The Importance of Web Design on SEO

Stephen McCance July 8, 2014

Many clients ask us the question, ‘if we design a new website will this improve on my sites search rankings?’ The answer to this question in a nutshell is probably yes. However, as always with Search Marketing, its not quite as simple as that.

How Important is Web Design to SEO?

In order to have a website that ranks high in search listings the website must be both be designed well and be SEO friendly. Search engines, in fact, do not see the fancy layout, images and colours that you use on your site, its the bits going on behind the scenes that actually matter. When we are talking about the ‘bits’ we are referring to the HTML of your website and other technical elements that search engines will look for. Search Engines at regular intervals crawl your website to see whether there have been any changes made that may have an effect on your ranking. During crawling, they look for particular things in the back section of your website that aren’t necessarily visible to a user. User experience is also becoming a more and more important factor in SEO and the navigation of your website can now have an impact on your site’s ability to rank. It is important that the balance is right between creating a website that incorporates SEO best practises whilst keeping in mind the sites usability and appearance.
Web Design and SEO work hand in hand with one another and many people, and indeed companies, fail to understand the role of SEO in the design process of a website. If the site is SEO friendly then it will be easier for your website to gain a larger amount of traffic, particularly through search engines, and if it is also user friendly then it will increase the chances of converting the traffic that lands on your site into enquiries or purchases. Many Website Designers design a site that may be aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a great deal of graphics and animations included, however this may well be having a negative effect on the site since the more graphics and images that are included, the slower it is going to become. This is both less appealing to users, with slow loading sites having much higher bounce rates, and will also have a negative effect on how search engines will rank your site as the longer it takes for the search engine to access it, the less likely that it is going to look upon it favourably. It is therefore very important to have the right balance between content, images and graphics.
Another important aspect during the design process is to ensure that the most appropriate, relevant keywords that a user may search for are added within the content, further contributing to better rankings in the search listings. Again, this requires the right balance of keywords in the text, as over-optimisation can also contribute to poor user experience and damage your online presence. There is an exhaustive list of different ways that you can help to improve your search rankings and this is where we come into play. If your website has not already been designed with SEO in mind then we can help to improve your website to make it more SEO friendly and help to improve its rankings on search engines. We also offer free assessments to determine if your site is SEO friendly.
There is, however, only so much that can be done in regards to SEO if your site is not user friendly and at this point a re-design of the site may be the best option. A user-friendly site will be aesthetically pleasing, quick to load, provide value to the audience and include relevant, well-written interesting content. This is the best way to incorporate SEO into your web design.

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