How SEO Affects Web Design Practices?

Good design and strong search engine optimization are important elements of any website. A strong design ensures people stay on the site longer and don’t abandon it in frustration. That design also helps improve conversions, such as newsletter signups or completed purchases.

SEO, on the other hand, ensures visitors get to the site in the first place and become exposed to the impeccable design you’ve implemented. Better SEO means more traffic coming in – and better design means more conversions are possible. These two elements, while seemingly quite different, go hand-in-hand.

How SEO Affects Web Design Practices?

SEO and Web Design Are Connected

The mistake many designers make is that they don’t fully account for SEO in their designs. They assume – and reasonably so – that SEO has more to do with content than design. They’re not completely wrong, as keywords, inbound links and the like all affect SEO. However, content isn’t everything. Design also plays an important role in boosting SEO even though designers often overlook this fact.

Don’t neglect the importance of fine-tuning a design for SEO. When designing a page, there are many SEO elements to keep in mind in order to strengthen the site’s search ranking.

Be Responsive

Web traffic doesn’t just come from desktop computers and laptops anymore. That’s not anything new, as the rise of smartphones and tablets have been going on for years now. What you may not know is that, beginning in 2013, more users come to websites from mobile devices rather than from computers.

The gap between mobile and desk is growing by the year, so websites that don’t utilize a responsive design are leaving money on the table. While users won’t bother exploring a site that isn’t optimized for mobile devices, search engines are possibly punishing unoptimized sites.

Google states that responsive design is its recommended design pattern, which has led some experts to believe outdated websites are being pushed down in search rankings. The evidence is inconclusive but worthy of attention. Regardless, there’s no doubt that a responsive design is a good idea from a user experience standpoint.

Going Meta

When designing a page, what’s going on behind the scenes can be just as important as what people see on the page. Any page you’re designing, whether it’s an “about us” or the homepage, needs to have proper meta descriptions. It’s these descriptions that show up on search engines, so they can’t be missing. The meta descriptions are a short sales pitch to let potential visitors know what the page is all about. Omitting a meta description by not optimizing a page for one is a big mistake.

Fast Load Times

Gorgeous videos or images are sometimes musts when it comes to designing a flashy website.  However, it’s best to be careful when it comes to filling a web page with media. As stunning as the page may look, an overabundance of bandwidth-hogging elements can severely impact a page’s SEO ranking.

Google and other search engines state load time is one of the determining factors when deciding a page’s ranking in search results. A slow page that takes forever to load will be punished, whereas a fast page is in a much better position to enjoy strong SEO.

With that in mind, make sure all the images are optimized and not too large in size. While your server speed might be one of the biggest factors in determining load times, cleaning up the elements on your web page can also be a big help.

Don’t Forget Images

Words play an important part in search engine optimization, as the right page title or meta description attracts lots of visitors. However, images also play an important part and can be utilized for SEO purposes. While search engines don’t see images per se when indexing pages, they do see the file name and HTML involving the image. That means you can optimize your images for some increased SEO efficiency.

When you’re designing a page, give a little thought to the name and HTML behind the image. Changing a few words here and there can help your page appear higher in search results if you pick the right combination of words.

Limit Your Use of JavaScript

When designing a page, you can’t just think of what users like. You also have to think of what the search engines prefer. That means you’ll probably have to go easy on the JavaScript. While JavaScript is extremely useful in design, search engines prefer it in limited amounts.

This is the perfect example of how you need to consider SEO when designing a page instead of simply the looks and usability. It’s a lot of work to consider all those factors, but the end result is worth the added effort. A little JavaScript won’t hurt, but don’t rely on it completely or you could suffer from an SEO standpoint.

Structure Matters

What you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to web design. While looks are important, the behind-the-scenes structure is particularly important for SEO. Why is that so? If your site structure makes a lot of sense, then search engines like Google will display links underneath your page. This gives you a more prominent appearance on search engines and entices users to click onto your page.

Google is a little secretive about the exact process needed to get site links, but there’s no doubt that a sound site structure is one of the factors. Before designing a page, think long and hard about the site structure. This planning process ensures the website will make a lot of sense structurally.

Putting It All Together

Web design and good SEO might seem like two completely different things, but there’s plenty of overlap between the two. When working on a web design, always think about how the design can benefit SEO. A few simple tweaks here and there can make a huge improvement. Keeping SEO in mind can be the difference between a great design and merely a good design.

23 thoughts on “How SEO Affects Web Design Practices?”

  1. Great overall SEO tips. A few months ago I finally went with a Responsive Design and even it cost me rankings in the short term because of URL structure, it will be worth it. Faster load times is something I need to work on. Good tips.

    1. Hi Robert! Responsive design is so essential, and I wish you the best of luck with your site! Hope this article helped! Thank you for reading :)

  2. Nowadays, it is of great importance that websites are designed keeping SEO in mind. It is really a bad idea to design websites that only have visual appeal but no usability, responsiveness and other basic SEO considerations. Thanks for the article, Lexie.

    1. I complete agree with you, Lalit. Design isn’t a one-sided equation. You must consider everything! Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi @Lexie Lu,this is awesome guide and thanks for sharing it. yeah, the design and user interface of a blog must count in term of SEO factors. the key point you mentioned in post are responsive design, fact loading, related image and others, i agree with them all.
    Looking forward to see more!

    1. Hey Chris! Thank you so much for reading! UI and overall design definitely holds weight in the algorithm.

      All the best!

  4. SEO and Web Design connected with each other because poor web design affecting on SEO, so to get the best result in SEO need to improve web design, Thanks for the sharing.

  5. Great Work you have did!! Great overall SEO tips.I also did many mistakes in the starting of my project but Know your stuff beforehand!

  6. Great tips you shared on SEO, even when I was just getting started I wanted my blog flashy with lots of videos and images. I then realized my blog was taking longer to load, I never actually thought this might also be happening to my visitors until my bounce rate was really high. I had to make changes, so I made the design more simple and straight the point. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips :)

  7. SEO affects Webdesign but it is also important for SEO that a website has a good design to attract user and rank faster in search engine.

  8. hi lexie,
    Great tips..
    Web design affects SEO in many ways and it is a sad reality to see that some web designers still carry on with their visions of a beautifully designed website while ignoring the consequences it might have on the SEO side of things.
    Thank you..

  9. a perfectly design website works best of seo. A appealing website with a low loading speed help in increasing ranking and visitors as well.

  10. Responsive design is the key point i think. now a days very few are using desktop pc. The mobile friendly site and creative design will stay people for long time. They even have the tendency to come back to the site. The power of Design. Thanx for the valuable post.

  11. Hello Lexie, Amazing Article, you share very nice information in this post, please keep sharing and your web design is also very well. Keep it up

  12. Hi Lexie, this article is very useful and very nice seo tips I also did many mistakes in the starting of my project but Know your stuff beforehand!

  13. Hey, Lexie, Amazing your Post, you share very nice information in this great post, please keep sharing and your web design is also very well.

  14. Web design affects SEO in such a large number of ways and it’s a sad reality to see that some web designers still continue with their visions of a wonderfully designed site while ignoring the repercussions it might have on the SEO side of things.

  15. overall tips are great, SEO point of view the website structure and design has mattered to boost ranking. In this blog, all tips are essential for me. Thanks for sharing.

  16. This article is really beneficial for a newbie in blogging like me. You talk about Limiting the Use of JavaScript, I wish to know the likely numbers of javascript that is okay?

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