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How does web design affect SEO?

If you want to rank your website higher and get more traffic, you really need to pay extra attention to your SEO marketing strategy. Website design can affect your businesses SEO performance in many different ways. First off, you need to ensure that your websites design is in line with Googles policies and is SEO friendly.

If you take a look at Google’s algorithm updates it clearly states that it favours websites that offer the viewer an enjoyable and pleasing website experience. You can post as many blog posts as you can imagine, but if your web design is poor, your SEO will suffer massive consequences.

Here are some reasons that show how web design and SEO go hand in hand:

Mobile Responsive website
You don’t even have to be in the marketing space to know how crucial this step is. In 2015, Google made mobile friendliness a key ranking factor. A recent survey suggested that over 50% of all Google searches are made from a mobile device, which shows the importance of ensuring your website still looks good in a smaller dimension. If Google algorithms detect that your website is not mobile friendly, your SEO ranking will be adversely affected and you will be missing out on a tonne of potential traffic.

Easy-to-Read Design
As you are probably already aware, content plays an important role in any SEO strategy. However, some businesses spend so much time creating high-quality blog content, that they completely forget about how it’s presented. A poor website design can make it very difficult for users to actually read what they came to your website for.

There are so many search results on Google nowadays, that most of your website visitors will not waste their time trying to read your poorly displayed text, when they can likely go and find the same information on a competitor’s site. Think about the colour of your text. Is a pale coloured text going to be easily readable on a white background? Most probably not.

You also need to consider the size of the font too, if it’s too small then the visitor may struggle to read it, but too big and you may have spacing issues. When formatting your content, you need to make it easy to read. Consider any white space, line length, and additional elements such as images as these can all affect how visitors take in your content.

Website Speed
Does your website take ages to load? It’s most likely your website design. Website speed is one of the most important factors of technical SEO and is the biggest cause of a high bounce rate.

Data suggests that the ideal loading time for any website is 2 seconds or under, anything over that and you run the risk of visitors becoming impatient and exiting your site.

Your website loading time acts as an important ranking signal, so it’s crucial that you make sure your web design is not slowing your speed down. Look at optimising any images, updating relevant plugins and using browser caching.

Navigation Design
A good navigation design will help users have a pleasant experience on your website, which is exactly what Google is looking for.

When users first come to your site, they will instantly form an impression. If it is slow or looks dated, then they will go away with a negative perception of your brand. This makes web design and the user experience essential parts of your SEO strategy.

You need to ensure that your website is easy to use, and that visitors can navigate around the site with no fuss. A good navigation design will allow users to find exactly what they are looking for, and therefore prompt them to stay on your website for a longer period of time. Thus, shows Google that your site is providing real value to its readers which will benefit your organic search engine ranking.

Heading tags
Heading tags are another essential ranking factor when it comes to SEO optimisation. These tags are used to show Google, and potential visitors, what your page is about. These should only be a short summary of what to expect once they click the link, but they are certainly worth some attention. Readers will most likely only take a glimpse at these title tags, so make them interesting and catchy – persuading the reader to click through.

With many of the major web design platforms, you are also able to optimise on page title tags, such as H1, H2 and H3 etc. Bear in mind that these tags are a context indicator and should include keywords related to your content as it shows Google what search terms it should be ranking for.

If your website is hard to use, difficult to read or slow to load, then users will probably leave your site and not come back. Likewise, Google will become aware of this and start to lower your organic search ranking so it’s crucial that your website design is up to date and SEO optimised.

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