Could Your Website Design Thwart Your SEO Efforts?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is sometimes viewed as quite an intricate subject that raises many questions – even though it’s considered a key area of internet marketing. One of the most frequently asked questions with regards to this topic is whether or not your website design will impact your search engine optimisation efforts. Well, the writing is on the wall – poor website design does harm your SEO.
Let us say that a potential customer decides to Google a product or a solution for a specific problem and lands on your business website or ecommerce store. That might be great news, though, if bad website design discourages that potential new client to engage with your website content, he/she will simply go back to the results page of the search engine to look for another answer to the initial question. If this happens, the search engines will be informed that the user’s question was not addressed adequately and, worse, that your business website was the wrong answer to their questions.
To help you create a website design that will help you with your SEO efforts, here are some examples of bad web design mistakes and a closer look at the most important components of SEO.
Examples of bad website design blunders
Text that is hard to read
The font that you use in your web design should be big enough to read clearly. Also, careful consideration should be given to the colour that will be used. At the end of the day, if your content is too challenging to read, your visitors will not stay for long on your website. Luckily you can use a readability tool that will assist you in making sure that users will at all times find your content easy to read.
Although a pop-up notification can be handy, it is a major irritation amongst Internet users, even more so if they are met with a pop-up before they have even looked at your website content. If you do feel a strong urge to include one, be sure not to use too many. Also, as a general rule, you first need to convince your target audience to trust your business or brand before you can gather their personal details like a contact number or email address. Therefore, do not let your pop-up appear the very moment that they arrive at your website.
Videos that play automatically
Let us make something loud and clear; loud sounds receive a resounding thumbs down. If you do want to let your videos or audio play automatically, it should be muted.
The reality is that unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with fast Internet (yet). Another reality is that almost half of Internet users expect that a web page must load in less than five seconds. Therefore, if your website design relies on many big video and image files that will lead to a slow loading time, it is something that your website designers must pay attention to right away. Luckily, there are online tools available that you can use to assess the loading speed of your website.
If your layout is cluttered, your website visitors are less likely to engage with your content, and as a result, they will probably just return to the search engine results page. So, what constitutes a good SEO-friendly layout for websites then?
For starters, it is good practice to place answers at the very top of your different web pages so that users can find the answers that they are searching for easily and quickly. For instance, when your key content appears below the fold (in other words, it is positioned in the lower half of the web page that is not visible without scrolling down the web page), your website design becomes “SEO-unfriendly”. Therefore, take another look at the layout of your web page and perhaps resize images so that your content can appear above the fold instead.
A second pro website developer tip is to embrace white space. By giving your blocks of text adequate space, you can boost engagement. All things considered, it should be easy for website visitors to find their way around your website. Therefore, be sure to make your navigation functional using your header and footer consistently.
If your website does not boast high-quality content that guarantees to impress, your website will not catch the eye. What is more, if other websites do not view your content as high-quality, you close the proverbial back door on your chances of creating backlinks (more about this later on in this blog post) – professional website design and professional content writing go hand-in-hand.
Ignoring mobile devices
Your website needs to look good all of the time, which means that it needs to be designed with all devices in mind. At the end of the day, your rankings will not improve if your content has not been designed for various screen sizes. So, be sure to use one of the online tools such as Google’s Mobile-friendly test to see for yourself whether or not your website design is, in fact, accessible when browsing via a mobile device.
Crucial components of search engine optimisation
Armed with this knowledge about these common web design mistakes, the following crucial components of the SEO process will help your website to rank higher in the search engine results.
Completing a website audit
To make sure that the different search engines such as Google can index your small business website correctly, it is very important that you complete a website audit. With the help of an audit, you can, for instance, make sure that there are no issues with the loading speed of your website (one of the fatal web design mistakes discussed earlier). Examples of other aspects that attention will be paid to include your current website content and backlink profile. As Google absolutely detests copied content, checking your website content during an audit as well is key.
