize the existing content, create fresh content, and redirect underperforming pages to enhance the website’s overall SEO strategy. You should also use Google Analytics for tracking the rankings of your website and mobile apps.

To interpret the website ranking data, you can use the following table as a guide:

GoalRanking DataAction
Optimize internal linkingYour web pages with keywords in the top 4-14 positionsImprove internal linking structure to boost PageRank
Find new opportunities to build topical authorityYour web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with the user’s search intentCreate fresh content based on new ideas and areas
Find underperforming pagesYour web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with the user’s search intentImprove or redirect underperforming pages

By taking these actions, you can enhance the SEO content strategies of your client’s websites, leading to increased organic traffic and better search engine rankings.

Step 11: Leverage Google Business Profile For Stronger Digital Presence

Google Business is a service that allows web designers to provide more information about your business when it appears in search results, including photos, videos, business hours, and links to reservation services.

To optimize your Google Business listing for local search, do the following:

  1. Claim and verify your business listing with accurate information, including business name, address, and phone number.
  1. Add high-quality photos and videos of the business, including your logo and cover photo.
  1. Write a compelling business description with relevant keywords and categories.
  1. Encourage customers to leave reviews, and respond to all reviews promptly.
  1. Use Google Posts to share updates, promotions, and events.
  1. Monitor the listing regularly for accuracy and make updates as needed.

For example, if you specialize in creating websites for small businesses, you can use Google  Business to showcase your portfolio, including photos and videos of previous projects. You can also use Google Posts to promote your services and share helpful tips for small business owners. By encouraging satisfied clients to leave reviews on the listing, you can further build a strong reputation and attract new clients.

Screenshot of Google search results for "website designer in Boston".
Setting up your Google My Business account can help establish you as an expert web designer in your area.

While these steps can help improve a Google My Business listing, remember that hiring a professional agency can ensure that everything is done correctly and effectively. 

Step 13: Focus on the Ultimate Goal: Leads and Conversions

Organic traffic can be a cost-effective way to attract potential clients to your website. An example of a short-tailed keyword that brings lots of unrelated traffic is “designer” which can attract people searching for various types of designers, not just web designers On the other hand, a more specific keyword like “web development in Boston” may only bring in a few searches, but those searches are much more targeted and likely to convert into leads. 

At the end of the day, that’s your main goal: to convert potential clients into active clients. A website with high traffic but low conversion rates is not as effective as a website with lower traffic but higher conversion rates. This is all about attracting paying customers that are interested in what you have to offer.

How to Evaluate an Agency to Help With the SEO of Your Web Design Business

If you have too much work on your plate, we understand! It may be wise to hire an SEO expert to take the reins. It’s important to know what to look for so you can make the most informed decision for your web design business.

Expertise, Reviews, and Results

When selecting an agency to help with SEO for your web design business’s website, evaluate their expertise, reviews, and results. Here are some tips for evaluating an SEO agency:

  1. Look for an agency with SEO experience in the tech industry: Choose an agency that has at least 5 to 10 years of experience in the industry, preferably working with websites in your niche. This will ensure that they have a better understanding of the competitive landscape and can deliver superior SEO results.
  1. Check their reviews and testimonials: Look for reviews and testimonials from other businesses in your industry. This will give you an idea of the agency’s track record and the results they’ve achieved for other clients.
  1. Evaluate their process: A good SEO agency will employ a proven process and customized approach. Ask them about their process and how they will tailor it to your business’s unique competitive position. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be swayed by flashy promises or cookie-cutter strategies. How can they showcase your unique services? How can they overcome specific challenges that may hinder your SEO success? 

By evaluating an SEO agency’s expertise, reviews, and results, you can ensure that you choose the right agency to help with SEO for your web design business’s website. Choose an agency that has a track record of success and can tailor their approach to your business’s unique needs.

SEO Services Offered

When evaluating an agency to help with SEO for your web design company’s website, these tips can help you make the right choice:

  1. Look for a proven process and customized approach: A good SEO agency should have a standard process for performing website audits and optimization, but they should also tailor their approach to your business’s unique competitive position. Ask the agency about their process and how they will customize their strategy for your website.
  1. Seek out creativity and innovation: The best SEO agencies are highly creative and innovative. Ask the agency for examples of unique strategies they have implemented for clients in your niche. This will help you gauge their level of creativity and whether they can help your business stand out from the competition.
  1. Check for real-world SEO experience: Experience matters when it comes to SEO. Look for an agency with at least 5-10 years of real-world experience working with websites in your niche. This will give them a better understanding of the competitive landscape and allow them to be more creative and innovative in their approach.
  1. Beware of salesmen: Be wary of SEO agencies with dedicated career sales representatives. These reps may have little SEO experience and are solely focused on new business acquisition. Ask to speak directly with the SEO manager or specialist who will be working on your account to ensure you are working with someone who has the necessary expertise.
  1. Look for transparency and communication: A good SEO agency should be transparent about their strategies and communicate with you regularly about its progress. Ask the agency how they will report on their work and how often you can expect to hear from them.

By choosing an agency that meets these criteria, you can feel confident that you are making a smart investment in the future success of your website.

Contract Duration and Flexibility

When evaluating an agency to help with SEO for your web design business’s website, it’s important to consider contract durations and flexibility. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  1. Look for an agency that offers flexible contract options. You don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract if you’re not seeing results. A good agency will offer month-to-month or short-term contracts that allow you to adjust your strategy as needed.
  1. Ask about their approach to SEO. A good agency will have a proven process and customized approach tailored to your unique competitive position. Look for an agency that performs industry analysis, competitive research, strategy design, implementation, and follow-up.
  1. Look for an agency with real-world SEO experience. You want to work with an agency that has a minimum of 5 to 10 years of experience working with websites in your niche. They should have a better understanding of the competitive landscape and be more creative and innovative in their approach to strategy design.
  1. Check their track record. Ask for case studies or examples of successful SEO campaigns they have run. Look for statistics such as increased traffic, higher search engine rankings, and improved conversion rates.

Here’s an example:

At our web design business, we worked with an SEO agency that offered flexible month-to-month contracts and had a proven process that included industry analysis, competitive research, strategy design, implementation, and follow-up. They had over 10 years of experience working with websites in our niche and provided case studies that showed significant increases in traffic and improved search engine rankings. This gave us the confidence to work with them on a short-term basis and adjust our strategy as needed.

In summary, when evaluating an agency for SEO, look for flexibility in contract options, a proven and customized approach, real-world experience, and a track record of success.

Have Questions? An SEO Strategist Can Help

Having a strong SEO plan is essential for any business looking to enhance its online visibility, generate leads, and increase sales. However, creating and implementing an effective SEO strategy can be a daunting task, especially for those who are not familiar with the intricacies of search engine algorithms. If you feel lost or need backup, an SEO consultant to help you with your strategy, planning, and execution.

Outranking’s SEO consultant and strategist can provide your web design business with the expertise you need to ensure that your SEO plan is solid and effective. Our team of experts can help you understand the complexities of search engine algorithms and develop a strategy that aligns with your marketing goals. We can also assist with planning and execution to ensure that everything goes smoothly and the right results are achieved.

By hiring an SEO consultant, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your SEO plan is optimized for success. Our team can provide you with the guidance and support you need to achieve your marketing goals and increase your overall ROI. 
If you’re ready to build a comprehensive SEO strategy for your web design business, contact Outranking today!