The holy grail of most website owners is search engine optimization (SEO) to attract the most number of visitor clicks to their websites all the time. Although SEO is often associated with link building and content creation rather than with website design, these are not the only elements that can improve website ranking. As a matter of fact, your website’s visitors’ first impressions come from page layout and look rather than on links or contents. Simply put, website design matters much in how your page gets to a high rank in search engine optimization.
Whether you are planning a website redesign project or building a new website, do consider your theme design and content when it comes to your SEO to improve your online presence.
The Role of Website Design in SEO
Website design is an essential step in creating a website that is intuitive for visitors, pleasing to the eyes, and accomplishes the website’s main goals. These matter in SEO because a huge part of SEO user experience is. One of Google’s website quality indicators is how visitors interact with a website, which is all about key web page design elements such as look, effect, and interface. At the same time, your website’s design establishes your website’s basic structure that relates to how Google reads the website.
If you now start including SEO elements when designing your website, you will not miss out on many opportunities to improve how well your website is optimized for search. Also, you will not be stuck with time-consuming changes just to fix SEO issues because you’ve avoided these at the onset. For best results, whatever your website design is, whether your target is about getting the most out of your file collaboration workspaces or competitive advantage in your market niche, here are some key reasons why your website design matters in SEO.
Complements Your SEO Strategy
Most website design practices and elements influence how you publish content on your site that, in turn, affects how search engine spiders crawl and index your entire website. Thus, this is one thing that you can’t afford to mess up. If the fundamentals of your on-page SEO aren’t up to snuff, you will be fighting a lopsided battle for online visibility right from the start.
Other than the content published on your website, there are website design elements that can directly affect your SEO ranking. Website design may be hard to understand if you are not familiar with how it works. Basically, it means that your code should be SEO-friendly. To do this well, you should partner with a website design agency that knows what they are doing to ensure the use of best website design practices on each of your online pages.
Boosts Your Site Traffic
Every website owner knows that attracting high online traffic is important for better conversions from clicks to payments. In this context, SEO-friendly web design can help your business gain more visitors who are your potential customers and who, in addition, can spread the word about your brand.
However, in the first place, you should know your target so that you can focus on the best website visitor traffic. As well, you must also determine the keywords to use and the kind of visuals that connect with your target audience.
Ensures Best Navigation
Good navigation provides visitors with many easy and intuitive ways to explore your website. In fact, this is what most savvy website owners want – to provide visitors a great and pleasant time.
Since first impressions matter, a slow and ugly website will turn your visitors away. They will not be forgiving and they look elsewhere. The ease of navigation experience is important not only for you or your users but also for search engines.
To ensure that your website design is SEO-friendly, you should check and test that your website is easy to navigate so visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for. At the same time, website content should engage them so that they stay on your website longer and give more clicks on your pages so that search engines crawl in and rank your pages.
This, in essence, is what helps your website to increase its search engine ranking when good navigation provides great user experiences.
Maximizes Your SEO Ranking
Google implied that responsive website design is the recommended mobile configuration. Although this is not specified as an official SEO ranking factor, the benefits of responsive website design affect your SEO efforts, particularly if most of your visitors use mobile devices for online searching.
Many have suggested how, in the future, responsive websites can get a boost in search engine ranking. While we cannot confirm if this is happening sooner or later or not at all, we do know that a strong mobile presence is vital. We also know that, by using responsive website design, you help and maximize Google resources by providing a version of your website to index.
If you are unsure whether your website is mobile-friendly or not at present, it is highly suggested that you look into responsive website design as soon as you can.
Page speed plays an essential role in determining search engine rankings. Do check if your website takes a long time to load due to extensive Flash plugins, large images, and other rich features. Long page loading time can result in losing potential customers. Redesign your webpage for faster loading and give your business the chance to grow.
If a website takes longer than four seconds to load, visitors are likely to click away. This problem proves itself in your bounce rate. Users are very impatient. They prefer websites with fast page loading time.
To reiterate: if your visitors wait more than 4 seconds for your website to load, you will lose them. Always. So, if you want to improve your website’s user experience and SEO, you have to evaluate your page load speed. If possible, optimize your website loading time to less than 3 seconds.
Reduces Bounce Rate
SEO takes website design and user experience into account. The reasoning behind this is that Google wants to give users the best search listings. However, keywords and page content are not the only indicators of a quality website.
When deciding on who takes the top spot, search engines also look at factors such as time on site and bounce rate. Basically, high bounce rates suggest that users click on your listing in SERPs, only to click and exit right after seeing your site. When your visitors do not leave your website immediately, the next Google indicator is how much time they spend on your website.
