There are two main groups of people to keep in mind when developing a website: visitors and search engines.
In order to be discovered by potential customers who are doing online searches for your products, your website must be search engine optimised. A well-designed, intuitive website is also essential for helping customers locate the products they seek.
Finding a happy medium between user friendliness and search engine optimization is a constant struggle for site owners, especially when there are hundreds of products to choose from. It doesn’t help that many organisations split their SEO and web development departments in two. It can be difficult to get internal teams to collaborate on creating a beautiful and successful website. The development team will work hard to keep the site’s visual and user aspects as simple as possible, while the SEO team will work to guarantee that the site has sufficient content to rank highly in Google search results.
How do you strike a middle ground when opposing voices are making competing recommendations?
To help you find a middle ground between these two objectives, this article will delve into what SEO web design is, why it’s so crucial, and the top 10 things you need to optimise.
What is SEO web design?
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of enhancing a website’s visibility in search engine results. Web design refers to the process of conceptualising, planning, and executing the look and functionality of an entire website.
If you put the two together, you get search engine optimization web design. It discusses the fundamentals of search engine optimization and the guidelines that should be followed by web developers.
Why is SEO web design important?
No matter how beautiful the design of your business website is, if no pages within it appear in search engine results, no one will ever see it.
It’s important to find organic (read: free) ways to increase website traffic and rank on the first page of the SERPs, although paid methods like social media and pay-per-click ads can help (search engine result pages).
Some of the best reasons to use search engine optimization when creating a website are listed below.
SEO web design increases organic traffic
Organic traffic to your website is any kind of traffic coming from search engines that hasn’t been paid for. These are people who have visited your site after discovering it in the results of a Google search.
More than a quarter of all clicks go to the top search result, 15% go to the second, and the percentage drops off sharply from there.
Since only 2.5% of users click on the tenth result, it’s safe to assume that results on pages two through ten receive negligible organic traffic. You should design and optimise your website to improve its chances of rising in search engine results page rankings.
SEO web design attracts high-intent traffic
When someone uses Google to look for something, it’s because they have a question they want answered. When they do a search and your page comes up first with the solution they’re looking for, they’ll naturally visit it.
They may not buy from you right away after finding your website, but they know who to contact if they have any further inquiries. Having your brand immediately come to mind when someone is looking for a product or service in your industry is a great way to boost conversions.
You should prioritise search engine optimization for your new website because traffic with a high intent to purchase is much more valuable than traffic with a low intent to purchase.
SEO web design improves the user experience
There is a 100 percent return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent on user experience design, or 9,900%. Your website needs to be search engine optimised (SEO) but also user-friendly if you want to earn Google’s favour. In order to improve your rankings, Google has modified its criteria to include metrics related to the user experience.
Some of these criteria are, according to research by Backlinko:
- Dwell time
- Mobile usability
- Bounce rate
Evolving your online presence Including search engine optimization in your marketing plan is a must. It makes sure your site is functional and simple to use, so visitors can quickly find the information they need.
To ensure that its users’ experiences aren’t negatively impacted by low-quality sites, Google will only rank the best of them. Having a highly ranked site inspires confidence in the user and facilitates the search process.
SEO web design gets the most from your marketing budget
It may take some time to implement an SEO strategy, but the adjustments are typically cost-free. A business owner who has some familiarity with their website may be able to set SEO parameters themselves, or they may delegate the task to a member of their team.
In other words, search engine optimization (SEO) is a cheap way to help your website achieve its marketing objectives and boost its return on investment (ROI).
10 things to optimize for SEO web design
Let’s talk about how to optimise your website now that you understand the significance of SEO web design. To ensure that incorporating these 10 items goes as smoothly as possible, keep SEO in mind from the very beginning of the web design process.
After all, you don’t want the web development team to spend weeks making the site, only to have the SEO team tear it apart later and delay everything even further. Rather, the project can be streamlined by having the two teams collaborate on each of these aspects during the design phase.
Google’s ranking of a website takes into account over two hundred signals. Nobody designer can possibly think of everything. Instead, prioritise these 10 factors to boost your page rankings:
- Website speed
- Image file names
- Alt tags
- Website navigation
- URL structure
- Indexable content
In 2021, mobile devices accounted for 55% of all Internet traffic. Expectedly, by the year 2025, three-quarters of the global population will rely solely on their smartphones to connect to the internet.
Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website not only helps with search engine optimization, but also guarantees that your intended audience will have a positive experience.
Consider this sample from The Sill’s website. The phrases “plants,” “house plants,” and “where to buy house plants” all bring up their first-page results.
The site’s desktop version looks like this:
The mobile version maintains the ecommerce site’s natural flow, making it simple to look for products and proceed to checkout.
Your website should be tested for compatibility with both desktop and mobile devices as you design it. Since Google’s 2015 release of a mobile-friendly update to their algorithm, which favours responsive sites in search results, this is an extremely important ranking factor.
2. Website speed
Now in 2018, load time also plays a role in Google’s algorithm. It makes perfect sense, as no one wants to deal with a website that takes forever to load. Google, therefore, will not show it to them.
Consider the following factors that may slow down your page:
- Web hosting
- File sizes
- Traffic volume
Fortunately, Google provides a free tool called PageSpeed Insights that allows you to enter your website’s URL and see how well it performs.
In addition to a score that varies between desktop and mobile, Google also provides a number of metrics that can be used to better understand and optimise your site’s performance and, in turn, its search engine rankings.
While Google has a lot of brains, it never hurts to lend a hand. And that’s why you need a sitemap!
