Google is the most popular website in the world, with around 89.3 billion visits every month. People look up just about anything these days, even the most mundane things, just because Google makes it easy.
Google search results generate high-quality traffic, which is why every website aims for the best possible rankings. To achieve that, it is essential to deploy effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
SEO is not just about using relevant keywords that rank; it’s about the overall quality of your website. And it may surprise you to learn that it all starts with web design.
How Website Design Impacts Online Visibility
A business can have the most amazing and beautiful website, but it would be rendered useless if people don’t visit it. While there are SEO tools that can help with visibility, they won’t accomplish much if the website itself isn’t attractive, engaging, and worth browsing for extended periods. It is the company and its designated web developer and designer’s role to make the website accessible to a large number of people, especially its target audience.
Everything starts with design. And it doesn’t just involve simple aesthetics. A well-designed website must be easy to comprehend and navigate. And when visitors take time to browse multiple pages of your website instead of clicking away immediately, it will get high marks in terms of SEO and overall visibility.
Why SEO Must Be Prioritized in Web Design
Around 75% of people don’t go past the first page of results when looking something up on Google. This means SEO is critical to a website’s traffic and long-term success.
SEO isn’t just about keywords; it’s the overall makeup of the website that makes it understandable to search engines. These critical factors of web design also affect SEO:
All website content is crucial, and targeted keywords or keyphrases are integral elements of web pages that perform well on search engines. However, simply sprinkling keywords on every other paragraph is not enough—strategic use is critical, and they must be implemented methodically.
Google’s algorithms have evolved over the years. They don’t just reward every website for using keywords.
In fact, keyword stuffing and grammatical errors due to the forced use of keywords are now penalized by search engine algorithms.
You may be wondering: how is content part of web design?
Content is the reason people stay and browse a website. They look up something on Google, click the link, and browse the relevant page. Web visitors stay only when the content provides the information they were looking for. And the website design is an important element of this—visitors must be enticed to continue reading and even navigate to interlinked pages.
How the content looks on the page matters. Fonts, color palettes, headers, footers, graphics—they must all work together.
As a web user yourself, you likely have firsthand experience with this. Sometimes you get on a webpage, and the design is off-putting for some reason, so you click away and opt to browse a competitor’s site instead.
There are technical elements to links, such as using appropriate anchor text to lead to another page. Then there is the design element, too. The anchor phrase must be distinctive for users to realize it is a clickable link. The design must be consistent throughout all web pages.
Also, when backlinking, make sure to link to reputable sites. Linking to pages that have been penalized by Google will harm your site’s SEO performance.
Images have an impact on SEO as well. They must be optimized with textual explanations that search engines can crawl and understand. All images must be uploaded and integrated into pages with a relevant filename and description.
Images must also be clear and relevant to the page’s content and the website’s overall purpose. Remember that SEO is also about human interaction with your site. High-quality images will engage visitors, while irrelevant and blurry pictures will lead them to click away. This is important for SEO rankings because search engines only reward sites that are actually useful to visitors.
4. Website Performance
How everything goes together on the website is also crucial for SEO. The website must be easy to navigate, and it should load quickly.
Here are the factors that affect overall website performance:
Websites must load as quickly as possible. According to BigCommerce, every second of page delay may result in a 7% loss in conversion. Many people abandon websites when it takes three seconds or longer to load.
User Experience (UX)
UX is all about every user’s quality of experience while navigating a website. Quick loading time is great for positive UX, but of course, there are more elements involved. Streamlined, efficient UX design allows all users to complete all actions and find the information they need on the website.
For example, a person is looking for a new jacket and navigates to a brand’s e-commerce store to shop. From the moment they click the landing page, each step must be easy and intuitive for a potential paying customer. It should be a breeze to look through different types of jackets. Respective prices, descriptions, and other relevant information that will encourage a purchase must be readily available. Adding an item to the cart and paying for it must be done in as few steps as possible.
Happy customers spend extended periods on a website and complete their purchases. Search engines note this kind of activity and reward sites with higher rankings.
Around 6.8 billion people in the world own smartphones, and they spend hours on them every day. They do everything on these devices: communicate with friends and family, play games, browse, shop, etc. This is why mobile-optimized, responsive websites are critical.
Security is important, too. People who navigate your website must feel that their information is secure and their activities remain private. Security starts in the design and development process. Multiple testing tools can be used to detect weaknesses in the site’s security long before launch.
Users, too, have a responsibility to keep themselves safe using antivirus software. It is not enough to depend on the site owner or developer’s capability to secure a website. They also need to implement best practices, such as using VPN and security software and avoiding public WiFi connections.
Website design is not just about developing aesthetically pleasing pages. It is about providing users with a great experience while navigating your site. High-quality content, images, and links are critical components of this. Moreover, the website must perform well in terms of loading, responsiveness, and UX design.
These elements will boost your site’s SEO rankings and help you get on the first page of search engine results.