If the time spent on your website is very low and you have a high bounce rate, search engines interpret these as signals that your website is poor and not providing users what they want.
There are many reasons why your visitors decide to leave your website. No matter what their reasons are, there are other ways to boost your bounce rate. Two of these are better website design and better user experience.
With an SEO-friendly and well-designed website, you can be assured that your website will continue to increase its search engine rankings and help boost your conversion rates as a result.
Better Heading Tags
One of the crucial components of SEO is heading tags. Such tags help users a quick look at what your web page contains. So, check if you need to make your heading more appealing or more attractive. Your visitors prefer heading tags that are informative or catchy.
At the same time, search engines use heading tags as content markers. When keywords appear in heading tags, these actually provide context indicators to search engines. In other words, heading tags are not only for your targeted audiences but also for search engines.
This is a very crucial part of your website’s SEO ranking system.
Enriches Your Social Media Presence
With user-friendly and SEO-friendly web design, it is easy to achieve a dominating presence on social media websites. If you have a better social media presence, you’re actually targeting one of the biggest audiences these days: mobile users. However, it is important to remember that, while social media presence gives you no positions, it can result in lead growth.
Tips For SEO-Friendly Website Design
There are several ways to achieve website design to be SEO-friendly and, for your convenience, the best tips are summarized here.
Plan Your Website Architecture
After you have identified your website’s goals, the very first step in the website’s design project is to plan the site’s architecture by organizing the structure of your website so that it is clear how your pages will connect from to the other.
Having a clear website architecture helps you establish the hierarchy, the steps of the way your website is created. This signals both Google and visitors the most essential pages. For instance, your Homepage is at the top of your hierarchy, followed by the other main page divisions in your main menu. Last in the hierarchy would be the individual content pages.
Website architecture can also help you reduce clicks between pages. By planning how your web pages will connect to one another, you will be able to design your website in a way that your visitors can navigate from a certain page to another. The goal for every page is to have three (3) clicks or less.
Prioritize Intuitive User Navigation
The term “intuitive” means “instinctive” or “without conscious reasoning” or, in other words, with very low cognitive demand (level of difficulty). Planning your website’s architecture is a great step in intuitive design, but it is only a part of making your website intuitive for the visitors. When you are creating your website, think of what your audience would think and do on every page they browse. As a website owner, you should always aim to give them ease when navigating your website.
Prioritize Site Speed When Designing Your Website
With intuitive design, the focus is on navigation speed. Another speed factor is the website loading speed. You must consider loading speed as an important factor when designing your website. The elements that affect loading speed are the plugins and the website hosting package you use. Still, most decisions you make in the web design phase can affect how fast your website will load on the devices of your site visitors.
Quick loading time provides a better user experience. Indeed, this is one of the ranking factors that search engine algorithms consider. Thus, when designing your website, ensure fast website speed by reducing features that slow down the loading time: a large volume of unoptimized images, HD videos, and high-res animations. At the same time, you can combine images into RSS sprites, evaluate your plugins, and compress your page contents.
It is also important to remember that there are cool design elements that can bog down a website’s loading time for your users. Always think twice about anything that you include on your website and determine their effect on the loading time of each page. Remember, most visitors would abandon your page after waiting for more than three (3) seconds.
Concentrate On Indexable Content
Because they do not translate well when algorithms read websites, visual design components are one of the challenges in achieving high SEO ranking. For instance, even if animations or images communicate something important to human visitors, that information cannot be translated by engine algorithms. At this same time, this does not mean that you should not use visuals in your design. What you should do is ensure that your design elements can be indexed by search engines.
Website design includes visuals. You can never skip that because they add to user experience. However, for the parts of the website that the search engines cannot see, you would want to do your best to tell them what they are missing and take extra opportunities to include any relevant keywords.
Use Responsive Website Design
The majority of website visits come from those who browse using mobile devices. For the sake of both desktop and mobile visitors, your website design must be responsive.
A responsive website doesn’t have flash and includes clearly visible buttons for ease of selecting options on a touchscreen. Using these elements can ensure that every person in your target audience will have an enjoyable experience when visiting your website.
A website design that looks beautiful but loads slow, awkward to navigate, and difficult to use can harm your SEO efforts and lower your profits. Remember that user experience and SEO go hand-in-hand as search engines reward websites that provide users a pleasant overall experience.
While search engines cannot directly interpret how the website looks, they take cues from how the visitors behave on your website. So, make sure to keep SEO in mind from the very start of your web design process so that you get better results in the long run.