Whether you're a business owner, marketing manager or SEO specialist, it's important to understand how wireframes for a new website can impact its success and profitability. Below, we'll breakdown how to use wireframes for both users and SEO.
Let's start with the basics.
What are Wireframes?
Wireframes are used to map the navigable structure and design layout of a website. In many cases, both desktop and mobile experiences are planned through wireframing as well.
Primarily used by web designers and developers, wireframes are essentially a static black-and-white 2D mapping of how a website will be designed and structured.
The primary reason behind creating wireframes in black and white is to eliminate things like flashy colors, compelling imagery, marketable content and eye-catching fonts. This may seem strange, however simplifying the initial wireframe can more clearly help you identify and call-out what elements of the page are most important to the site's success.
While colors, fonts, content, etc. play a part in a site's success, these "bells and whistles" should not be relied on when mapping out the essentials of the user's experience on your site.
By eliminating these features, you are able to more accurately map out what's most critical without relying on the more flashy elements. The end-goal is to create a wireframe that clearly illustrates what users should do and how they should navigate the site.
Imagine your entire website was just black and white with only filler text and no fancy fonts, would the user identify what's most important and how to interact? If not, you may consider creating a new or updated wireframe to better influence the user's behavior and end-result or action taken.
What Does SEO Have to do with Wireframes?
The answer to this stands on a more abstract, indirect platform. You are not inputting SEO elements directly into the actual wire frame; rather you are using it as a strategy-planning tool.
Since web developers typically focus solely on functionality and web designers typically focus solely on aesthetics, it is ultimately up to the SEO specialist to ensure wireframe elements help achieve the end-goal: purchases or qualified lead generation. It is up to the SEO specialist to make sure design and development enhance their SEO strategy, not hinder it.
As Part of Wireframing for SEO:
- Map out an SEO-driven linking strategy from the trunk of the tree (homepage) to its respective branches (sub-pages)
- Balance the link-to-content ratio within each page of the site
- Include headline and sub-headline opportunities
- Make sure there is a balance of navigation or design-relevant imagery that is captivating, relevant and well-placed
- Content blocks should not be solely image-based; and you should be able to edit and optimize the content
- Site navigation should be user-friendly, intuitive, and align with user behavior goals
- Design elements should attract and intuitively illustrate what the user should do (e.g. motivators like calls-to-action, headlines and links should be eye catching, whether by color, font, imagery or a combination)
For the SEO specialist, wireframes are an opportunity to scientifically map your strategy, ensuring goals are identified and adhered to from the very beginning of design/development through ongoing SEO maintenance. Doing so will set your site up for long-term success.