7 Reasons Why Good Web Design Is Important for SEO.
Good web design is important when it comes to SEO as it lays the foundation of elements such as colour and contrast, ease of navigation and even how likely it is for someone to complete a lead form or make a purchase on a website.
When you hire a web designer or developer they may complete a variety of tasks, from setting up your hosting, to helping you select the platform, theme or design for your website. All of these things can have an impact on your SEO.
Here are 7 reasons why good web design is important for SEO:
1/ Website Hosting Impacts Speed
In order to serve your website to the world, it needs to be hosted. Where and how the website is hosted can impact things such as availability and reliability. If Google tries to crawl your site and your site is down for too long it could impact your ranking.
Likewise speed is an important ranking factor, if your site takes too long to load users won’t hang around. Google and other search engines want to offer a great experience to their customers and if your website is slow you won’t do as well in the rankings. Although hosting isn’t the only thing that impacts speed, a good hosting set up will make a big difference.
2/ Website Theme and Platform Can Limit Your Search Efforts
Some designs and website setups have limitations when it comes to updating elements within the theme. For example, you can only place a testimonial in a particular location within the homepage and on no other pages.
Or perhaps the template places a limitation on which elements you can place on a page such as a heading or a video. Not only can this be frustrating for the person uploading the web content, but it hinders SEO efforts as you are missing out on serving helpful content.
The platform that is chosen can also impact the designs and layout, for example WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify. WordPress is very flexible and has plugins for most things, however it does require some technical skills and requires maintenance. Whereas the managed websites have their own quirks and may require work arounds to improve SEO.
3/ Accessible Websites Are More Likely To Be Found
There are numerous elements to consider when it comes to website accessibility.
Those that impact SEO are things like alt text, headings in hierarchical order (H1 – H6), breadcrumbs, text size, space between elements, avoiding things like pop ups and scrolling carousels, the list goes on…
If the website design does not take these accessibility elements into consideration then it not only impacts people with disabilities, but it could negatively impact rankings.
4/ Website Layout Impacts Conversions
A good website layout will guide the reader down the page seamlessly, without them getting distracted or having to choose between clicking on a link to page A or page B.
Website layout takes the confusion away and allows the reader to take the action we want them to.
In contrast a poor or busy design may ask the reader to invest more time in finding the information they need. They may not have the time or patience to hang around. When readers hit the back button and go to an alternative website this is a sure sign that Google will downgrade the ranking.
“…Since launching our new website on its new platform, we’ve seen our engagement and views increase significantly, with 16 new enquiries in the first two weeks (that’s some serious SEO magic!).
You guys rock and I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops xx”
– Kerstyn Walsh from Hire A Bridesmaid
5/ Website Navigation Guides The Visitor
A very important accessibility technique when it comes to web design is navigation. Navigation has two purposes: to let the reader know where they are and to allow them to go somewhere else.
We can do this through a number of ways, but the main elements a reader would expect to see a navigation is:
- At the top of the page via a primary navigation bar
- A logo linked to the home page
- Footer links at the bottom of the page
- A search box (depending on the size and purpose of the website)
These links help search engines crawl all the important pages on your website and a search box can help with website dwell time and reduce bounce rate.
A search box can also provide you with valuable information about what readers are looking for on your website. This gives you the opportunity to produce new content if your existing content does not directly answer their query.
You can also use it to identify if there are very popular search terms and add a link to that page from your home page or navigational links such as footer links or a ‘popular posts’ link block.
These small changes add up and can have a positive impact on your ranking efforts.
6/ Modern Web Design Builds Trust
If you saw a website with an outdated design would it fill you full of trust in that business? Possibly not.
A website with a modern, clean layout that is easy to navigate and find the information that you need will build your confidence in that business. You will be more inclined to spend more time on the site, visit the site again or take action (download a freebie, complete a form or make a purchase).
Longer dwell time on a site correlates to higher rankings on many search engines, so it’s key that the design and content is attractive enough to keep the user on the website.
Design that builds in other trust elements such as testimonials, membership badges, as seen in logos and awards are positive signs for SEO.
7/ Mobile Design Helps With Rankings
“In 2021, mobile phones generate 54.25% of the traffic.”
The majority of all internet traffic comes from mobile phones, with this in mind, we need to make sure websites work well across different mobile devices.
The content should be the same on mobile and desktop where possible. The reason is that Google has moved most websites to mobile-first indexing, which means it indexes the mobile website rather than desktop. So if you are missing content on your mobile site you are missing out on ranking opportunities.
There are best practices when it comes to mobile design, some include:
- use familiar navigation bars,
- add appropriate space around call to actions
- make the call to action large enough to click on,
- use appropriate font size
- avoid overlapping elements
- minimise the number of form fields
Providing a great user experience on mobile will help your SEO as you are less likely to send users away.
Web design is a key factor when it comes to SEO, although you may be able to improve web design features over time, starting out with a robust design will help your SEO efforts.