Web design makes websites look good. What many don’t realize is that it also impacts—for better or for worse—whatever optimization efforts their webmasters have done on them.
A website can have lots of high-quality backlinks, well-crafted meta titles and descriptions, or have any other SEO technique applied to it, and still end up having so-so rankings and traffic. There are several reasons why this is the case, and your web design is probably one of them.
Let’s look at some of the ways your web design may be impacting your SEO.
People can say that looks don’t matter, and they’d be wrong, especially if we’re talking about websites. It always helps when a website looks great with impressive graphic design, perfect use of color, and appropriate fonts, among other things. Even a perfectly-optimized site that has none of the elements mentioned above will be hard-pressed to make people stay after getting there.
Problems with navigation are a common reason people bounce off to another website. Visitors won’t care if you have a beautiful web design if you navigation leaves a lot to be desired.
Organizing your site’s navigational structure is a step in the right direction. So are adding a functional search feature and making all navigation elements clickable. When navigation is easier, people are more likely to stay and explore your site further.
Some web designers love to incorporate automatically-playing videos or audio clips, which are admittedly cool most of the time. The problem is there are plenty of users who surf the net wearing headphones who hate them, for obvious reasons.
While there is nothing wrong with audio or video playing as soon as visitors access a website, it would be better if they don’t play automatically so they won’t annoy some users, and get them to stay.
Keeping pop-ups in check
Pop-ups are useful, especially if you’re trying to drum up engagement for your business. It’s just that some websites go overboard with the pop-ups. There are sites that have too many of them, while others have pop-ups that appear a split second after a visitor opens a page. They can get really annoying to the point where users just up and leave. As much as possible, keep your use of pop-ups to a minimum.
Mobile users have started outnumbering desktop users a few years ago, and from the looks of things, the gap could only get wider. The thing is, many websites are still not mobile-friendly.
Keep in mind that smartphone and tablet users have little patience for websites that don’t display well on their devices. One look at your mobile-unfriendly site, and mobile users won’t waste a second more on it, which is bad news for your SEO. If you want the best results for your SEO, go for a responsive web design now.
It doesn’t matter if the content of your website is superbly-written if the font you’re using is just too small to make it readable. Some even use colors on their fonts that all the more make the content harder to read or even see.
Aside from ill-advised font use, atrocious spelling and lots of typographical errors also affect the readability of your content.
It’s a good thing then that there are readability tools available out there. Run your content through such tools and make it easier for visitors to read.
Page load speed
Does your web design use a lot of large, high-quality images and graphics, as well as custom fonts? If the answer is yes, then it’s highly likely that your pages take forever to load, too.
Google has already declared page load speed to be a significant ranking factor. So if you can optimize images, reduce your use of graphics, and avoid using custom fonts, then that should help make your website lighter. Your page load speed will then increase and give your SEO the push that it needs.
The importance of usability testing
It is a fact that human beings sometimes get too close to their own work to notice any flaws that need correcting. That’s why even renowned writers have editors.
For web designers, companies that provide usability testing services can serve as the fresh and independent eyes they need to evaluate their work from all angles, including the way it affects its SEO. They will inform you of any issues they might find, and it’s up to you to act on those changes to improve your website’s usability.
There is no doubt that web design impacts SEO on so many levels. If anything, webmasters need to give their web design more thought to ensure that the impact it will have on their optimization efforts would be nothing but positive.