Web Design And SEO - Working Towards The Same Goal
By Neil Kilgallon on Wednesday, 20 December 2023
When taking on a new client, it's important that they understand the relationship between design decisions and SEO. While they may want a design-heavy layout, it's important that they understand the potential implications design decisions can have on where their website will rank and how it will perform when it launches. As a well-established web design agency based in London, we prioritise open discussions with our clients regarding design decisions that may impact SEO.
The article will cover how web design and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can work together to provide a great visual experience without sacrificing search engine results pages (SERPs). It aims to help provide a better understanding, allowing people to make a more informed choice when embarking on a new website.
The Connection Between Web Design And SEO
A well-crafted website seamlessly integrates multiple elements that not only enhance user experience but also significantly impact search engine visibility and rankings. From intuitive navigation and mobile responsiveness to fast page loading speed and high-quality content, design decisions whilst building a website directly influence how search engine algorithms interpret and rank that site.
An organised site structure facilitates effective indexing of pages by search engine crawlers. Mobile-friendly designs align with Google's mobile-first indexing approach. Clean layouts, optimised images, and well-structured content not only attract users but also meet search engine criteria for high-quality, relevant, and expert content - factors crucial for achieving higher rankings.
At ID Studio, our design team is well-versed in SEO, ensuring that our design choices carefully consider the impact they will have on the technical SEO of the final website.
The Continuous Evolution Of SEO
Google continuously refines its ranking algorithm, which determines your website's SERPs. It adjusts this to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality search results. Website designers and developers need to stay up-to-date with these changes to ensure their websites continue to perform well in search rankings.
To stay current with recent algorithm changes, you must monitor industry news, Google's official announcements, and SEO communities. By being aware of these updates, you can make the necessary design and development changes required in order to comply.
If you have a website support and maintenance agreement in place with your agency, it is advisable to allocate a certain number of hours per month to ensure that your website remains up-to-date with these changes. This proactive approach will help to maintain the visibility of your website on Google.
Content Is King
High-quality content not only informs and engages visitors but also plays a crucial role in how search engines rank web pages.
As designers, it is important to embrace the challenge of seamlessly integrating high-quality, text-rich content into your web design. By prioritising typography, layout, content hierarchy, and visual elements, you can craft captivating and highly informative webpages that not only look great but also achieve strong SEO rankings. The key lies in striking a balance between design aesthetics and content depth.
Core Web Vitals
Google shook things up when it introduced a set of UX metrics called Core Web Vitals. These metrics, including Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), are ranking factors that can play a part in where your website appears in the SERPs. Websites that do not look to address Core Web Vitals will likely experience lower ranking. To comply with these metrics, website designers will likely have to tweak designs and may need to enhance page load times, interactivity, and visual stability.
E-E-A-T Signals (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)
Google has been highlighting the significance of E-E-A-T for determining the ranking of websites. Websites must exhibit experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in their content. This can be achieved by displaying credentials, citations, and expert contributions. It is important to plan and design the website in a way that considers the placement of these elements.
User Experience (UX)
User experience (UX) plays a significant role in affecting SERPs. Google's objective is to offer the most appropriate and high-quality results to its users, and it employs multiple indicators to assess the relevance and standard of web pages. Many of these indicators pertain to design-related factors.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): When designing your website, it's important to create clear and compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that prompt users to click through to other sections of the site. This involves designing buttons, links, and content in a manner that simplifies navigation and encourages users to explore your site.
- Bounce Rate: Designing an intuitive and user-friendly interface is crucial in the design phase. A well-structured layout with clear headings, relevant visuals, and easy-to-read text can reduce bounce rates by providing visitors with a positive initial experience.
- Mobile Friendliness: Mobile-responsive design should be a fundamental feature of every website. Your website must render seamlessly across different screen sizes and devices. Designers need to show the front-end coding team how the website should appear on common phones and tablets.
- Page Speed: Page speed optimisation is integral to web design. The more design-heavy the website is, the longer it will generally take to render. Make choices prioritising loading speed, such as optimising images and minimising unnecessary code. This will help create a faster and more enjoyable user experience.
- Content Quality and Relevance: Creating a well-structured and orderly layout for your content is a must. Use a clear hierarchy with headings, subheadings, and bullet points to improve content readability. Ensure that the design complements the content and makes it easily readable.
- Site Structure and Navigation: Design your website's navigation menus and internal linking structure thoughtfully. The design phase is when you decide on menu placement, drop-down menus, and the overall flow of the site to ensure that users can easily find what they're looking for.
Transparency With Clients
Transparency is a fundamental aspect of a successful client-designer relationship, especially with web design projects. It involves open and honest communication about the various aspects of the project, including the relationship between design, content, and SEO - and how decisions made during the planning and design phase of a project can have repercussions later on with SERPs.
The relationship between website design and SEO is not merely complementary but one of significant symbiotic importance. The design and SEO strategies should not be viewed as competing interests; instead, they should work in unison to deliver the best outcomes for a website's ranking on SERPs.
The key to striking a balance lies in understanding that high-quality content, technical SEO, user experience, and design aesthetics are all critical components of a successful website strategy. By embracing this interconnected approach and treating SEO and design as two sides of the same coin, we can create websites that not only captivate and engage users but also perform exceptionally well in search rankings.
Designers and SEO professionals must collaborate, stay up-to-date on the continuous evolution of SEO practices, and adapt their work to meet these changes. By doing so, we can ensure that websites have both style and the ability to rank high, delivering the best of both worlds.