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Good SEO Depends on Good Web Design

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When a business sets up a website, plenty of thought goes into the design. Professionalism and attractiveness are major concerns that seek to ensure page visitors can easily access the information they seek and fast. All that great work can, however, come to naught if your customers and prospects don’t get to see your website in the first place.

Enter Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO has for long been at the heart of internet marketing strategies. It ensures a website features prominently in search results thus outdoing competitors in the battle for customer eyeballs. SEO is broadly divided into two categories: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO are techniques applied on the website itself to make it easily understandable and classified in the eyes of Googlebot, while off-page SEO involves actions done on third party websites to increase traffic to the website in question.

Whereas both on-page and off-page SEO are important, on-page SEO has much greater weight because it affects your baseline and multiplies the effect of your Off-page efforts. If done well, it can ensure a steady stream of traffic with minimal off-page SEO efforts. If done poorly, the website’s reputation could deteriorate in the eyes of search engines.

Ergo, getting on-page SEO right from the get-go is vital and provides the foundation necessary to build an effective off-page SEO campaign. There’s no better time to ensure SEO is built in than during web design. When SEO is embedded from the ground up and is well thought out, there are lower chances of getting it wrong or having to re-build stuff from scratch in the future. We look at the various ways good web design can positively affect SEO.

Irrelevant Content Discourages Repeat Visits. On-Site Engagement Boosts Website Reputation

Google measures how people interact with your website to gauge its relevance and authority. If someone searching for something via Google stops clicking on and looking into any more search results after viewing your site, this is a great signal that they found what they were searching for.

Similarly, bounce rates and time on site have a direct relationship with your website’s SEO ranking. All of these are factors that could be incorporated into the website’s design thus engaging more people and ultimately boosting the SEO score.

Improper-formatted Content is Confusing. Start from the Content then Design the Layout

When search engine bots crawl your website while scanning the content, they follow a specific order. If your website is not designed with this flow in mind, it will make it harder for search engines to understand what each page is about and how it should rank in search results.

For instance, when the Googlebot crawls your pages, it examines the meta title, meta description, page headings, text content, audiovisuals, sidebars, footers and more. If your site is designed without images, headings or even text content, it becomes much harder for the pages to score well for SEO.

It’s not impossible to add content after the website goes live but that will require plenty of time and work to ensure coherence. It’s important to note that content layout is important for both search engines and site visitors. Using “lorem ipsum” content during the design phase sometimes become misleading. As a designer, You should review the actual content (or at least rough drafts or samples) and then design the content layout accordingly. The better the layout of the website the more trustworthy and professional it is perceived in the eyes of your visitors, and easily understandable and classified in the eyes of Googlebot.

Chaos is Repulsive. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Good website design is intuitive. The designer thinks through what menu items a visitor will be most interested in and creates a flow that will be easy to follow. Good navigation design is not realized in a vacuum. You could always go for something unique but remember it will take a longer time for visitors to get used to it.

Instead, look at current website navigation convention then build your site with that in mind. For instance, if a visitor is used to seeing the ‘Contact Us’ menu on the top right of nearly every website they visit, placing it in the same position on your site will make it easier for them to find it.

More importantly, good navigation makes Google index inner pages more frequently. In addition, menu items with descriptive anchor text help Googlebot classify your different website sections and their nested pages.

A Heavy Website Loads Slower. Make it Clean and Minimal

Page loading speed is one of the more recent factors used by Google’s search engine algorithm to rank a website higher. In the past, website designers didn’t care as much about the size of a website’s files since it mattered little except in irritating visitors who using a slow internet connection.

That however changed in 2010 when Google started to rank sites based on how quickly their pages opened. This forced web developers back to the drawing board as they sought to balance aesthetics with SEO considerations.

Loading speed can be determined by not just the business-specific content but also by the platform upon which the site is built. Many sites today are built on Joomla, WordPress, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento. A website could thus be slowed down by old code, redundant code, and heavy base content. Reducing the number of assets and files needed to load your page is crucial here.

Page loading speed is often fixable but if the problem is the underlying code, a complete overhaul may be the only way to go. Sometimes the problem is that your web host oversold the server you’re on. In such a case, you should consider moving hosts. The migration process could get confusing sometimes, but most hosts offer discount prices for new customers and free migration.

Googlebot isn’t fond of Single Page Apps (SPAs). Multi-Page Web Apps are Easier to Optimize

Over the past couple of years, Single Page Apps (SPAs) have been growing in popularity. Mostly driven by the rise in smartphone use, SPAs as the name suggests, load just one page when you visit a URL. As you browse around or scroll down, new sections are injected via javascript without the need to refresh the entire page. SPAs are convenient and readable, especially on mobile devices.

However, SPAs face a major problem: Googlebot doesn’t like them which makes it difficult to optimize such pages for SEO. The different sections of the page don’t really have a unique URL and instead rely on anchors (e.g.,,

Multi-page web apps, on the other hand, are well segmented with distinct URLs for the different pages. This also makes it easier to rank for different keywords on different pages of the same site.

Inconsistency Erodes Confidence. Stick with the One Narrative

One of the fundamental principles of branding is consistency. It’s a principle that applies just as much to web design and SEO. The structure of your pages should be the same throughout the site. This makes the pages readable, increases familiarity and boosts overall credibility.

Whether visitors land on your home page first or on a product-specific landing page, it should be apparent that it is your business they are dealing with. Consistency means maintaining standard layout, formatting, colors, fonts, content tone and naming.

If one of your customer service representatives is referred to as Melissa G. on one page, they shouldn’t be called G. Melissa on a different one. Consistency is about paying attention to seemingly small details. Failure to do so, however, has a significant effect on your page’s overall appeal to both human visitors and search engine bots. Increasing On-site Engagement helps your Google rankings because it signals that people found what they were looking for.

Absence from Social Networking Platforms Lowers Your Profile. Integrate Your Website with Social Media

The popularity of social media has skyrocketed over the last 10 years. While early pioneers like MySpace have stumbled and been relegated to the periphery, industry leaders such as Facebook have seen rapid growth. With more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is the undisputed leader. There are however other major social networking platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Internet users spend more time on social networking platforms than they do on other sites.

While social media is not a direct ranking factor for SEO, Google uses social signals to determine how trending and engaging your page is.

Desktops and Laptops are the Past. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

In the past, accessing the internet was done via desktops and laptops. With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, most internet users now primarily access the web through these mobile devices.

Perhaps in recognition of this dramatic shift in user behavior, Google has just moved to a mobile-first index meaning the mobile version of your website is now more important in determining your SEO score than your desktop version.

Of course, the desktop version of your site can be accessed on any mobile browser. It may, however, appear distorted and difficult to navigate when accessed on a smartphone. When you are looking at the content layout and menu positions on the desktop version of your website in order to boost SEO, make sure the mobile version of the site adheres to these basic principles too. The majority of your site’s visitors are likely to access it using a mobile device.


Today’s web designers have access to a much broader array of tools and technologies at their disposal to deliver great websites. Incorporating SEO considerations during web design is no longer the arduous task as it once was. By ensuring a website is optimized for search engines from the start, organizations are better positioned to thrive online.

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