At first glance, SEO and web design may seem like two different deals, and for the most part that’s true.
But think of them as two distinct pieces of the same puzzle. One cannot necessarily exist without the other. You can’t have search engine optimisation get any meaningful results without also having a high-quality website design, and even if you focus on creating the best website you can, you still won’t earn a top ranking without an SEO strategy.
Still, the exact nature of the relationship may be somewhat unclear to many business owners. Let’s fix that.
SEO vs. Web Design: Which Is More Important?
Search engine optimization is the process of improving a website’s user experience and lifting it to search engine standards, as a way to earn a better position in the search results page.
Web design, on the other hand, has to do with creating visually-pleasing sites that are easy to navigate. Even if we just go by these rough definitions, you can see how SEO and web design are connected, as you can’t talk about good user experience on a website that is not visually pleasing and difficult to use.
So in a way, neither are more important than the other because they go hand in hand every step of the way. Now, you may have some differences in nuances, with some saying web design is a component that lives within the SEO strategy, or as two different strategies altogether, but at the end of the day you know you should focus on both.
Moving forward, let’s dive deeper into the intersections of web design and SEO, and how they can work together to help your site reach higher rankings.
Mobile-friendly sites are now mandatory, and not just a nice thing to have one day. About half of the global traffic comes from mobile devices, which means that a good segment of your target audience will likely go on your site using a smartphone or a tablet.
Having a mobile-friendly website is a concern both for SEO and web design. For the former, well, search engines use mobile as a ranking factor, with Google even saying that for new websites it will focus more on analysing the mobile version of sites to rank them, and not the desktop ones.
As for web design, if you don’t currently have a mobile-friendly website, you’re likely looking at a long road ahead. It’s much easier to have a mobile-first design goal in mind.
A good portion of website design focuses on navigation because, in the end, you want users to easily go through the site and consume your content. User-friendly navigation must be intuitive, meaning that people don’t have to look long and hard to figure out what they need to click in order to find what they want. They should be able to jump from one page to the next easily.
Search engines care about your navigation as well. If there is one web page on your site that is not linked anywhere, check the stats of that page. It likely has the worst traffic. Users cannot find it, and neither can web crawlers, which means that a particular page will not be brought back to search engine result pages, even if there is relevant, quality content on it.
An SEO-friendly website is easy to read. Some of that comes from how you structure the content, with leveraging headings and subheadings to break down the content, and some have to do with web design.
Have you ever tried reading a blog post written in neon colours on a white background? It can be done, but it will give readers a headache, that’s if they manage to get past the first paragraph.
The font style, size, and web page colours are essential to ensure a website’s readability, as is the format of the web page itself. It’s vital to discuss these things with your web designer right for the beginning, and if you want some particular elements highlighted, to do it in a way that does not take from readability.
It’s why the simplest designs are often the best since they are the easiest for people to use. Pushing boundaries and experimenting with your website design can also pay off, but only if you don’t lose sight of the people who’ll end up using your platform. You should always design with them in mind.
4. Site Speed
Speed is another definitive quality of a user-friendly website. In fact, it’s another non-negotiable step. The amount of time it takes for a web page to load can be the difference between a user sticking around to read your blog posts, or them quitting the session altogether.
Ideally, you don’t want your page to take more than 1-2 seconds to load because your readers will not wait longer. Page load speed is another SEO ranking factor that can be optimised through web design by:
- Compressing images to reduce their size without affecting quality;
- Reducing the number of widgets on a site;
- Embedding big files such as videos on hosting platforms, as opposed to uploading them on your site;
- Keep a simple design without too many graphics that need to load, etc.
Over to You
The road towards a search engine friendly website often starts with your web design. It’s virtually impossible to build your business if the website, meaning your foundation, cannot accommodate the expectations that users and search engines alike have in 2020.
Do you need help with improving your SEO strategy or website design? Book a free strategy session with Australian Internet Advertising now to start your journey towards a better website, and higher rankings.