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HTML5 is the latest version of the markup language, and it has some implications for SEO. New elements—called semantic elements—offer an explanation of what’s contained in a section of a webpage, making it easier for search engines to understand what’s on pages.
Some examples of these elements are article , nav , summary and aside . HTML5 also speeds up load times, which is important for search rankings. If your website is coded with an older version of HTML, it might be worth an upgrade.
Search engines rank mobile-friendly sites better, and with good reason. A majority of users search Google on mobile devices now, so it makes sense they’d favor websites that offer a better mobile experience. You can create a mobile version of your website to load on smartphones and tablets, but utilizing responsive design—layouts that adapt to any device—is better for SEO. There’s only one version of code for search engines to crawl, so responsive sites get indexed faster. Plus, search engines hate duplicate content, and if you have a desktop and a mobile version, you’ll likely have the same pages on both.
Search engines factor in bounce rate for rankings. If users have a bad experience when they visit your site, they won’t stick around. Giving users an attractive, easy-to-use website with clear instructions will go a long way toward keeping visitors engaged with your website. Not only will you be rewarded with more website traffic and conversions, but you’ll likely see better search traffic as well.
Most people don’t consider the effect the layout of their website will have on SEO, but they should. Here, we rounded up five ways web design helps—and hurts—website search rankings.
3. Mobile-friendly means SEO-friendly.
Breaking up content with headers (like we did above), is a smart idea for more than one reason. Not only does it make your content scannable and easy to read, it also can boost your SEO—if you utilize them properly. Search engines weigh them by number (H1 carries the most weight), and the more keywords you can get into them, the better. Notice how we got the term “SEO” into all of our headings? That wasn’t an accident.
Here are a few website elements that translate to good UX:
We all know by now that content is king. Content supported by attractive, compelling visual elements is even better. There can be too much of a good thing, however. If you rely primarily on visuals to tell your story, the search engines will read your site as light on content—that’s a bad thing. If you feature a lot of videos and infographics, support them with summaries, transcripts, or related content on the same page. That way, the search engines will know what’s there when they scan your site. And optimize your imagery by always using alt tags on images. Google can even detect keywords in Flash, so many sure you call those out as well.
When most people think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they think of words. Search engines love new, relevant, keyword-rich content, and they reward the websites that have it with better page rankings. Search engines aren’t just scanning for words, however – they’re assessing your website design as well.
At the end of the day, the elements search engines are scanning for comes down to quality. How your website looks and the quality of the experience it offers are important factors for search rankings, either directly or indirectly. Good design coupled with good content goes a long way toward ensuring great SEO.
2. Heading tags help SEO.
4. HTML5 is full of SEO helpers.
Each of your pages should have a descriptive URL that describes the content on the page. Words should be divided by hyphens (NOT underscores), and you can include a few relevant keywords.
The basic design elements of your site should, of course, be determined by your designer. However, here are a few things they should keep in mind for SEO purposes:
Also, unless the body copy is being pulled from an existing site (or has been pre-written) and is included with your design specs, your designer should know to leave plenty of space for copy. You’ll need lots of informative, optimized content in order to rank well, and a design that only looks good with a few sentences of text will frustrate your SEO.
Having a site that is beautiful is useless if no one sees it, and having a site that ranks at the top of search engines won’t help you if your poor design makes visitors leave (which, in turn, will hurt your rankings).
Ultimately, the goal of both web design and SEO is to provide users with a great experience. So while designers focus more on the aesthetic components of a site and SEOs focus more on the aspects that help it rank well in search engines, the desired result is the same: A site that gives visitors what they want and helps your business succeed.
Get answers to common questions about web design and SEO in this FAQ!
Considering that design has to do with visual aspects, and SEO affects how a site gets found, it may seem like SEO and web design are separate sides of an equation. That’s true — to a point. Designers and SEOs perform very different tasks, and you shouldn’t expect one to do the other’s job.
