Most internet marketing firms agree that if you want to improve your ranking, you'll have to do some SEO-specific web design. But why is this the case? Let's explore the reasons why SEO and web design are intrinsically linked.
There's More to SEO Than Keywords
Someone who is not very knowledgeable in SEO may think it is all about optimizing your content with the right keywords. While this aspect of search engine optimization is essential, there are many more layers to this aspect of digital marketing.
You can use many different paths and approaches to take your website to the top of Google's rankings, and we'll use this post to show you how SEO web design can help you on this quest.
SEO web design is all about developing or restructuring your website to make it more SEO-friendly. This means that your website should adhere to SEO best practices, such as descriptive URLs, fast loading times, and responsiveness.
In other words, it is about making it easier for search engine algorithms to "read" and understand why your website should be ranked higher than others for a particular search term.
How to Improve SEO Through Web Design?
Thinking of design strictly visually may lead you to believe that it has nothing to do with how your website gets found. SEO and web design look like entirely separate entities at first glance. While this is true to an extent, indexing algorithms of Google and other popular search engines do various things to determine how high they should rank your website.
Just as brand identity services can help your brand stand out from the competition, excellent web design companies can make your site more popular by enhancing its UX (user experience) and focusing on SEO-specific design elements.
All of this shows that SEO and web design go together like cheese and nachos, and if you want to learn how you can leverage the latter to improve the former, you should keep reading this post.
Practicing SEO-Focused Web Design
Working together, SEO and web design can significantly impact your bottom line. So, if you're considering redesigning your site to make it more SEO-friendly, you should know the aspects that make it so.
This isn't to say that you should get involved in every little decision regarding design and micro-manage the heck out of your web design team. However, there are a few things both you and your team should keep in mind about SEO.
HTML and CSS
There are a few options available to designers regarding the code that they can use to create your website. However, most modern websites are made using HTML and CSS, and this is no coincidence.
Flash websites used to be ubiquitous in years past, and while we admit that they look pretty cool, they are notoriously difficult to optimize. This means they don't stand a great chance of ranking well due to poor loading times.
Another rule that is pretty ubiquitous to any website in 2021 is that it must be mobile-friendly. This has been an enormous ranking factor for some time now. It is especially important considering that more people are using smartphones to access the internet nowadays than ever before. Your site must look excellent on screens of all shapes and sizes.
The best way to make your site accessible on all devices is to use responsive design. This approach also eliminates the necessity for a separate mobile site, which can cause a world of trouble because Google is not a fan of duplicate content.
Image Names, Sizes, and Alt Tags
As we mentioned in the intro, inexperienced people may think that the only thing one needs to optimize to achieve SEO results is their written content. By this point, it should be evident that this is not the case, but besides the things that we already talked about, we should discuss the role of images and their metadata.
First of all, you should make sure that all your images have logical and descriptive file names. Although this may require a bit more effort than simply having names like "IMG_4142.png," it will help search engines understand the image's context.
Another thing to pay attention to is file size. Although high-quality images are more appealing to the user, keeping their size as small as possible should be a priority for SEO purposes. Slow page load times not only take away from the user experience but directly damage your rankings.
Finally, your design team should also optimize your images' alt tags. These are the descriptions that tell the search engine algorithm what is depicted in the image and show up if an image isn't loaded for whatever reason.
All of the pages of your website should have URLs that accurately describe their content. Try to include relevant keywords into the URLs and make sure to separate the words by hyphens rather than underscores.
Descriptive URLs are another method to help the search engine better understand the contents of your page, compared to random letters and numbers. Obviously, they will also be easier for your visitors to remember if they need to.
Improving the User Experience
User experience, or UX for short, represents how easy and enjoyable it is for visitors to engage with your website. Providing a high-quality user experience is crucial for your users' perception of your company, but how exactly does it affect SEO?
UX and Negative Reinforcement
In the simplest of terms, it is a matter of providing your users with an experience they will enjoy, without obsessing about minor details, or trying to reinvent the wheel. Basically, Google punishes poorly designed websites but doesn't particularly reward excellent ones, so for the best risk-adjusted returns, stick to proven formulae.
Thankfully, good UX designers know all the tricks and keep up with industry trends. They are aware of the relationship between user friendliness and SEO and what they need to do to make your site loved by your audience and Google itself.
Navigation and Structure
As a business owner, you may know what your customers need more than anyone else, but there are a few things you should keep in mind, though, just in case you run into a designer who doesn't wish to compromise on their "artistic vision."
As a rule of thumb, search engines are most interested in simple layouts. The best-looking website on the internet won't help you if your users are constantly getting lost within its pages. A maze-like structure and cluttered pages are a surefire way to get your website buried in the rankings.
A good web designer should make it easy for your visitors to find what they're looking for, whether it is a store page, a blog post, or a contact form. Using their experience and expertise, they should be able to reshape and reshuffle your site to provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience.
There are over 1.8 billion websites on the internet, and making your site stand out amongst the competition is easier said than done. However, if you choose to follow some of the tips we've outlined above and understand the importance of web design for your SEO, you'll be moving in the right direction in no time.