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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.
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.
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Google states that responsive design is its recommended design pattern, which has led some experts to believe outdated websites are being pushed down in search rankings.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.
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.
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.