There are many who believe that to be found online, you need a good website. While this is a good start, it takes more than a nice-looking website to improve your online visibility and drive traffic. It is important for your website to be designed and built to incorporate SEO elements. When you have a good website that is properly optimized, then you will start appearing in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and get more visitors.
In this guide, we will explain the importance of SEO web design as well as the SEO principles that you must incorporate into your web design. If you need the help of an expert to design a website for your company or revamp your existing website, Proceed Innovative provides complete SEO web design services. Our experts will ensure that your website is user friendly and well optimized to appear high in the SERPs.
SEO Web Design
Before delving into the principles of SEO web design, it is important to define what it is. SEO web design refers to the design and development of a website that incorporates SEO best practices. The SEO elements of web design will help search engines like Google better understand and rank your website which will improve your position in the SERPs and help drive more traffic.
The following are common questions businesses may have when it comes to the relationship between SEO and web design.
How is SEO related to web design?
Your website and the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website are both done to accomplish the same goal, creating an excellent user experience. The design of your website creates a great user experience with an aesthetically appealing design and smooth navigation while the SEO aspect of your website makes it easier to be found in related searches. When SEO and web design work together, more people will find your website and have a good experience during their visit.
Is one more important than the other?
To answer this question bluntly, no. The web design and SEO of a website are both equally important. A good web design will not make up for the lack of SEO as no one will be able to find your website. Conversely, having a website with excellent SEO but a poor design will cause users who arrive to your website to immediately leave. Therefore, your website must have a great design and strong SEO for the complete user experience.
This means that when you build a new website or redesign your existing site, you need to make sure that good web design and SEO principles are incorporated into your new site. You must also keep the following in mind when it comes to SEO web design:
- Web design without SEO can hurt your rankings: If you build a new website or redesign your website with a new domain, you can lose your rankings if you do not set up 301 redirects to send visitors to your new domain.
- SEO may dictate design choices: Some SEO principles that you should incorporate into your web design include user friendly navigation, mobile responsiveness, and fast loading times. Each of these principles will affect the design itself.
How should web design and SEO be implemented?
A common mistake that businesses make is hiring one professional to design and build their website and hiring a second professional to handle the SEO after the website is built. If you do choose to work with two different professionals, it is important that they are both heavily involved with your web design project from the beginning. This will help ensure that the web design professional develops a design that incorporates the SEO elements recommended by the SEO professional.
The best course of action here is to work with a full-service digital marketing agency like Proceed Innovative that provides expert web design and SEO services. Our web design professionals work closely with our SEO experts to ensure that the website is built with SEO principles from the beginning.
SEO Elements to Incorporate into Your Web Design
When designing and building your new website, you must incorporate the following SEO principles:
Before the design of your website begins, you must decide on the code format used to design your website. It is recommended to use either HTML or CSS code because both code types are easy to optimize. Stay away from Flash and other similar coding because it is difficult to optimize websites built with this coding.
The mobile friendliness of your web design is extremely important. More online searches are done using mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers and Google has made mobile friendliness a priority with its mobile-first indexing that it introduced in 2017. If your website does not load or display properly on mobile devices, you will not only have a high bounce rate from mobile users, but you will also get poor rankings from Google.
The design for your website must be responsive so that it displays and functions properly on mobile devices.
As always in the world of SEO, content is king. It is important for your website design to incorporate the content in a way that is easy for users to read. You must consider format, font type, font color, and font size and ensure that your textual content can be read easily on desktops and mobile devices. There also needs to be enough space to put a decent amount of content on the page as longer, well-optimized textual content is more likely to rank well than a page with only a couple of sentences of content.
The speed in which your website loads on desktops and mobile devices is an important SEO element. Loading speed is one of the known metrics Google uses to determine rankings because fast loading websites enhance the user experience. If your website loads slowly, you will lose rankings with Google and have a high bounce rate. Slow loading speeds will also slow down Google as it crawls your website, resulting in fewer indexed pages.
Approximately half of the users who land on your website are likely to leave if your website cannot load within three seconds. Therefore, the ideal loading time is no more than two seconds. There are several things you can do to help your website load faster including removing plugins and optimizing your images.
It is important for your website to have navigation that is easy to use and understand. Make sure your top and side navigation menus and dropdown menus function properly and that the links in your navigation menus are arranged in a way that makes sense. Easy navigation will enhance the user experience and make them more likely to visit more pages of your website.
While the navigation menus within your web design help users navigate your website, the sitemap helps search engines crawl your website. A sitemap shows the structure and importance of your website’s pages and it guides search engines like Google as they crawl your website. There is also metadata in your sitemap that can help boost the rankings of your website.
Your website should have what are referred to as descriptive URLs that describe each page and include keywords. Make sure the words in your URLs are divided by hyphen instead of underscores. Taking control of your URL structure and incorporating relevant keywords will help your website rank better than if your URLs contained random numbers and letters.
When uploading images to your website, there are several steps you must take to ensure that the images are properly optimized. You can optimize the images in the following ways:
- Image file names: Make sure the images you upload have descriptive file names. You can use keywords in the image file names that will be seen by the search engines.
- Image file size: Large image files may look great, but they can slow the loading speed of your website. You should use small image files that load faster but still look good on your website.
- Alt tags: Alt tags are the text tags that appear when a user hovers the mouse over the image. These alt tags provide a description for the image that informs search engines of the nature of the image. The alt tags also make your website more accessible for those who are visually impaired as they can read the description if they cannot see the image.
Professional SEO Web Design from Proceed Innovative
A website should never be designed and built in a vacuum that avoids SEO principles. It is important for SEO elements to be incorporated into your website from the beginning to ensure that your new web design not only looks good but is well optimized to enhance the user experience and rank well in the SERPs.
The best way to ensure that your website is designed with SEO principles is to work with a digital marketing agency like Proceed Innovative that provide professional web design and expert SEO. Our web design professionals understand the SEO elements that should be incorporated into every web design and our SEO experts can fully optimize your new website using best practices.