How Website Design Impacts SEO
Keywords, title tags, and backlinks aren’t the only SEO factors that search engines prioritize. In fact, many of the design elements you incorporate on your website can impact your rankings, too.
Customers want to seamlessly be able to shop, explore, and make a purchase at your website. If there are any elements, color choices, or navigation problems causing friction, it could start impacting your bottom line. You could also risk losing your customers to competitors, no matter how high you rank in the SERPs.
That’s why user experience is so crucial to your success. A next-level user experience has an innovative SEO-friendly web design that is responsive, easy to navigate, and true to your company’s products and services.
We’re here to walk you through which web design factors search engines prioritize and which elements are vital to your overall user experience so you can optimize your approach and grow your online presence.
Here’s everything you need to know about web design and SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your blogs, landing pages, and content to increase organic website traffic. If you use the right keywords and on-site SEO techniques, Google and Bing will prioritize your website over your competition – helping you improve your online presence and get more eyes on your brand.
How Web Design Affects SEO
Search engines prioritize user-friendly websites with a clear, frictionless SEO-friendly web design. There are many website design elements that search engines take into account. This includes:
Page Load Speed
If your website takes too long to load, it will impact your rankings and the customer experience. Easy changes you can make to improve your page load speed include optimizing images, reducing redirects, and eliminating unnecessary plug-ins.
Too many 404 pages is a red flag for search engines. 404 pages are a sign that you have too many pages tied to your website that no longer exist. If you aren’t regularly redirecting these pages, it will be off-putting for web visitors.
If you have 404 pages, make sure they redirect to a new landing page or you have a message that helps point website visitors in the right direction. This can improve the user experience and keep web visitors on your website.
Once a user lands on their website, can they easily find what they’re looking for? Is there a navigation bar with easy-to-read menu labels and a breadcrumb navigation? An easy-to-use navigation structure is vital to your user experience and search rankings.
Most search engines also use your website’s navigation to index your landing pages and improve searchability and credibility. From a user perspective, a poor navigation structure can also lead to a high bounce rate and a faulty user experience – which can be off-putting for your web visitors.
Search engines prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly. If your website cannot function as well on smaller screens or handheld devices, it can impact your rankings. In fact, over 80% of the top-ranked websites are mobile-friendly and have responsive web designs.
How to Improve Your Web Design For SEO
There are many ways you can improve your web design to meet the needs of your SEO initiatives and your user experience.
Here are five ways to get started.
Keep it Simple With Easy Navigation and a Streamlined Design
Sometimes, less is more. Every element you choose to incorporate on your website should serve a purpose. If colors, texts, images, or a design element are getting in the way of the user experience, you’ll want to remove it.
Prioritize a Responsive Web Design
We live in a digital age, where most individuals search, shop, and purchase from a mobile device. Which is why Google prioritizes websites that are mobile-friendly. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you risk losing a significant portion of your website traffic to your competitors. You should have a responsive web design that can easily be accessed from desktops, tablets, and cell phones without impacting the user experience.
Incorporating high-quality images into your SEO-friendly web design can enhance the user experience. However, you’ll want to ensure your image size isn’t impacting your load speed. Here’s how you can optimize your images for SEO and your web design:
- Include ALT text with all images
- Reduce the file size without sacrificing quality
- Make sure the images you include complement the text on the landing page
- All images should be responsive and mobile-friendly
Prioritize Accessibility Guidelines
Accessibility guidelines are rules websites need to follow to ensure their website is accessible for everyone, including individuals with disabilities or impairments. Some of the most common accessibility features include:
- Alt text for images and videos
- Audio descriptions
- Readable headers and descriptions
- Clear CTAs and buttons
- Good color contrast
These elements can improve the user experience for all your website visitors, increasing session duration and organic web traffic over time.
Clear Content Hierarchy
Content hierarchy makes your website user-friendly and makes your content beneficial to website visitors. With clear H1s, H2, and H3 tags, you can help web visitors easily navigate your website and find what they need. You’ll also want to add keywords to your header tags to ensure this complements your SEO initiatives.
Always consider the content hierarchy of the design elements on your landing pages. Always ensure the most important information is at the top of the page and has the most emphasis.
Create SEO-Friendly Web Designs With Townsquare Interactive
The user experience you create is vital to your online success. If you aren’t prioritizing your user experience, you may never see results from your SEO strategy.
At Townsquare Interactive, we have hands-on experience helping businesses improve their web design and SEO initiatives. We’re here to help you unlock your strategy’s full potential and find innovative ways to improve your approach.