Discover how web design affects SEO and what your business needs to do to ensure it maximises its online visibility

People often separate SEO (search engine optimisation) and web design services. However, the relationship between the two is more close-knit than you may have first thought.

Between captivating visuals and keyword opportunities, there’s an intrinsic overlap where SEO and web design operate and function within one powerful entity.

Intrigued? Read on to see how web design affects SEO and why you should incorporate both elements into each process when building your website.

What is SEO in web design?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps websites rank higher across search engines by optimising content and design features.

For your website to become more visible, you need to appeal to search engine crawlers exploring and scanning the pages on your site. Ultimately, they determine your rank with the value you offer for specific web searches.

So, the aim is to attract organic traffic desiring your products, services, or information. By ranking for the correct keywords and search queries, you become visible to users, so they visit your website.

But it takes more than keywords to drive organic traffic to your website. SEO and user experience (UX) go hand in hand. Let’s explore.

The relationship between web design and SEO services

Rather than being separate services, both design and optimisation should join forces to create an SEO-friendly site. Achieving this relies on incorporating SEO throughout the design process.

The web-building process requires the creation of each web page, with every section and feature presenting an opportunity to help your website rank. From keyword and longtail keyword opportunities to navigational features and ‘white space’.

The problem is, when businesses approach a creative agency like ours, they’re only thinking about either website design or SEO services. Yet, when you make one or the other an afterthought, you soon realise what you’re missing when the results don’t add up.

How web design affects SEO: 8 things to implement with design  

Here are 7 reasons why:

1.     To optimise is to humanise

Essentially, the whole point of SEO is to be as human as possible. Despite the robotic nature of search crawlers, their job is to understand and mimic human behaviour to provide us with the best online experience and solutions.

So, when it comes to your web design, what someone struggles to read, understand, or identify will likely translate as bad SEO. This can include anything from keyword stuffing spoiling the flow of a sentence to poor pixelation ruining the clarity of an image.

A casing example? 59% of consumers would reject a company with poor grammar. Therefore, an SEO crawler will operate the same way.

So, when you build your website, don’t let your SEO strategy compromise the human touch Google seeks. See your consumer as the person they are, not the consumer they represent.

2.  Visual is vital  

Keywords may have encouraged organic traffic to visit your site, but now we need some design expertise to ensure they stick around. The fact is folks, “we live in a material world”, and your business is a material brand.

In digital marketing, your business might never have a second chance to make a first impression, with 94% of first impressions based on design or visuals.

The longer consumers stay on your site, the healthier the bounce rate and the more authority your site receives for SEO purposes. Here is another prime example of SEO and web design working together.

3. Design develops trust

Not only will quality design keep visitors to your website engaged, but web design can also develop trust. Trust is key to keeping users on your site and building authority, with 94% mistrusting a website based on design.

Without trust, your website traffic will fall flat and significantly impact your SEO ranking. Build trust through quality design features, spacious navigation, and consistent branding across each page.

4.  Make the crawling easy  

We want to design with the human in mind but don’t forget the search crawler’s vital function. You should index your site correctly to make it easy for crawlers to rank you.

If Google has visited your site with one of its crawlers ("Googlebot"), then your site has been assessed for content and value before being stored in the Google index.

Indexing is crucial as it ultimately tells search engines where and how to rank your website. Ensure your metadata is optimised with no mistakes, you have a link-worthy site containing authoritative content and apply correct alt tags to your imagery.

5. Speak the right programming lingo

Some engine crawlers can have a tough time reading specific programming languages, such as JavaScript or Flash. Due to the design elements available in these programmes, they can be hard to resist. But try to reduce the amount you use for the sake of your SEO score.

For example, don’t place critical content inside any Flash or JavaScript element because crawlers won’t scan it, and you’ll lose out on some SEO benefits.

6. Stress-free navigation

One key element of SEO is UX, with website navigation and loading times as the main contributing factors.

Stuffy and cramped content might contain lots of keywords, but it might be unpleasant on the eye and challenging to read. For ease of navigation, we’re looking for simplicity and comfort.

Allow some white space to breathe and visible icons to show us the way. It’s not about fighting for attention and forcing content down your consumer’s throat. Let them take control of their experience to enjoy a stress-free journey as they explore your site and find what they need.

7. No matter the size, adjust accordingly.

Adaptability is why responsive web design is good for SEO. Responsive design allows your website to adjust to any screen size, no matter the device.

From smartphones, desktops, laptops and tablets, everyone surfs the web on different devices. So, ensuring your website meets expectations keeps your consumers happy while being rewarded by Google.

8. Don’t lag behind

Speed is key because online, the virtue of patience is found wanting. Google’s recommended loading time for your website is under two seconds.

Page loading times should apply across all devices, not just desktops. Often mobile loading times can remain slower, which is shocking when you consider the fact that mobile contributes to 52% of overall web traffic.

You can test the speed of your website with PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and Site24x7.

Speak to web design and SEO specialists

At Design in the Shires, we prioritise our clients to consider SEO best practices throughout the web design process. Our portfolio of work covers a range of industries with design and SEO expertise applied to each brand.

We want to create captivating websites that inspire with design but importantly drive organic traffic to purchase your products and services.

So, if you need any support, pick up the phone and give us a ring.

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