August 11th 2022

How SEO and Design are Linked Together

How SEO and Design are Linked Together

You already have a sense that if visitors land on your site and the design isn’t please, they’ll just bounce away. However, poor design can also impact your search engine optimization (SEO) in the first place and keep your site from ranking as high in results as you might like. Knowing what elements have an impact isn’t easy as requirements change frequently.

Good design and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly–they just go together. However, like the popular sandwich, if you start to deviate, it may not taste quite right. Everything from colour choice to layout can impact the way search engines rank you.

How Is Web Design Related to SEO?

According to Internet Live Stats, there are approximately 1.97 billion websites in the world. While not all are active and some registered domains point to other sites, the number rises by the millisecond. Competing with all those other sites takes quite a bit of knowledge and skill.

What are some things you can do to make your design more desirable and rank better in search engines results pages (SERPs)? Obviously, some elements work better than others to improve your position.

1. Reduce JavaScript and Flash

Scripts do things to your site that may not work well for some users. Java can really bog down your system. Flash can cause blips. When checking the health and speed of your website–more on speed later–you’ve likely noticed reports about reducing the number of scripts. Checking your JavaScript and Flash is a good place to start.

Another issue is when you put vital information inside a Flash or JavaScript element. Search engines can't index that info or even see it and you'll lose out on all your hard work as they won't rank the element.

JavaScript and Flash are both notorious for slowing down your site. Removing them can keep people on your page and avoid frustrating freezes. 

2. Improve Engagement

Research shows most people leave a website within 20 seconds of landing there, and 38% of visitors stop engaging with the content they're viewing. Engagement starts from the second the user sees your headline in the SERPs and continues throughout interacting with your site.

Ask users questions, add relevant images and break long sections of text into headlines and bullet points. Consider what people want when they search for the keyword you’re ranking for. Are you providing an appropriate solution?

3. Embrace Minimalism

If you want to make a great first impression, start by choosing a single goal for your page. Eliminate anything that doesn’t pertain to the objective. The fewer things on a page, the more clear the purpose of the page is.

Browsers such as Google have at times used site checkers to rank pages. They rank based on how on point the topics are to the keyword and the site’s design and ease of use, etc. Focus only on what’s most useful to the user and you’ll meet expectations and have fewer items on your pages.

4. Add Fresh Content

Search engines crawl websites constantly and many of them bump sites with fresh content. You can also rank better for specific keywords if you write content that outshines the competition. Look at People Also Ask on Google search results and see what other phrasing they’re using to pull people in.

Make sure your content is aligned with the intent of the user when they search for that keyword. For example, someone searching for “ways to get rid of bats” is probably not looking for how to get rid of baseball bats but the animal.

You can sometimes figure out user intent by looking at the other suggested search phrases at the end of a SERP. What other terms are people seeking and how do they apply to your topic?

5. Choose Mobile Friendly

The mobile version of your website has different requirements than the desktop version. You'll need your site to adapt easily to different screen sizes and device types. Some WordPress themes, even if customized, won't work for mobile responsiveness. The only way to know for sure is to fully test your site for different devices.

A few things you can do to improve your design for mobile include making text have more contrast, lightening images and making sure elements size up and down in a way that makes sense for the reader. Pay particular attention to the way the text reads down the page, the navigation bar and forms. Google does check for mobile friendliness now.

6. Get Faster

A mere one-second delay can drive traffic from your page and reduce your search engine ranking. Although no one knows Google’s exact algorithm, you can be certain most of your traffic comes from their site and they look at nearly anything you can imagine in determining how to rank your pages.

The faster your site loads, the more chances you have of better SEO. People also grow highly frustrated with even a slight delay, which can increase your bounce rate and harm your SEO.

7. Consider Accessibility

Is your site accessible to people of all abilities? Consider how readable your text is. For example, if someone is colour blind, are you using combinations they’ll be able to read as some colours disappear into others.

You may also have people visit your site who are visually impaired. Are you filling in alt tags? Not having alt tags filled in can impact your SEO. What about voice search and commands? Is your site set up in a way that it works well and intuitively with the natural speech patterns people use?

Good Design Equals More Traffic

It might seem like a simple fix, but ensuring your design is usable and visually appealing helps your SEO. Look at your site through the eyes of the user. How can you improve it? With a little work and attention to detail, you’ll soon have a well-respected and easy-to-use site. The search engines will appreciate your excellent content and attention to detail

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