When you’re trying to improve your website’s performance, it’s important to remember that you have to focus on numerous factors simultaneously.
In both life and digital marketing, we tend to give all of our attention to one or two important elements while neglecting something else that can turn out to be equally as important.
If you want to do better in the SERPs, it takes more than just SEO.
Your website also needs to be designed well, or you risk squandering all of that organic equity you have been building.
SEO and web design work together more seamlessly than many people might realize.
Their components mingle and flow together so well that, when executed correctly, your website visitors should not actually notice anything about what you have created; they should simply start navigating through your site.
So, what are those elements where SEO and web design collaborate? Check out these five ways they are used together.
Anyone who’s even slightly familiar with SEO or web design should already know the importance of making your website mobile-friendly.
In fact, if this isn’t something you’ve taken the time to do yet, you’re already a few years behind.
Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor in 2015. That’s half a decade ago.
The search giant then introduced mobile-first indexing in 2017. It’s clear to see how importantly Google views mobile-friendliness, but many websites still haven’t caught on.
The number of people searching on desktops has been declining for a few years now, while the number of people searching on mobile devices has been steadily increasing.
More than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices, which means that more than half of your audience is also likely to be on their mobile phones.
Without a mobile-friendly website design, you could be accidentally alienating half of your users. That is massive.
A website with a high bounce rate due to not loading properly on a phone or tablet is going to send bad signals to Google, and your rankings could plummet.
2. Easy-to-Read Design
If you’ve been working on improving your SEO, content is likely something that you have spent a lot of time on.
Some people might not realize what a huge impact the design of a website can have on your content, or at least the presentation of it.
Poor web design can make it impossible for users to read what they came to your website to do.
Pages with blocks of content in strange places, with too many hyperlinks that don’t serve a clear purpose, essentially erases any audience that you managed to bring onto your site.
And if no one can get the information they want, what’s the point?
At some point, you’ve probably been on a website that had text that was impossible to read because of the page design.
Maybe it was a light-colored text on a pure white background or a dark color on black. Those kinds of designs recall the often terrible websites of the mid- to late 1990s.
But the issue is not always color. The text may also be too big or small, or written in a hard-to-read font.
Like websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, sites that are difficult to read on any device or desktop are going to turn people away quickly.
Web designers understand how to create websites that make it easy for users to take in your content so you get the most for your money.
White space, line length, and any extra elements such as images can all affect how people pay attention to your site. Also, remember to consider people with disabilities by going for an inclusive web design format.
3. Website Speed
Do you know what’s slowing your website down?
Chances are, it could have something to do with your web design. Website speed is one of the most important aspects of technical SEO, and it’s a primary deficiency for many websites.
If you haven’t been ranking well, it could be that your website is just too slow and people are bouncing quickly.
Never forget that page speed is a known ranking signal, so you need to devote your time to speeding up your site by optimizing your images, eliminating unnecessary plugins, allowing browser caching, and so on.
Now, you might actually think your website loads quickly enough, not knowing how long people are actually willing to wait. Ideally, your website should load in two seconds.
When it takes longer than three seconds, as many as half the users visiting your site are likely to abandon it. Page speed is more important on mobile devices, where people are even less likely to spend time waiting.
Page speed is not only important to users, but it’s also important to Google. The speed of your website affects Google’s ability to crawl it.
If your page speed causes Google to crawl fewer pages, you won’t have as many pages getting indexed.
When this happens, it will be impossible for these pages to rank at all. Ensuring website security through “https” encryption is necessary.
Speaking of crawling your website, web design can help with this in more than one way. A sitemap is a crucial element to have in place if you want search engines to be smarter about how they crawl your website.
Your sitemap provides search engines with a guide of all the pages and content on your website. This gives you the chance to tell search engines what pages are most important to your site.
This is an especially important part to get right for larger websites, as well as newer ones that might not have any external links just yet.
In addition to their benefit to search engines, sitemaps also aid in user navigation. A new visitor to your site can refer to your sitemap for help getting around it.
Sitemaps also contain important metadata about your web pages to give them a better chance of ranking highly.
5. Gaining Users’ Trust
Unlike some other SEO factors, you really cannot measure how much people trust you or your website. However, gaining trust is still a huge part of getting your website to rank higher.
There’s no doubt that most people are quick to form opinions, and once they have them, it can be difficult to change their minds.
Over the years, we have gotten used to seeing perfected websites that provide phenomenal user experiences. This is what we naturally expect to see when we open a website.
We want something that’s clean, easy to navigate, and that can quickly give us the information we want. We tend to think these kinds of websites just seem more trustworthy.
If a website looks old and outdated or is too difficult to use, most people will be left with a bad impression, and they could leave and not come back.
You could have a product or service that might be exactly what they are looking for, but your website doesn’t convey this.
A bad website will make it look like your business or organization simply doesn’t put in much effort.
SEO is best done in partnership with web design, and improving your web design doesn’t have to be difficult.
Keep these pointers in mind when designing your website, and you could soon start seeing the higher rankings that have been eluding you.