Do you consider SEO and website design as two separate elements of your website? You shouldn’t. There is no point developing a slick website if nobody will be able to find the site online, and with over 1.2 billion websites on the internet, it can be hard for your website to stand out. To avoid having a website that is not ‘search engine friendly’, we spoke to SEO expert, Javier Bello at UENI, who outlines five ways SEO and Web Design can go together.
Research shows that mobile devices generate over half of global website traffic, so having a website that is mobile-friendly is essential to reach over half your audience. Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor in 2015, and mobile indexing was then introduced in 2017, which meant that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
Therefore, to reach a wider customer base and rank higher on Google, you should spend some extra time working on the mobile version of your site. Is your mobile site just as usable as the desktop version? Are your pictures placed in the same format? Is everything tagged the same way as it is on the desktop version? Understanding that mobile matters will make your SEO better and build your Google rapport.
2. Website speed
There is nothing that will make a visitor click off more quickly than a slow website. All your web pages should load instantly, otherwise, this can impact user experience and SEO performance. If you find that your website speed is lagging, chances are it could have something to do with your website design. Devote your time to optimizing images, removing unnecessary plugins, allowing browser caching, and so on. One study found that 88% of consumers are unlikely to return if they had a bad experience with your site, so it is crucial for your success that you have a high website speed.
3. User friendly
Everyone knows that content strategy is an essential part of SEO, but did you know that the presentation of it can affect your rankings too? Not only is user-friendly, intuitive design an underrated component of SEO, but it will ensure good user experience so that your customers do not click off your web page. Too many hyperlinks, text that is difficult to read against backgrounds, images that take too long to load, and pages with blocks of content in strange places are all examples of bad website design. This might erase the audience you have worked so hard to bring to your site. Treat Google like a regular customer and make it easy for consumers to take in your content, so they stay and click through your site.
4. Site maps
A sitemap is essentially a blueprint of your website that helps search engines find, crawl and index your website’s content. A good sitemap will allow search engine crawlers to more intelligently crawl your site, therefore improving Google rankings and bringing in more traffic. That is if your content is already well prepared and appealing to web users. To create a site map that makes sense, ensure that your design intuitively leads people to the right place and that your internal linking structure makes sense to you. This may sound like a lot of work, but effective SEO is a process and can be considered a technical art.
5. Fresh and engaging content
Without good content, it becomes difficult to create informative web pages or rank highly in search engines. Google loves sites that have a clear content structure, with easy to follow pages and keywords positioned strategically. Also, when existing content is updated it indicates to Google that your site is ‘alive’ and greater crawling frequency is achieved. Popular content included how-to posts, FAQs, and case studies. Use paragraphs, headings, and signal words to display your content nicely on your webpage, allowing for greater user experience. Lastly, if you display or link to related content on your site, consumers can click on another landing page from your site for more information, rather than looking elsewhere.
Javier Bello is an SEO expert at UENI.