Although web design involves programming and graphic design, it is not only a developer’s responsibility. To get the most out of your website, whether it’s a new website, a redesign, or a brand refresh that may eventually affect your website, you must involve marketers, especially SEO specialists, at every stage of the process. 

Many businesses set up their marketing and development teams in isolation. This is a risky mistake that will result in missed opportunities during the development phase. That’s because website design is more than simply their looks. Great website design influences every aspect of your online presence. Your website is the first thing people see when they want to learn more about your business, and it is also the key to increasing your search engine visibility. 

Yes, you read it right: your web design significantly impacts your search engine optimisation (SEO). To maximise your return on investment, use designs appealing to both humans and search engine crawlers, as visitors like to engage with websites that allow them to simply browse the information.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few web design strategies that can directly impact a site’s SEO performance. We will also include suggestions on how to improve on each front.

What Is SEO & Why Is It Important?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) aims to increase your website’s visibility on search engines like Google with the purpose of generating organic traffic. As a result, your website’s organic traffic quality and quantity will improve. Effective SEO strategies involve optimising various on-page and off-page elements, such as meta tags, content structure, and backlinks, to enhance your website’s ranking and ensure it appears prominently in relevant search results.

6 Ways Web Design Affects SEO

While web design aesthetics, organisational branding, and content are important, your team should also prioritise SEO best practices in future web design. That’s because SEO in site design influences users and search engines in the following ways:

1. Page Loading Speed

Your website’s loading speed is an important search engine ranking criterion. The way your website is designed can have a significant impact on how quickly your pages load. You can use free tools online to determine the loading speed of your website. Ideally, your website should load in less than one second. 

If yours takes longer, follow these tips:

  • Minify your CSS and JS files
  • Use compressed images
  • Use a CDN if possible
  • Minimise HTTP requests
  • Minimise the use of redirects
  • Use a caching solution
  • Upgrade your web hosting solution

2. Readability

It is undoubtedly the most important aspect of your website design, influencing the effectiveness of your SEO approach. Online users seek information. They use the internet and other websites to read content and seek answers to their questions. Your website should be constructed to make those answers easily accessible and user-friendly.

An excellent reading experience may result in longer on-page time, a reduced bounce rate, and a better engagement rate. All of these variables (and more) eventually result in higher search engine rankings.

Here are a few tips to help you build an excellent reading experience on your website:

  • Avoid using dark backdrop colours. Maintain a white, clean appearance.
  • Leave plenty of white space.
  • Use larger font sizes.
  • Choose a font that is simpler to read. Many individuals favour sans-serif fonts.
  • Divide your text into sections, such as headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
  • Use fewer sentences and paragraphs to make it easier for your readers to absorb the information.
  • Use visuals, infographics, and videos to break up the text and make it entertaining. Nobody enjoys a massive wall of words.

3. Website Navigation Structure

Many crucial metrics are affected by your website’s navigation structure, including average page load time, bounce rate, engagement rate, and conversion rate. These factors lead not only to higher search engine ranks but also to higher revenue and profitability.

If users are unable to access information on your website or do not know where to go next, you will lose them and leave a large sum of money on the table. How can you construct an effective navigation structure, then? Here are some tips:

  • Make the main page easy to use. Cut down on the number of items on the table to keep things clear.
  • Don’t use hard-to-understand technical terms on the main page. Use everyday words instead.
  • Make sure the main menu is visible and easy to get to on all your web pages. Make it stick to the top of the page if you have to.
  • The menu must stay easy to find on smaller mobile devices. 
  • Put a search bar on your website to make it easy for people to find the page they’re looking for.
  • For each online page, make sure that the URL is clear, short, and useful. If you look at the URL of a web page, the average person should be able to figure out where they are going.
  • It is just as important to use detailed anchor text for internal links on your website as it is for URLs.

4. The ‘404’ page

It is safe to assume that a person will leave your website if he gets a 404 error page. The ‘404’ error appears when a link is broken or a page no longer exists. 

However, with a little creativity and planning, you can transform it into a user-friendly page that encourages people to stay on your website. Here are some pointers to make your 404 pages work for you and your website’s SEO strategy:

  • Don’t use a generic design. Be creative and come up with an engaging and eye-catching 404 page.
  • Clearly indicate that the user has followed the incorrect link or that the page does not exist.
  • Include a search bar on your 404 pages to give visitors another way to access specific content.
  • List the most significant web pages on the 404 page and urge users to visit them.

Ideally, your website should have no dead links, but removing the potential of a 404 error is impossible. A website user can cause a 404 page by manually typing an incorrect URL, for example. 

As a result, you must prepare for it by developing a unique yet useful 404 web page. This will allow you to keep your visitors on your website, boosting their on-page duration and lowering their bounce rate. These good signals will eventually aid you in search engine rankings.

5. Pop-ups

Many websites show pop-ups as soon as a search engine visitor arrives on the site. This is a problematic practice for two reasons.

  1. You lose credibility. That user is browsing for information while you serve advertising and pop-ups.
  2. Second, when the user sees the pop-up right away, they may become frustrated and immediately leave your website. This provides a negative signal to Google, indicating that users may be dissatisfied with your website on the search engine results page. If it is not a perfect fit for that term, as this negative signal suggests, Google will most certainly demote your website in the SERPs.

Minimise the use of pop-ups. If you need to promote an event or a free lead magnet, try utilising an exit-intent pop-up that opens only when the user is ready to leave the website.

6. Images, image size, and alt text

Almost every website has images. Relevant and entertaining photos can assist raise your website’s average on-page time and engagement rate. 

However, utilising too many images may cause your website to slow down, which is a major issue. As previously stated, a slow-loading website is bad for search engine rankings. What if your images don’t load at all? What will users see then?

Here are a few tips for using images:

  • Add relevant keywords to the image titles.
  • Make sure to provide meaningful and keyword-rich alt text for each image you utilise. Because search engines cannot interpret images, they use alt text to identify and index them for certain keywords. The alt text is also utilised when an image fails to load.
  • Using compressed images to reduce server load and improve site loading tim is critical.

The Bottom Line of SEO-Optimised Web Design

A well-designed website provides a better user experience, which is increasingly an important consideration in search engine optimisation. It’s critical to recognise that these two aspects have become inseparable and play a significant role in keeping your website at the top of the SERPs.

Poor website design will have a detrimental impact on your SEO results. If your website’s copy does not use the relevant keywords, is incorrectly written, or is difficult to read, it will have a negative impact on your SEO. Don’t cut corners with your web presence. The best approach to get your website optimised for search engines is to hire a professional.

Digital Rescue is a Melbourne-based web design agency that creates, builds, and manages high-performing websites that rank on Google, using TopRankings’ leading SEO strategies. Why should you use a managed website agency? The solution is straightforward. We’ll keep you up-to-date on SEO, provide 24/7 support, and save you time by doing our jobs so you can focus on yours. Have you been looking for a Web Design Agency that Melbourne businesses have known and trusted for over 20 years? Contact us now! We’re ready to help you fly.