Can Website Design Affect Your SEO?

March 14, 2019

Kerrie Ashall

If you’re asking – “Can website design affect my SEO?” – then the simple answer is yes. Web design plays an integral role in SEO, and you should be aware of how your design decisions can affect your search rankings.

How bad design will affect your SEO

We’ve explained previously how most people use the internet when searching for a product or service and over 90% of those people start by using a search engine. So, someone goes online and searches for an answer, a product, or a service, and it leads them to your website – great! However, if a user doesn’t engage with your content because of poor design, then they’re likely to go back to the SERP to find a better answer to their query. PageCloud add that “this action is known as bouncing or “pogo sticking” and tells the search engines that the user was not satisfied – you weren’t the right answer or solution to their search.” Over time this will cause your rankings to drop, as a high bounce rate shows a low value for that page.

Poor design mistakes to avoid

Poor website design can be due to a number of factors. Here are a few of the main design mistakes you should avoid at all costs:

  • Illegible text – Users are unlikely to engage with your content if your font is too small or difficult to read. You also need to make sure that your content has enough spacing and does not appear crammed. Use a readability tool to make sure that your text can be read and understood easily.
  • Large files – This includes images and videos that may slow down your pages. Remember that not everyone has access to high speed internet, and users are likely to leave your site if pages take too long to download. You should therefore use online tools to check your page load speeds regularly.
  • Intrusive Pop ups – While they can be useful, pop ups can cause frustration for your online audience and affect user experience, especially if they haven’t even accessed any of your content yet. This can hurt your SEO. You should therefore use pop ups carefully, and never in a way that appears intrusive or irrelevant.
  • Distracting sounds / colours – Web Blog PunkChip explain that “autoplay of embedded audio and video clips causes interruption to browsing, and so you should avoid making audio tracks or videos play automatically on your website.” If you do have a clip playing automatically, ensure that it’s muted. Don’t forget that offensive or distracting colour schemes can also have a negative effect on usability and cause frustration for your visitors.

How a great design layout improves SEO

Your website design should be simple, easy, and minimalistic. This will allow users to navigate your website with ease, get the information that they need, and spend more time on your site. All of these will significantly impact on your SEO effects and will boost the usability of your site. Remember that search engines like Google like it when answers are easy to find, and so content at the top of a page will always have more value.

When considering layout, you should make sure that text and images are properly separated using whitespace so that your pages are easy to navigate. This will help focus your readers and increase engagement without overwhelming them. Functional navigation is another important factor. A consistent header and footer is a simple way to improve user accessibility and will help anyone visiting your site access your content with ease.

How the right content improves your SEO

Once you have the perfect layout, you need to fill it with amazing content that makes your site stand out! This awesome content not only increases engagement, but it’s also a great way to get backlinks, as other sites will link to you if they feel that your content will provide their users with additional quality information. Remember that the volume and quality (the latter more importantly) of the content on your website will directly affect your SEO rank.

Your website needs to look good on all devices

 In today’s modern world, most people use a variety of mobile devices for browsing the internet. It’s therefore important to have a responsive website that can consistently perform on all types of mobile devices. If your content isn’t properly designed for every screen size, then your user experience with suffer, and you will have trouble getting high rankings in search engine results. Forbes advise that “mobile-friendliness is an absolute must if you’re hoping to make gains in organic search visibility, and it should be a primary design focus.” Tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you determine if your pages are accessible on mobile.

How to check the quality of your web design

To figure out if you have a good design, you can do some user testing. Using free services like Google Optimize is a great way to check accessibility and see where improvements can be made. You can also ask family and friends to visit your site and give feedback on what they liked, and if there were any frustrations or improvements they can suggest.

In summary, bad website design is bad for SEO. Good web design is therefore crucial to a successful SEO strategy, and when done well, the design of your website can help you to rank higher, which will lead to increased traffic, conversions, and profits.

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