If you're wondering, "how does website design influence SEO?" you're in the right place. In this article, we're taking a closer look at the relationship between web design and SEO as pillars of good user experience.
Back in the day, SEO used to be mostly about keywords -- so much so that people would stuff their pages with their target keyword and apply the same color on the text as the background. To modern sensitivities, it might seem like a ridiculous thing to do. But back then, this kind of thing actually ranked entire websites. To this day, this kind of tactic can still be seen buried in the cemetery of google search results!
Alas, times (and SEO) have changed. A lot. Today, SEO is about a lot more than just keywords, there is a much broader and integral perspective to this 3-lettered acronym. It's a proper marketing channel in its own right, growing in tight connection to a variety of verticals, including (but not limited to):
Website design is the practice of creating a website's visual layout, user interface, and content. It involves a combination of graphic design, user experience design, development, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Website design is a critical component of any website's success as it helps to make a website more user-friendly, visually appealing, and easier to navigate. As we will discuss later on, website design can help improve a website's ranking on search engines, which can lead to more organic visitors.
As mentioned before, search engine optimization has become much more complex than "just keywords." Essentially, Google (and other search engines) want to serve users with pages they deem qualitative, both in terms of the information on them and how they present themselves.
As such, you should make sure your web pages make it easy for the user to get the information they need, when they need it. Web design and user experience are not just about making your website look good, they're about making sure the user experience is a positive one. This includes mobile-friendliness, quick loading, appealing design, and ease of navigation.
To put it briefly, web design is important for SEO because it:
Engagement is a key factor for SEO. The better the user experience of your website, the longer visitors will stay on it and look through its content. And the longer they stay on your site, the more acquainted they become with your brand, products/ services, and offers.
Crawlers are quick to assess how organized and well-structured your pages are. If they detect organized content and easy-to-follow navigation, they will be more likely to index it quickly.
Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate indicates that they were not satisfied with your website/ content, while a low bounce rate shows they've spent a bit of time on your website and are happy with what they found there. Good UX can lower your bounce rate by providing users with a positive experience and making them want to stay on your website longer.
Your goal is not to go on a perpetual first date with every visitor that lands on your doorstep (website.) You want to build long-term relationships with these people. You want them to come back to your site, buy from you, repeat the experience, and maybe even recommend you to their peers. Good UX helps with all that -- thus, helping you improve your retention rate too.
Your website CTR is the rate at which people find your website from a search engine and then click on it. The higher the CTR, the more likely you are to have people visit your website and engage with its content -- which is great for SEO. Good UX helps with improving your CTR because it makes users more likely to click on your links.
There are a lot of website factors that can affect SEO. Although no one knows Google's actual criteria and how their algorithm works, many can make educated guesses as to what crawlers take into consideration when looking at a website.
For example, the following are considered among the most important web design elements that influence SEO:
In Q4 2021, 63% of organic search engine visits happened on mobile. If you neglect your website's mobile responsiveness, you leave visitors at the door and money on the table. Make sure your entire website is usable on mobile devices to offer everyone a great experience. Some of the things you should do to have a mobile-responsive website include:
It's 2023, so people expect their pages to load quickly. If your website takes too long to load pages, visitors will likely leave your site and find another one. This affects both user experience and SEO, as Google might penalize your website for having slow loading times.
To make sure your pages load quickly, you should:
To be truly user-friendly, your website needs to have smooth navigation. Without it, people may become frustrated on your site, which can result in high bounce rates. On top of that, Google may think that your website isn't useful if it's hard to navigate, which means they won't rank it for your intended keywords either.
To make your site easy to navigate, remember to:
Content structure is essential when it comes to on-page SEO. When structuring your content, don’t forget about these elements:
The images you use on your website should help you deliver a message -- and it should help your site visitors better understand what your website's all about.
When adding images to your website, remember to:
There's no way to measure how much web design influences SEO. But think of it this way: What would you do if you landed on a page full of wonky, unformatted text, no images, and no structure?
You’d most likely click the "X" button without giving it a second thought, right?
Since search engines only want to serve users with pages that will satisfy their needs, they also want to ensure your website's pages have good UX.
Some of the ways you can measure the web design impact on your SEO:
It doesn't matter what type of business you run: being online will help you reach more potential customers (and thus, increase your revenue as well.) Search Engine Optimization continues to be one of the most cost-effective and result-driven channels you can use to increase your website’s visibility, it's important to acknowledge SEO goes way beyond keywords: it's all about helping customers find the information they need in a fast, secure, and user-friendly way.
That's why web design is essential in SEO: it helps you deliver the best user experience possible, so users see you as an authority in your industry. Implementing sustainable and scalable SEO systems can be daunting. Jason Pittock runs an elite SEO Coaching and Masterclass program that helps business and marketing professionals connect the systems, culture, and talent to scale SEO with their businesses and organizations. If you are interested in moving your business forward with SEO, contact Jason Pittock today to schedule a FREE SEO coaching call.