The Importance of Strong Web Design for Your SEO
When it comes to your SEO strategy it’s often tactics such as keyword research, meta data, link building, and content production that come to mind. Web design is often overlooked and considered more important for user experience and conversions, but the design of your website is just as important as any other factor for determining where you rank on Google.
In this blog I'm going to explore 3 key elements of web design that are vital to SEO and why you should be optimising the design of your website to help boost SEO performance and improve ROI.
The speed in which your website loads and is ready for the user to explore depends on both your servers and how your website is designed. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load then it’s considered too long. Of course 3 seconds doesn’t seem long at all, but as users are more expectant on quick websites and are aware that there are many other sites they could visit, if yours takes too long they will simply go elsewhere – meaning all the hard work you’ve put into your SEO could be rendered useless.
A couple of quick wins to boost your page speeds are below;
- Make sure you’re serving scaled images
- Get a server provider that is right for you
- Limit the number of plugins your site is using. The fewer the better
- Reduce redirects
- Leverage browser caching
One of my favourite tools for measuring the speed of your website is GTmetrix because not only does it show you how quick your website is, it also shows you how and why you need to improve it.
Once the site loads it’s important to make a great first impression. Ensure your website design is reflective of your level of service and quality to give users the confidence to stay and learn more. If your site makes a poor first impression, and this impression is usually created within a couple of seconds, then users are more likely to return to the search engine results page (SERP) and find other sites to satisfy their need. Examples of poor first impressions would be too much text, poor image quality, pop-up ads, and a colour scheme that’s makes text hard to read. It is a simple message I am giving here. Can a visitor to your website see who you are, what you do and why you do it within 10 seconds and would they be impressed or put off by what they are seeing from a design perspective?
In recent years with more users searching via their mobile, it’s been considered vital that your website is either designed primarily for, or that it responds to, mobile screens seamlessly. Google themselves state that their crawlers read ‘mobile first’ meaning that from an SEO perspective Google uses the mobile version of your site for its ranking algorithm before it looks at your laptop or desktop version.
Why is All of This so Important?
The importance of web design for SEO culminates in the fact that Google can understand if users have a good experience on your site or not. User experience data such as bounce rates, exits, engagement, and page load times are passed to Google whenever a user visits your site from the Google search engine. The data is then incorporated into the algorithm when deciding how high to rank your site for search terms. If users have a poor experience and quickly leave your site, it will tell Google that your web design isn’t satisfying users and that it shouldn’t recommend your website to others – thus impacting your SEO performance.
The importance of great web design to SEO cannot be understated and should never be overlooked. Whilst I have only covered 3 areas of how web design impacts SEO in this blog, there are many other factors such as the sitemap, navigation, legibility, CRO, and more. It’s critical that all bases are covered to ensure a holistic SEO approach and to allow all elements to work together for better rankings in SERPs.