Does Web Design Affect SEO?
Maybe what you're really asking: is my web design impacting my Google ranking?
Well, if you’re reading this, you likely already have an idea of what the answer might be … it's yes, definitely. As we’re well aware by now the elements that have an impact on your online visibility are many and continuing to grow.
Something that doesn’t often get attributed to having an influence over your online visibility is design. But design is so important to the overall health and performance of your website!!
When it comes to the design of your website, a beautiful page is both important and not enough. You must also be sure your designer and developer are building for:
Page Load Speed
Whether you have an ecommerce store, law firm, nail salon, or any type of business that people may research online (aka every business that wants customers), it’s important to consider your online presence. After all, an increasing portion of success stories when it comes to business is owed to SEO and the digital marketing world.
Note: The numbers definitely go in favour of online presence for businesses. According to Nasdaq, by the year 2040, 95% of all purchases will go through ecommerce.
So. How can you create a website that your design and business development teams will love? Make sure your whole team, from web designer to salespeople, are educated on Search Engine Optimisation. Everything must work together!
Keywords vs Design? Trick Question.
A few years ago, every website strategy focused on the same thing – keywords. But, as search engines are becoming more advanced and smarter, there’s much more to success than just publishing keyword-rich content.
Yes, keyword use remains important – naturally.
Even so, the quality and success of a website depend on the entire anatomy of it.
To provide the best user experience and analytics, your website needs more than just good copy and creative design. It needs both to work in perfect harmony.
Yet, very often, businesses forget about many of the things that make a website SEO-friendly. This can be compared to biking the most important race of their ecommerce business without handle bars for steering.
Simply put: search engine optimisation is never complete, or successful enough to pass all those algorithms, unless it is combined with a well thought out and responsive design.
Designing for SERPs
You may hate to admit it and your web designer may fight it, but ranking on search engines is the most important factor to the success of your website.
With so much information available online, people must get some help with finding what they need. As Ben Gomes, Vice-President of Engineering at Google has said, “our goal is to get you the exact answer you’re searching for faster.”
That’s why Google ranking systems are designed and continuously developed with the use of different algorithms.
Right now, Google has outlined 200 ranking factors. This means that, if you want a high ranking on search engine results, you need to invest more in your page than just high-quality content, responsive website design, and internal links.
Your site needs to be easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, crawlable and indexable, not to mention have high page speed, use an eye-catching color scheme, and whatnot.
Remind me again why I have to think about SEO in my design?
Humans! And also the robots…
The robots are interested in your technical SEO impacted by design. Things like image optimisation and site maps.
But what you may not know yet is that Google uses more than just their automated programs and algorithms to rate your site. They’re also ranking your responsive design, user-friendly design, quality content etc with human search quality raters. Real humans! Not Robots!
They might not directly influence the search results for your site, but their findings are transferred to Google engineers who constantly incorporate the human preferences into the popular search engine algorithms.
This is why the buzzword that first popped in a Google algorithm update back in August 2018 – E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), has been frequently on the fingertips of many SEO experts today. The concept answers three questions:
Expertise: does the website demonstrate expertise on behalf of the business?
Authority: is there evidence that the company knows what it offers/ is talking about?
Trustworthiness: is the small business website in question trustworthy?
In other words, the Google human raters look beyond just the website content as the key element of an SEO strategy. They look at the website as a whole, determining its usability, on-site feature quality, as well as design elements.
What’s a high-quality website?
So how do you become a high-quality and thus high-rated webpage? How do you get into the good graces of Google and enjoy loads of organic traffic, both on mobile and desktop.
Offer top-notch UX / UI and a solution that addresses customers’ questions and requests through design and content.
Web page design also plays a role in your rating and brand recognition online. Contributing to Domain Authority, another important element of your search ranking.
Google also evaluates how the pages function by analyzing the XML sitemap and checking details like meta description and alt text to determine the level of expertise and how much thought has gone into creating the pages.
This further underlines the importance of your content writers, designers adn developers working together. SEO has no single ranking factor as mentioned above. You have to be aware of the pool of many things that contribute to a website’s success.
Just look around the web.
The highest-ranked web pages in search engines follow the same check-list: high-quality content, responsive web design, built for mobile, well-linked with optimised media elements.
On those pages, you’ll find that every aspect has been tackled with care, including the visually and verbally enticing call-to-actions that prompt visitors to... take action. Mobile-friendliness allows you to access everything from your smart device (nearly 60 percent of searches are now from mobile devices) and seamlessly flow through the set out user journey.
If you optimise these things, your visitors will stick around to check out what your site - and business - has to offer. Many of them will take action, too.
That’s what digital marketing is all about. It’s what will convince people that you’re better than the competition.
The best part about it is, this is just the beginning of the big circle of success. It all starts there. When a person sticks around to see what wonders you did with your SEO design, Google will notice. The website with accurate information and good design, as well as quality products and services builds trust with customers. As a result, it also builds trust with Google’s algorithms.
That’s how you rank above your competitors.
What’s more important for Search Engine Optimization: Design or Content?
If you're still asking … have you learned anything! Just kidding. We get that it’s a lot. The truth is that there’s no right answer to this question.
Content by itself is not enough. Amazing, eye-catching website design alone is not enough.
But, when you combine the two in an amazing, optimized website, you can truly reap the benefits of your online business.
Your design will attract customers and make their experience pleasant. The content will give their visit a purpose.
If you're struggling to combine the two in a way that really improves your ranking, it may be time to start again.
Investing in your SEO web pages design is worth it. This is often the first impressions people will have of your business, and thus, a valuable asset.
That’s where we come in. OGNO is here to integrate with your team and help you set up your online presence in a way that grows your business. Talk to us about your new website, or perhaps just a redesign of your one. We're here to work together to bring your website to the next level.