Your website’s pages, files, videos, and anything else that can be found on your website should all be mapped out in a single file called a sitemap. Useful if your website has a lot of pages but not all of them link to each other.
This facilitates Google’s ability to discover and crawl all of your website’s pages, increasing the likelihood that they will all be indexed and subsequently ranked. After all, if Google can’t index your site, no one will find it.
Readability also plays a big role in search engine rankings. There’s no point in having a website if no one who visits it can read the content there.
Use serif or sans serif fonts that are both large and bold throughout your website’s headers and copy blocks to make sure everything is legible.
Take a look at this website’s striking, well-organized front page, where the headline and text are both a breeze to read.
Teachable’s value to users is immediately apparent. Using heading tags to organise your content helps search engines like Google zero in on the most crucial parts of each page, which in turn boosts your SEO.
Edloe Finch shows us that script fonts, if included in a brand’s identity, should be used sparingly as an accent font.
5. Image file names
Despite their diminutive size, image file names can have a significant impact on a website’s search engine rankings. Do not give anything the name home-page-header-final-2.jpg without giving it some serious consideration.
Substitute the lack of keywords with descriptive text that will help Google understand the context of the picture.
Here on Method’s site, some possible names for the images used would be:
6. Alt tags
Similarly, your images need to have alt tags. Many things hinge on this being the case.
To begin with, Google returns images for nearly 25% of all search queries. According to the statistics, 62% of younger searchers prefer visual search over any other method currently available.
Using alt tags, you can describe the context of your images to Google’s crawlers. Your image may be displayed in a user’s search results if it is relevant to their query.
You should use a full sentence, with a capital letter at the beginning and a period at the end, to describe your image in the alt tag.
Second, it makes you more available to people in general. Those who are visually impaired can still have a great experience on your website because the images can be read by a screen reader.
7. Website navigation
Developers of websites often give most of their attention to the site’s aesthetics and usability. Website designers and developers are concerned with how users perceive and engage with a page’s visual elements. They prefer to keep things as straightforward as possible, especially now that mobile phone users have overtaken those who prefer to use desktop computers.
Your website’s navigation, however, also features links to your most vital product or feature pages.
Check out this sample infographic created in Visme.
Their main menu is organised with drop-down menus that direct you to the most crucial sections of the site. That way, you can link to more internal pages from the navigation bar. For one thing, the number of links to your site grows exponentially for every page that uses this navigation.
If you want to see better search engine results placement for these subcategory pages, you should incorporate the keywords you want to rank for into the content.
Website navigation is especially important for large e-commerce sites that sell thousands of items.
The site navigation on REI’s website is exemplary of SEO-friendly site navigation because the links to the various sections of the site are large and easily accessible. So, if you select the “Snow” category, you’ll find a long list of subcategory links.
Having a specific page for this keyword is extremely helpful from both a search engine and a potential user’s perspective, as nearly all of the organic search results are subcategory pages. Similar to the above, when searching Google for “boy’s corduroy pants,” the majority of the top results are actual product pages rather than category or subcategory pages. Consequently, you may not need to create a separate subcategory page for that keyword if you optimise a product for it.
When trying to optimise for both humans and search engines, you should also keep in mind the following details:
- Organizing information using a hierarchy. You can create categories and subcategories to further organise the pages on your site. With more than a dozen products, it may be time to create a new category.
- Linking to related content on different pages. Blog posts, frequently asked questions, and other content produced by search engine optimization and content creation teams can drive more customers to specific product pages. Your search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience will both improve with the addition of horizontal links directing customers to additional content about your products and/or company.
- There is no need to use your brain. Your website should not require a lot of mental effort to navigate. Users should be able to easily navigate your site.
8. URL structure
It is important to incorporate your SEO strategy into the structure of your URLs as well. Your page and post URLs should only contain your target keyword.
It is imperative that you conduct keyword research for each page of your website that you intend to launch. Keep doing that with each new page you make.
This not only keeps your pages accessible but also helps Google determine which keywords to use in determining page rankings. This ensures that your URL slugs are simple to remember and type into a URL field because most focus keywords only consist of a few words.
Title tags and meta descriptions are part of the metadata (also known as meta tags) that describe your content. This is what you’ll find when you do a search on Google. Metadata optimization is essential because 36% of SEO professionals believe the title tag to be the most important SEO element.
Listed below is an actual search result from Shopify:
Your page’s or post’s primary keyword should also be included in the title tag and meta description to boost SEO. The length of your title tag should not exceed 60 characters, and the length of your meta description should not exceed 160 characters.
10. Indexable content
The likelihood of a page appearing in search engine results pages increases if search engines have an easy time “crawling” it, or exploring, reading, and understanding the content on each page of the site.
The primary content on each page should be in HTML text format, as this helps search engines like Google best understand the page’s topic.
When search engines can easily “crawl” a website, that means they can easily explore, read, and understand the content on each page of the website, the website is considered to be “search engine optimised.”
You should also make sure Google can easily crawl and index your site’s content. To see if the site’s content is accessible, just do a quick Google search using the text from a specific page.
Users prefer a site that loads quickly because 40% of them will leave if it takes longer than three seconds. It serves the interests of both groups to produce a site that is attractive, informative, and quick to load.
Walking the line between SEO and design
Integrating web development and search engine optimization is the key to a successful website. You should push your teams to collaborate right from the start to ensure that your website is optimised for both search engines and users.
Always keep in mind that the best way to rise in search engine rankings is to genuinely help your customers. You can improve your search engine rankings by optimising the aforementioned factors, producing high-quality content, and crafting engaging user experiences.