Web Design and SEO – What Is the Connection?

We are living in a world where people want everything as soon as yesterday.

Until as recently as January 2017, the more elegant refinements of web design were considered something of an unnecessary luxury especially by those working on a tight budget, but that as all recently changed.

Even with the abundance of pre-coded templates for content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Blogger, web design still has a crucial role to play in SEO (search engine optimization). In fact, it is at the web design stage that many costly mistakes can be made that could live on the site as long as it remains online.

Until as recently as January 2017, the more elegant refinements of web design were considered something of an unnecessary luxury especially by those working on a tight budget, but that as all recently changed.

In this article we will take a closer look at the important connection between web design and SEO including some of the must-have design features your site needs and these include:

  • Cell phone and tablet compatibility (responsiveness)
  • The use of interactive content
  • Correct page configuration
  • Built-in analytics (visitor behaviour statistics
  • Correct use of navigation and menus
  • Page loading speed

The necessity of mobile responsive sites

If you want your potential customers to find you via search engines such as Google you need to ensure that your website is both responsive and mobile friendly. Since January 2017 Google has been using mobile responsiveness as a criterion for ranking in their search results. That means your competitor’s site may give less value than yours in content but still come higher in search if it is mobile responsive and yours isn’t.

Feeding the need for speed

No matter what our own personal feelings about it may be, the fact is that we are living in a world where people want everything as soon as yesterday. This fact is reflected in how quickly people click away from your site and as we have pointed out already Google, in particular, sit up and take notice. Page loading speed has been a ranking factor for quite some time and it should, therefore, be something that is built into your site.

Why you should design with interactive visual content in mind

Over the last ten years or so, there has been a huge emphasis on the minimum amount of content that should be placed on a webpage to gain better ranking in search. It has crept up from 250 words to 2,500 during that ten year period and there is evidence to suggest that this method works. That said, however, ranking also appears to be related to user engagement as in the time a visitor spends on your site. Video and interactive media work to keep users engaged longer making it an important design requirement.

The team at Clickthrough, a New Zealand based SEO company, believe that great content is now more important than ever. Our attention spans are decreasing, so being able to hold your users’ focus is essential. A higher word count and rich media isn’t always best; you need to understand your target audience and what they want to achieve from your content before implementing a strategy.

Avoiding Parallax designed pages

Website design that utilises one single long continuous scrolling page no longer works well with the Google indexing algorithm. It thinks the site is a single page and indexes it as such. The upshot is that your site is likely to be shown as one page.
The second and more difficult issue affecting Parallax sites is that due to the indexing issues you would need to focus all of your site’s keywords on the one page. This will inadvertently lead to readability issues so they are best avoided altogether.

The importance of analytics

While most reputable web designers and SEO consultants make every effort to optimize through correct design, no one can ever be certain of how your potential clients will locate, arrive at, and navigate around your specific site. To some extent, therefore, website design and SEO are a continuous work in progress and that means monitoring visitor behaviour.

It runs even deeper than that, however, because sites that perform poorly in terms of bounce (visitors that click straight off) and short visitor stays are also ranking factors with Google. The correct use of analytics and swift action in instigating the changes that they highlight are crucial in website design and best SEO practice.

Making the best of navigation

Although clear and easy to circumvent navigation of your site isn’t a ranking factor in of itself, it will have a knock-on effect in terms of how long visitors remain there. As already stated, visitor lengths are, however, ranking criteria, and these will be impacted by poorly designed site navigation. As is often cited by both Google and many SEO freelancers, sites should be designed primarily with human users in mind. The irony is, of, course, that recent algorithm changes take the results of human behaviour on your site into account.

SEO and web design are intrinsically linked so you can be sure that nothing will remain static for long which is one good reason why owners should review how their sites stack up on a regular basis.

I provide cost effective websites and marketing solutions that will help your business achieve its objectives within the working time frame. Have a look at my website design portfolio below to get a feel for the quality of my work.If you would like to engage me as a freelance web designer call me anytime on 02 8317 3526, Send me an email
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Aaron Knight
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