How SEO and Web Design Go Together
Posted by Leisa Redmon | July 2, 2020
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for any business with an online presence.
There, we said it.
Your website is your company’s first impression, and all its digital roads lead back to your business’s personal slice of online real estate. Yet even with such high value placed on a company’s website, too many companies still believe SEO and web design to be mutually exclusive of one another.
Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not a “sprinkle in later” type of process. In order to extract the most value, SEO should be baked into the design of your website.
Let’s take a look at how SEO and web design go together.
Google made the mobile-friendliness of a company’s site a ranking factor in 2015. And, in 2017, Google doubled-down on its efforts with the introduction of mobile-first indexing – a method of indexing in which Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
- By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales.
- 35% of people who searched on their phone spent more than they expected in the store.
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.
The mobile-friendliness of your website is extremely important for any business, now more than ever, and directly affects your company’s ability to sit at the top of Google’s SERPs. For many businesses, it’s important to assume your audience is coming to you from a search completed on a smartphone. This means it’s important to have a website that functions the same on desktop as it does on mobile. If you’re not accessible to them in that format, you’re going to quickly lose that sale.
We’ve said this before, but it’s worth stating again: your company’s website is a visitor’s first impression with your brand. This means customers, readers, and web visitors are making immediate judgments about your brand and your company’s capabilities.
Fast speed? Professional and on-trend. Slow speed? Outdated and out-of-touch.
While, sure, there will always be users who are impatient or those who have a poor internet connection, according to Neil Patel, 79% of online shoppers won’t go back to a website if they’ve encountered difficulty with load speed. To that point, if a visitor approaches a website that has slowed down due to multiple videos loading, the odds of them bouncing is exponentially higher which in turn results in a lower site ranking. Once your company has earned a website visit, you don’t want to lose them immediately because your site takes too long to load.
Regardless of whether or not your company’s site is quick or slow, your visitors will respond accordingly. So, if you want them to stick around, we suggest making sure the topic of “fast website speed” is approached when evaluating the design of your website.
Keywords and usability within a website engage in a symbiotic relationship, working in tandem to attract visitors to, and through, a site. According to Google, a sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. They not only help in providing visitors guidance on how to navigate a site, but they also furnish search engines with directions on where to go when looking to crawl content on your website.
Web crawlers usually use links within the website to discover different pages. However, sitemaps help supplement this information by picking up all URLs and use a site’s metadata to achieve a deeper understanding of a website’s content.
To this point, sitemaps should be seen as a centralized content planning tool. They can be visualized as a family tree in that they can be broken down into menus and submenus based on hierarchy of needs or priority. Sitemaps can delineate and clarify strategy goals, help in avoiding duplicate content, and ensure your entire team is on the same page. If your business already has a steadfast digital marketing strategy, creating a sitemap during the design process will ensure your strategy is streamlined, executed, and working for the betterment of your business.
Pages and pages of clunky text next to outdated media, and tiny text or icons that are far too large, are sure ways to lose a visitor’s attention. Not only that, but if your content and design are difficult to crawl, your company will have an uphill battle trying to reach the top of Google’s search engine rankings.
You want your web visitor to have found your business because what they found in the search results solved a pain point. And, once a visitor’s attention has been captured, it’s all the more important to keep it.
Having a clear idea of how you want your website to perform allows for easier creation for developers as well as easier navigation for visitors. When designing your company’s website, it’s critical to have the user in mind. Is your content interesting? Are your photos and video professional? Is your website’s format intuitive? Whatever the case, if a site has distasteful formatting, design and/or content, a company’s website visitor will quite literally bounce.
SEO is neither black magic nor instant. Achieving a high-ranking in search engine results requires intentionality, especially during the process of designing your site.
Learn more about how Primitive blends smart design with smart strategy by scheduling your free consultation today.