If there is one question any SEO agency will face, it’s ‘does web design really matter?’ Over the years, there has been so much emphasis laid upon keywords and content that many website owners and ecommerce managers have lost sight of the visual aspect of the user experience. Not only that, but functionality, speed and ease of use all affect SEO and UX, too. It stands to reason.
As our browsing behaviours evolve, so do the ‘rules’ for good SEO. By now, if you have some experience with optimisation, you’ll likely be aware that Google moves the goalposts for ranking highly on search results every so often. In fact, this is often so sporadic, professional SEO agency resources need to be on their toes at all times.
But why does web design – from the visual bare bones right down to the meta skeleton – have such a bearing on modern SEO? Let’s explore a few key reasons for this.
Responsive Web Design is Your Number One Priority
The bottom line is this. If your website isn’t easy to read on mobile, you are going nowhere.
Google pivoted towards ‘mobile first’ search listings some time ago. This means that they will show preference towards websites that have operational, user-friendly mobile pages and experiences. Therefore, if there is no clear evidence your site is built with any kind of mobile experience in mind, you are going to fall far down the rankings.
Mobile sites need to be fluid. They need to be quick to browse and easy to scroll. That means getting rid of annoying drop down boxes, replacing them with menu tabs and buttons. If there is any chance for your mobile users to pinch and zoom, you are going to need to take care of that straight away.
Thankfully, as any SEO agency worth their salt will tell you, it’s easy to set up a mobile friendly site. WordPress is just one website building engine that lets you create one design for fluidity across all devices.
That means you won’t have to worry about designing multiple sites for multiple devices. Plus, it ticks the ‘main’ box that Google really cares about.
Your Sitemap Needs to ‘Make Sense’
One element any ecommerce SEO agency will press you on which may not have considered is your sitemap. That, and the way your pages connect together. Google isn’t just looking for great content. Deep in your web design, you need to make sure that there are clear signposts to all of your pages, links and more. You need to ensure that anyone can visit you and will know exactly where to go for the information they’re looking for.
This works twofold. For one thing, it makes sense that your site’s design is clear to read, interconnected, and easy to follow. People are always likely to tap or click ‘back’ if they don’t find what they want, quickly.
Google takes sitemaps into account for basic SEO as it’s important for their crawlers, too. Google’s web crawlers will scout out your website and explore it, automatically, checking each link, path and avenue. If there are any gaps, or if there is little that makes sense, those crawlers are going to be pretty lost, and unhappy.
This is important for Google’s indexing. Crucially, you need to make sure that your web design is as easy to understand and to follow as possible. Otherwise, again, Google is going to throw you down the rankings.
Your Web Design Needs to Be Relevant and Useful
Again, we are coming back to the idea of user-friendly SEO. The UX, or user experience, has been a key driver in Google algorithm changes for a while now, and as such, all web designers and SEO experts should pay attention to what’s happening in their ‘visitors’ shoes’. That goes for clear site mapping, and it also goes for loading speed.
You also need to ensure that any visual elements you employ in your site’s SEO are relevant. It’s all well and good throwing a few GIFs out here and there, but Google wants to see what you embed in terms of multimedia, and why it’s important and relevant to your site, and your audience. Yes, Google cares deeply about media in all shapes and forms. Video, for one thing, has never been more important, nor more attractive to the average website visitor.
However, if that video content isn’t relevant, you’re at risk of throwing your visitors off the scent. Google, for one thing, will know whether or not your videos are actually worth watching, or if they have a place in your SEO strategy.
So – relevancy is extremely important when it comes to your ongoing SEO efforts. That goes as much for content, as it does for your overall design.
The Bottom Line is – Your Users Matter
The theme that’s run through our article is that the UX is perhaps the most important staple of any SEO strategy right now. A leading SEO ranking service will tell you that setting up a strategy means you will need to consider your readers and users first, and any other techniques second. Of course – it is all part of the tapestry of web design – but if your website is neither appealing nor useful to anyone in your audience, neither Google nor your potential clickers are going to take any notice.
So – where do you go from here? Of course, the answer is to sign up with a professional SEO agency that has years of experience with Google’s algorithms, and which is ready to help you roll with any further big changes they have coming up.
Digifolk is a flexible, professional SEO team ready to help you get your website ready for the masses to find you. Google may change things around every once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on arranging the best possible SEO plan of attack.
Call us now, or email Digifolk through our web form, and let’s get started.