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The impact of website design on SEO

Website design is crucial in search engine optimisation (SEO) to help your website appear higher on search engine results. The collaboration between web designers and digital marketers can help you get the most out of your website.

User-friendly web design and SEO optimisation go hand in hand. Search engine crawlers, or spiders or bots, are programs that systemically browse web pages and add them to a search engine’s index. Crawlers want to mimic the human experience, ranking websites higher the more helpful and practical they are. Web designers create websites that engage your audience and appeal to search engines simultaneously.

Keep navigation simple

A web designer will spend a lot of time considering UX design, which is creating designs that provide a meaningful user experience. 

One aspect of UX design is the navigation of your website. It may seem minor, but navigation can impact the average time spent on pages, bounce rate, engagement and conversions, making it crucial for user experience and SEO value. 

It is essential that finding information on your website isn’t hard work for website users or search engine crawlers. If it is, users will simply leave your site and find the information they require elsewhere. This reduces your engagement and potentially costs your business money. If information isn’t straightforward and accessible for crawlers, your SEO score will be lowered. This will affect your ranking, making it harder for users and potential customers to find your website in the first place.  

So, what makes for good website navigation? 

  • Keep the main menu simple and clean. Limit the number of items to avoid confusion.

  • Use categories to help users find what they need quickly.

  • Have a search bar for users to find the web page they're looking for easily.

  • Simplify URLs and make sure they are clear, concise and descriptive.

  • Remove any duplicates 

Reduce loading time

How your website is designed can significantly impact the loading speed of your web page, which is a crucial search engine ranking factor.  53% of website visits will likely be abandoned if pages take at most 3 seconds to load. If your website isn’t fast enough to keep users on your site, search engines realise that the website is not providing users with a good experience. Therefore, search engines will lower your SEO score and rank you in a lower position.

One way to reduce load time is to compress images and videos properly. If images are not compressed, they can significantly increase your website load time. On the other hand, if optimised for desktop and mobile viewing, images can increase engagement and conversions.

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Focus on readability 

Web designers must create aesthetic websites that present information in a user-friendly and readable manner. This will maintain a user’s interest, increasing engagement and conversions. Due to increased engagement, search engines will perceive your website as valuable and informative. Therefore, you are increasing SEO value.

Here are a few ways you can improve your readability:

  • Use light backgrounds and dark text for clarity. 

  • Use easy-to-read fonts in a large enough size. Many people find sans serif fonts easiest to read.

  • Break up your content into headings, subheadings and bullet points to maintain reader attention -no one wants to read a big block of text.

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs to make the content more accessible to consume.

  • Use images, videos and infographics to divide the content. Add alt text so search engines can understand and index images.

Ensure you have a responsive design 

With so many devices available, websites must work on screens of all sizes. Web designers are tasked with creating responsive designs to fit this requirement.

Up to 70% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, so your website must be responsive. If not, you miss out on all that traffic and experience a considerable loss of potential customers. Not only this, but search engines like Google have explicitly said that they reward mobile-friendly web design. Therefore, having a responsive design increases your SEO value and widens your potential audience reach.

Make content easy for crawlers to index

Web designers create engaging websites to reflect your brand and engage your target audience. However, they must also balance this with the requirement of making the website indexable by search engine crawlers. 

The wrong web design choices could make your website challenging for crawlers to index, damaging your SEO rankings. 

To make content easy for crawlers to index, you should limit the use of Flash and JavaScript. These programming languages take more work for search engines to process. While they can help create exciting designs, you should not put critical content inside a Flash or JavaScript element. This content will end up being invisible to crawlers and gain no SEO benefits. 

Search engines are unable to understand images. You should provide clear, descriptive alt text to make your images readable to the crawler. If the search engine can understand the image and deems it relevant and helpful to website users, this can increase your website’s SEO score.

SEO-optimised web design in Hull

Eyeweb is a web design and digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience. We create bespoke websites and SEO-focused marketing strategies to ensure the right audience sees your business.

Our web design services are based in Hull, but we work with clients nationwide. Contact our expert team today if you are looking for web design which gets under the skin of your business, services, products, goals, target audience and competitors.