How does web design affect SEO?

SEO is the means by which search engines find and rank the relevance of your website for a particular search term. Contrary to popular belief It’s about much more than just keywords and content. As well as ensuring you give your SEO the best possible technical platform on which to shine, the overall design of your website will have an impact on your SEO performance.

Why is web design important for SEO?

Good website design shouldn’t be an afterthought. It’s not just about showing your business in the best possible light, it’s also about creating a website that’s easy to find, navigate and use. In short, it adds value to your website, increasing its utility as well as its aesthetic appeal.

SEO rewards positive user experiences

Google and other search engines are forever tweaking their algorithms to meet the search needs and priorities of their users. In other words, they want their SEO to be as intuitive as possible. Users like good design and what’s well regarded by human users will be well-regarded by search engine bots.

Equally, what’s bad for human users will also be poor for search engine bots. If your site is poorly designed, difficult to navigate and leaves your users exasperated it’s likely they’ll not linger for long.

Search engines will soon pick up on the fact that your site has a high bounce rate, and this will result in your place in the rankings slipping. Slow load times, hard to read texts, difficult navigation and poor site design creates more barriers for user engagement. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that ultra-contemporary and stylistically dashing design has to serve a purpose. State of the art design shouldn’t make using the site more difficult or its purpose obtuse.

Users like good quality visuals

Connected to the above is the user preference for high-quality visuals. Good web design bolsters your authority and builds trust with users. Conversely, users will leave a site if they don’t like the design. Your content should be given a strong design framework to encourage users to remain on the site for longer. This can be good for both conversions and SEO.

Good design, hand in hand with quality content, encourages users to explore your site, which signals to search engines that your site is of value.

Good design makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site

There are a range of ways in which smart design can be used to make it easier for search engines to crawl your site. There are several good design practices that can improve your SEO performance.

For example…

You should limit the use of programming languages that search engine crawlers find difficult to read such as Flash and JavaScript. You should also ensure that critical content isn’t placed inside Flash or JavaScript elements.

Ensure that the design is relatively simple and the site overall is easy to navigate. It shouldn’t be difficult for visitors to find the information they’re looking for on your site.  Keep URLs short and easy to remember, removing duplicates if possible.

Good design means a site that’s easy to read. Don’t use tiny fonts, pale indistinct colours, or design elements that are jarring, such as white text on a black background.

Make sure that the design is responsive. Every user’s screen is different so your site has to work on a range of different devices. Google rewards sites that are mobile friendly and responsive.

Make sure that all on-site images are optimised to reduce loading times. Meta-descriptions should be added to your images to enable search engine bots to index your images.

Loading speed is one of the key factors in encouraging users to stay and creating conversions. Your design not only has to grab people and be easy to use, it also has to be responsive. If users leave your site before it loads, Google takes note and lowers your search engine ranking as a result.

How much can web design influence the effectiveness of SEO?

It should be clear that web design plays a key role in SEO. In fact, alongside the quality and relevance of the content, and a sound technical platform, design is one of the most important determining factors.

Getting it right isn’t easy, but the experienced team at Dawn Creative can make sure your website has an SEO friendly design that delivers results.

Call 0161 711 0910 or email to find out more.