At its core, SEO is about user satisfaction. The more people visit your site, find what they’re looking for, and are pleased with their experience, the higher your site will rank. Web design and aesthetics are often overlooked aspects of SEO, and sites that overlook design are missing out on clicks and conversions. To raise the stakes even higher, users determine their first impression of a site within the first 50 milliseconds they view the site. On the other hand, adopting the newest, trendiest approach to web design isn’t always effective. Here are some tips on web design for SEO.
In addition to aesthetics, it’s vital that your site be navigable for visitors. Think about how frustrating it is when road signs are confusing, or when a GPS “recalculates” for the umpteenth time. That frustration causes users to leave websites when they can’t find what they’re looking for. Lowering bounce rates can be as simple as entering your site from the perspective of a new user, and seeing if it is easy to use. Can you find what your site’s visitors might be looking for? Is there a menu to help guide users? Do you have a search bar, and does it aid the user in locating the correct page? If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then you are probably already mindful of a user’s experience on your site, and enjoy a low bounce rate and a high conversion rate.
With all this focus on visual appeal, it’s important not to forget about the other part of design. Your website can be designed to be very user-friendly, but still lack visibility. To remedy that problem, make sure that your website is accessible to search engine’s crawlers.
One trend that prioritizes design over visibility is the recent tendency to use parallax web pages. Instead of having multiple pages, like a traditional website, parallax is in essence one long page that users can navigate by scrolling through continuously. Users tend to like parallax for the “all in one place” convenience, while site owners appreciate how parallax keeps potential customers engaged.
Unfortunately, parallax pages are bad from an SEO perspective. Search engine crawlers are built to recognize the traditional website format, and so they have a hard time locating parallax pages.
Further, parallax decreases the overall number of links on your site, meaning that you have decreased the opportunities to implement keywords that can boost your site’s search ranking. It is much easier for search engines to locate your site if each page’s URL has a keyword in it. Increasing the number of URLs by sticking to a traditional site architecture provides more specific URLs with more keywords, which increases your site’s exposure.
Since 2017, searches from tablets and smartphones have accounted for 57% of all searches in the United States. In order to satisfy those users, it’s vital that your site be mobile friendly. If users can’t access your site with the device they are mostly likely to search on, your SEO rankings will take a hit. So, websites should be designed to fit on mobile devices. This means that font is resized to remain visible, the page is resized to fit on a smaller screen, and navigation is simple. Mobile friendly companies are also increasingly developing apps. Good app design follows the same principles of color, spacing, and sizing, and can make all the difference between a good and a bad user experience. Avoiding design mistakes can make your app stand out and improve your user’s satisfaction.
Web design is a vital part of SEO. In order to sell products, retain users, and build your brand, your website needs to cater to the needs of users. When a great web design is combined with effective crawlability, websites can quickly climb in the rankings towards increased visibility.