4 Ways Your Website Design Impacts SEO
When it comes to SEO, people oftentimes operate under the assumption that search engine optimization is only about keywords and backlinks, rather than about how the site is designed.
In reality, while including keywords in your website copy and earning links to your site from high-quality domains are both really important, there are more factors that matter in SEO – many of which have to do with the design of your website.
SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. By making modifications to your website content, structure, and design, you can drastically improve the likelihood of receiving organic website traffic.
In order to optimize your organic search performance, there are four key elements that come into play when prioritizing current SEO best practices.
In today’s world, having a responsive website is non-negotiable. In a lot of organizations, however, the mobile experience is still deprioritized, relative to the desktop experience.
Search engines like Google have explicitly said they reward mobile-friendly, responsive sites, too. If you want to test how mobile-friendly your site is, try the Google Mobile-Friendly tool.
- Header Hierarchy
Today’s online readers expect to find the information they’re looking for faster than ever: only 16% of users read website content word-for-word.
Headers provide structure and help give visitors an idea of the content you cover on any given page, which makes them less likely to bounce before reading more.
Furthermore, while the importance of including keywords in header tags (H1 through H6) has come into question, 80% of first-page results on Google use an H1 header. Not having one is like publishing a story without a title; the reader has no idea if the story will be relevant to them or not, so they’re pretty unlikely to dive in.
Another important aspect of good web design for SEO is the use of images. Optimize your images and compress them so that they will load faster for users. The images that you use on your site should ideally be relevant to your content. They should be related to the website and paired with suitable captions, titles, and any other relevant accompanying information.
Your website’s information architecture plays a crucial part in your user experience. How quickly and easily your users can find the information or functionality they’re looking for is reflected in metrics such as your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave without viewing any other pages on your website).
Besides causing you to lose out on quality traffic, factors such as your bounce rate, have a direct impact on your rankings. Search engines interpret a high bounce rate as a sign that your website isn’t meeting the expectations and your rankings for important keywords will be impacted accordingly.
Your site should be simple and easy to navigate. Users shouldn’t have to dig for what they need; your navigation should be straightforward. The same goes for search engine crawlers: the more barriers and URLs they have to sift through to get to the good stuff, the lower your SEO score. Clean up your navigation. Simplify URLs so they’re short and easy to remember. Remove any duplicates and limit categories within your URLs if possible.
A well-designed website ensures a better user experience, which is now a crucial factor in search engine optimization. It’s important to understand that these two aspects are now intertwined and both play an important role in ensuring your website remains at the top of the SERPs.