Researching for keywords
Your blog posts will not be able to drive the organic traffic that you were hoping for if your website content has been created using the incorrect keywords. So, it is key that you identify keywords that can link up with the goals of your company. You can, for instance, make use of a mind map to help you with this step. Thinking about the topics for your website and blog posts can help you to come up with the most suitable ideas for the keywords that you should use. For example, if you have identified eating plans as a topic, one of the possible keywords could be vegetarian cooking. If you get stuck during your brainstorming session, it can be a good idea to reach out to your target market or participate in one of the forums that they would typically explore.
Once you have a list with ideas for possible keywords, you will have to revise your list by paying attention to search volume, keyword difficulty, and business value. Remember that you want to drive enough potential leads to your business website. Therefore, if you are using keywords that do not boast enough search volume or do not offer any value for your business, this entire exercise will be futile. To help you determine if a possible keyword offers enough business value, ask yourself if you will be able to tie your product or service to this keyword. If not, better scratch out that keyword from your list.
Also, if you only target keywords that are already too competitive, you might find that you cannot rank for these, to begin with.
Once you have identified the most suitable keywords to include in your website content, your next task will be to create the actual content. For starters, you will need to pay attention to the format that you will use.
By completing a Google search, you will get a better idea of the kind of website content, such as a blog post, video, or review, that is currently performing well. Your next step will then be to try and find a way to create content that will be better than what is currently ranking high. Maybe one of these topics can be explained more eloquently, or perhaps the top-ranking blog posts are outdated and missing a specific topic? It can also help to turn your attention to the user experience. It might be that the format or the size of the font of the top-ranking content needs improvement so that it can be easier for users to read.
Then, when you get to the stage where you can put pen to paper (or rather fingertips to keyboard), make sure that you concentrate a bit more on the following two areas: the intro and subheadings. Your introduction should be interesting enough so that your website visitors are encouraged to continue reading the rest of your blog post. It should also be concise, yet explain clearly what the article is about. After users have read your intro, they many times first scan the subheadings before they commit to reading the entire article. So, just like your intro, your different subheadings must summarise what the article is about, yet still manage to create some interest amongst your website visitors.
Writing effective title tags and meta descriptions
Your title tag and meta description are key elements that will help encourage users to click on your content. The secret to writing effective meta descriptions and title tags is to find a way to communicate which valuable contribution your page can make. Ideally, your title tag should not be longer than 60 characters, while meta descriptions should be 160 characters at most. Although it might be tempting, try not to include too many keywords (also known as keyword stuffing). Instead, the language that you use should be as natural as possible and include verbs and adjectives. You can also include numbers or symbols in your title tag to let your link stand out more.
In short, a backlink gets created when a different website links back to your website. In the eyes of search engines like Google, a backlink instills trust in your content.
It is a rather intricate topic, but one of the most important factors to consider is the quality of your backlinks. For example, it is better to have secure pages with content that relates to your business website and only a couple of links to link back to your own website. All things considered, it does take quite some time to get backlinks and, therefore, you want to focus on getting high-quality backlinks from the very start.
A few final thoughts
One of the most important points to remember with regards to search engine optimisation is that it is a process. Even with the right website design, you will not see results immediately. There are also no easy hacks. Instead, it requires you to invest effort and time.
You will also have to make sure that you are familiar with the behaviour of your target audience. Therefore, it is key that you complete user testing to determine if your web design is good enough and will meet the expectations of users. Luckily there are several services available that you can use to gather feedback with regards to your website design, the overall functionality of your website and how your visitors are interacting with your web pages. Alternatively, you can simply enlist the friendly and free services of your family and friends. They will also be able to offer some valuable insight into which elements had them in their element and what just did not work. The secret is never to stop testing!
Do you want your website to rank higher in Google search results? Contact our Sydney web developer team to find out how our SEO services can help your business.