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January 8, 2020

How Website Design Affects SEO (and what to do about it)

Do web design practices affect SEO?

Do you often see digital marketers and web developers clashing over decisions on SEO and website design?

The answer to both these questions is an emphatic yes.

If anything, Google started giving preference to responsive websites in its SERPs since April 2015!

That means digital marketers need to focus on building responsive websites while implementing their SEO strategies on the website.

Keeping that in mind, digital marketers have to make sure that they are bringing together a complete experience for website visitors that prompts them to return to a business. Some digital marketers insist business owners focus on engaging with visitors. That’s why many businesses add live chat to their WordPress website to increase website engagement. 

However, some insist businesses should aim to strike the perfect balance of website design with SEO.

Factoring SEO into Web Design

Try and answer this first – What does SEO stand for in web design?

To have a comprehensive understanding of how changes in web design practices can impact strategies in search engine marketing can take years.

There is a lot to learn, and it certainly isn’t easy. And, it cannot be done overnight.

For a beginner in the field, the initial training will be focused on the basics of how search engines rank websites, check landing page performance, and keep track of search query results being delivered.

In the last 20 years, the underlying foundation of search engine optimization has not changed much, but the technical bits have undergone a lot of transformation.

Websites can range from a couple of pages to mammoth-sized sites containing thousands of pages. The complex data architecture creates navigation roadblocks, shoots instructions to search engine bots, and tells them what needs to be done.

And that is just the backend.

What you see and use in the front end requires a lot of planning too.

Unless you have an adequate understanding of its importance, you will have clients who remain unhappy with the end product. After all, website owners seek the best of design with SEO.

How Web Design Affects the Website’s SEO and What Can You Do about It?

Web design is probably the most crucial element of SEO strategies that dictates the future performance of the business. 

Web developers have been keen to adopt a more unified strategy combining SEO and web design best practices. For example, if you are designing a landing page for WordPress, keywords in the overall content of the webpage have a vital role to play in promoting search rankings.

The design element will determine the smart insertion of these keywords in meta descriptions, title tags, etc. However, SEO trends are constantly evolving; therefore, you must perform thorough research on keyword relevancy before using them on your page.

Bad Design Can Result in Bad SEO

A specific keyword helped visitors land on your website, but a poor page design will not encourage any further engagement with the content of the site.

This, in turn, can hurt search engine rank because the behavior of the visitor suggests that your business has not been able to deliver the desired result for the relevant keyword.

You can do the following:

  • Keep the background white and clean
  • Use text with large fonts that are easier to read
  • Divide content into headings, sub-headings, bullet points, wherever applicable
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs enabling more natural consumption of the content
  • Make use of images, infographics, videos to keep the layout interesting for the user

Web Page Load Speed

The typical wait time for a user to bounce back to the search results page is 2 to 3 seconds. The primary search engine criteria to rank your website depends on how quickly your web page loads. Moreover, reduced page load speed impacts subsidiary performance parameters like bounce rate, click-through-rate, and can lead to a dip in search rank.

Follow these tips to minimize load time:

  • Remove flash content or large image files
  • Use more compressed images and CDN if possible
  • Minimize HTTP requests
  • Minimize the use of redirects
  • Use a caching solution
  • Upgrade your web hosting solution

Layout and SEO

Web pages cluttered with content or having a haphazard design makes it difficult for visitors to engage with your site actively.

Here is what you can do:

  • Add relevant keywords to the title of the images, a descriptive and keyword-rich alt text to each image you use
  • The menu should be simple with limited items and available on all pages for easy access
  • Keep the main menu simple. Limit the number of items on the menu to avoid confusion.
  • Use simple and familiar terms
  • Add a search bar so your website users can easily find a web page that they are searching
  • Make sure that the URL for each web page is clear, concise, and descriptive

Conversion rates are bumped up when your web page layout is clean and crisp. It makes searching for information on your site so much more straightforward, thereby encouraging consumer engagement at various levels. Ultimately, your SERP rank gets better too. Having free space and sufficient image spacing improves user experience as well.

Add a Live Chat Plugin to your WordPress Site

Although not directly relevant to web page design, adding a WordPress live chat plugin can undoubtedly help in minimizing bounce rates, thus, increasing visitor time spent on the site. This results in generating a higher SEO score for your website according to Google algorithms and methods of ranking.

ProProfs Live Chat WordPress plugin is a multi-faceted technology that offers a solution for an agent to engage with customers, providing them with support on various aspects of business operations. To achieve SEO success, having a live chat for WordPress integration is probably the final piece of the puzzle.

Wrapping Up

SEO and web design have in the past been two separate aspects of digital business. However, the dynamics have now changed. Even though a well-designed website ensures footfall, it is SEO that can retain your prospects and convert them into hardcore sales.

Today, the lines between SEO and web design are somewhat blurred. Both are significant contributors to your site being on top of the SERPs.


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David is a customer service expert. As a customer service strategist and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered unique strategies to website owners who wish to learn deeply about WordPress Live Chat Plugin to build a delightful experience. Follow David @Davidmiller4312 or connect on LinkedIn.

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