Web design is oftentimes overlooked as an important factor for ranking on search engines like Google. Much attention is paid to content, on-page keywords density and link profile etc but consideration to overall web design structure is frequently neglected.
It would be difficult, in an objective way, to discern how well your website is performing in terms of search engine rankings. However, there are realisable instances where SEO rankings suffer because of poor web design.
To get an idea of why this might happen, let’s look at what elements of web design affect SEO rankings.
Site architecture simply means the organization of information into logical groups that would allow visitors to navigate your site. A good site architecture with good flow allows for a positive browsing experience. Since site architecture has a direct impact on how visitors navigate the website, it is vital for SEO.
Page Loading Speed
Google announced that page load speed now factors into their ranking algorithm. This is because fast-loading sites not bolster a visitor’s user experience. If page loading speed, for the right reasons, matter to Google, then it should matter to you when designing and developing your website.
Navigation and Flow Of Information
When people visit your website (human visitors and search engine crawlers, like Google bots), they expect information on how to navigate through your site, just like when you visit any other sites out there. The more logical and intuitive the flow of information, the better.
Text Clarity and Readability
Having contents peppered with copious keywords won’t do your website much good. It is a fallacy that any content is king. Instead, your contents should be clear, easy to understand, unique and provide chock fulls of useful information.
Compatibility Across Multiple Browsers and Platforms
While a lot of attention is paid to design an aesthetically pleasing website, its compatibility across multiple browsers are often overlooked. You want your website to suit multiple browsers and platforms so that a wide web traffic, using different devices, can access it seamlessly.
Blinking, Moving, Flashing, and Scrolling Effects
The Length of Your Web Pages
There are two extremes in this scenario; web pages that are either too long to the extent of being plodding or are extremely short and devoid of much information. Either scenario does not serve to motivate to hold a web visitor’s interest. Long web pages are further made worst if your website’s sitemap, navigation menu etc are not properly implemented.
Too Many or Not Enough Pages
Another scenario to avoid is to have a website that either has an inordinate number of pages or is way to thin that only required a few seconds to browse through. There are instances, where, depending on the nature of your products or services, a bigger website is indeed called for. Then a well thought out navigation menu is critical. A general rule of thumb is for a website to house about 7-10 web pages, organised properly according to main categories. Scaling up later, with new information deserving its own pages would be a breeze.
Images of Very Low Resolution or Quality
We live in a high resolution age. Obtaining images with high resolution is easy and no longer costly. Therefore images with poor resolution has no place or reason to be found in your website. It speaks of your professionalism or lack of that either builds trust, credibility and confidence or not.
Too Many or Not Enough Web Fonts
Pop-Ups and Assorted Page Elements
Use pop-ups sparingly. Very sparingly actually. To most people, pop-ups are annoying and especially if they appear ever so often. It is a very distracting element that takes attention away from the main body content of your website. Another thing to avoid is to have too many annoying page elements that clutter up the overall design presentation of your website. Keep your website simple, informative and easy to browse.
When you embark on designing a website, the first task is to have a complete understanding of your audience in relation to your type of business. Your industry type, for example if it is lifestyle or industrial etc would dictate the look and feel of your web design. Look at your competitors’ websites and see how you relate to it if you were a consumer of their products or services. Know or develop a brand story that would resonate with your audience. In short, put yourself in the shoes of your customers and begin the design thought process from there.