You may think that the best way to ensure that your design and optimization work well together is to hire one individual who does both web design and SEO — but if that’s what you’re considering, be very careful. Those are two distinct fields, and it’s better to hire separate people who are great at each than one person who is mediocre at both.
The best way to address this is with responsive design, which makes your site accessible on all devices and browsers. Responsive design also eliminates the potential for duplicate content, which can happen if you have a separate mobile site.
If you skip SEO website design, you’ll often cost your business time, money, and rankings. It’s smarter to incorporate SEO and web design together because you can build a foundation for your SEO strategy via your website and its design.
Navigation is one of the most important components of a great user experience, and because of that, you should keep it simple. The easier it is for your site visitors to find what they need, the more likely they’ll be to convert.
Together, the two can have a tremendous impact on your company’s bottom line. That’s why, if you’re thinking about having a site designed or redesigned, it’s vital to know why website design and SEO are important — and what that means for your site.
SEO web design matters because:
Now that you understand the link between web design and SEO, let’s take a look at the specific aspects of your site that are affected by both and how you can optimize them for SEO website design.
In order to provide your visitors with the information they need to become customers, your site needs to be both functional and visually appealing — two qualities that a good designer should be able to achieve. It also needs to be easy for potential customers to find, which is the responsibility of an SEO.
Many site owners think that great design can outweigh bad SEO, or vice versa, and want to know which is more important. However, the answer is neither. To put it simply, strong SEO is what draws users to your site, and great design is what keeps them there.
Although large, high quality images are certainly visually appealing, your designer should try to keep file sizes as small as possible. Large files can slow down page load times, which not only provides a poor user experience, but also increases your bounce rate—and damages your rankings.
Easy-to-use navigation also lowers the chances that your visitors will get confused and leave your site, which can lower your bounce rate and improve your rankings.
The amount of influence your designer has over your site architecture will vary depending on how involved you (or your SEO) are in the process, but it plays a huge role in your site’s ability to rank. Here’s what to keep in mind:
A better solution is to hire a full-service Internet marketing agency. By allowing an established team of designers, developers, and SEOs to work together on your site, you can be sure not only that the final result will be cohesive, but that each aspect was done by a specialized professional.
Your images should all have descriptive, logical file names. Although it may require a little more work than simply leaving them with names like “IMG_0035.jpg”, this will help search engines “see” your images and put them into context.
An increasing amount of Internet users browse sites on smartphones and other mobile devices, and your site needs to be accessible to all of them. Not only will this provide a better user experience, but it will also help your chances of ranking well now that mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for Google.
You may think that copy is the only element of your site that can be optimized, but that’s not the case. Your designers should keep a few best practices in mind when uploading images to your site as well.
While designers may primarily focus on the non-text elements of your site, it’s important that they choose fonts and sizes that are easy for your visitors to read.
While Flash sites may look cool, they are extremely difficult to optimize, and as a result, they don’t have great chances of ranking well in search engines. Tell your designer to stay away from Flash, and your SEO will thank you.
The relationship between web design and SEO is a complex one, but we hope that this page helped make it a little clearer. If you have any questions about how your site does at combining the two, or if you are considering starting a design or redesign project, WebFX can help.
URLs with descriptive words (as opposed to random numbers and letters) will help search engines understand your pages, and they will also be easier for your site visitors to remember.
SEO web design refers to designing and developing SEO-friendly websites. An SEO-friendly website follows SEO best practices, like providing a mobile-friendly experience, fast load times, and descriptive URLs. By practicing SEO website design, businesses make it easier for search engines to understand and rank that company’s website in search results, which can lead to increases in rankings and traffic.
Both a designer and SEO should be involved the early stages of your project. This will help the designer create a site architecture that is SEO-friendly, and will also provide an opportunity for your SEO to see the intricacies of your site design.
Alt tags also help visually impaired users (and users whose browsers do not support your files) understand what is being shown, which is important for accessibility reasons.