For most businesses SEO is an essential consideration to attract users and build an online presence. However, while getting users to your site may be your primary objective, all of your work will be for nothing if you aren’t focussing on what happens once they get there too.
Web design is often overlooked with attention and budget focussed on SEO and advertising, but did you know the design of your site can also have an impact on your website’s ranking? Here, we’ll take a look at how web design elements can boost or hinder your SEO efforts.
A slow death
Page speed is a ranking factor that can affect your position on search engine results pages (SERPs) and can have a direct impact on your bounce rate and engagement.
Just 3 seconds is all it takes to undo all of the hard work you’ve put into your SEO campaign.
It sounds brutal, but it’s true. Online users are after fast, credible information. With an abundance of competitor websites that are willing to provide just that, a user won’t stick around long waiting for your site to load before they give up and go elsewhere. If your page is taking longer than 2 seconds to load, you need to make some adjustments.
There are a lot of factors that influence the speed of your pages, such as your server provider or browser caching. However, a lot will come down to the design of your site such as having unscaled images or too many plugins.
Mobile friendly sites aren’t a new concept and, really, if you haven’t considered optimising for mobile it’s essential you do it now. The fact is, more and more users are looking for information on the fly and are relying on mobile devices at an increasing rate. If you only focus on desktop, you’re alienating a huge portion of your target audience.
Mobile responsiveness doesn’t just benefit the user, it can have a positive impact on your rankings too. Google is continually reflecting user behaviour, which includes making an effort to become more mobile friendly. So much so that Google uses mobile-first indexing; Google primarily uses your mobile site for indexing and ranking before looking at your desktop version.
Sites that provide a better mobile experience ultimately better serve their users and could receive the added benefit of a boost in rankings.
It’s about the whole experience
Let’s assume that your page speed is ideal and you are catering for mobile users, are you providing a good user experience?
Not only can a beautiful design improve engagement and bounce rates, it can also help build a sense of credibility and trust with a user. Low quality images, large slabs of text, poor navigation, terrible fonts and colour schemes that are jarring or make reading difficult provide a terrible user experience and results in a site that won’t retain users – no matter how they’re ranked. SEO and web design shouldn’t be a one or the other scenario. For a holistic SEO approach, web design needs to be carefully considered and work for you in improving your rankings.