Years ago, web design and SEO were considered one discipline. However, these days, too many people think they’re two separate specialities with no connection to each other. Even some web designers believe they don’t need to understand SEO to perform their jobs to a high standard. They commit themselves to ensuring that a website looks great but without paying any attention to how it will perform once it’s gone live. They don’t always care about how it will rank.
Of course, not all web designers think this way, with the best recognising that the two skill sets of web design and SEO are intrinsically linked. Take a look at the website of Creative Brand Design. Perhaps the best-known web design agency in London, they focus on building websites that not only look great but rank well on search engines thanks to their vast experience in SEO.
Web design isn’t all about aesthetics; it’s about how a site is built under the hood. Design choices can have a serious impact on a website’s SEO, and this can affect its performance over its lifetime. Read on to find out why your web designer needs to understand SEO.
Improve search engine ranking
SEO in web design helps you improve search engine ranking. That means you’re more visible when potential customers are looking for something that you offer. Having a website is important, but it’s pointless if people can’t find it when they search for keywords related to your product or service. If you want your business to become profitable, it needs to be seen in Google’s search results.
The truth is that websites that don’t appear on the first page of search results when people perform searches can be regarded as non-existent amongst online users. That’s why you need to ensure that your website ranks well for specific keywords. Search engines will place your site higher up than other websites related to the same keywords i.e. your competitors. The best web designers will know how to use SEO to enhance a website so that it has a better chance of ranking highly in search engine results.
Attract valuable traffic
Getting traffic is one thing. However, you need to consider if the people visiting your website are potential customers. Incorporating SEO into web design helps businesses to attract visitors who are likely to become paying customers. This involves using certain design processes, features, style elements, widgets, imagery and content that appeal explicitly to your target audience. This doesn’t happen by accident either. Extensive research and testing need to be carried out by web designers. To attract the right traffic, they will dedicate time and effort to establishing who your target audience really is and what they want from sites like yours.
At a time when the majority of people now use mobile devices to go online, any web designer worth their salt should know the importance of making websites mobile-friendly. In fact, Google made mobile-friendliness a key ranking factor back in 2015, before introducing mobile-first indexing in 2017. Despite this, some websites are still not mobile-friendly, making them difficult to navigate and providing poor user experiences. Users are likely to abandon a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly. If website designers integrate SEO metrics from the start, they can make websites more responsive and encourage people to stay for longer. This can increase conversions and boost sales.
Boost website speed
One aspect of SEO that any good web designer needs to know about is the impact of site speed. Google has indicated that site speed (and page speed) is one of the signals its algorithm uses to rank pages. It is recognised as a direct ranking factor, particularly since Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. In addition, slow page speed means that it can crawl fewer pages with the allocated crawl budget for your website. This can negatively impact your indexation, causing you to rank lower. Of course, website speed is also important for user experience. Pages which take ages to load are likely to have higher bounce rates and less time spent on page. Longer load times affect conversions.
Easy to read design
Web designers who understand SEO are more likely to create sites that are easy to read. A site that’s hard to navigate can make it difficult for visitors to find and digest the content they’re looking for. For example, large blocks of text in odd places or light-coloured text on a white background can lead to people becoming frustrated and quickly leaving the site. In contrast, an attractive and easy-to-use interface will make it easier for them to find what they need and encourage them to stay longer. This helps to keep your bounce rate down.
Hire a web designer with SEO expertise
A company seeking an SEO optimised website might choose to hire a web designer to create the site and then an SEO firm to help with optimisation. However, this process is lengthy, unnecessary, and ultimately leads to greater costs for the company. What’s more is that the search engines will have already started their process of indexing the non-optimised website and began to score its relevance. They have made their first impression of the site even at this early stage. A better alternative is to hire a web designer who has SEO expertise. They can incorporate the most up to date SEO techniques from the start, saving huge amounts of time and money.
Search engines are playing an increasingly crucial role in the future of the internet. Therefore, it’s important for web designers as well as SEOs to be able to keep abreast of SEO best practices. This will ensure that websites are optimised for search from the very beginning. Web designers with SEO knowledge will be able to design a site that’s not just beautiful, but functional too.