When it comes to out-performing competitors across your digital platforms, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the big daddy of online engagement. Website development and design have a direct impact on the success of SEO. So, how does the design of your website impact its SEO performance, and what can you do to improve it?
To answer this, we firstly need to go back to basics.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is an organic process for moving your website up the rankings of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. It is far removed from the direct sales approach of external advertisements and promotions to entice website visitors. By positioning your website near, or at the top, of search results, SEO increases the quantity and quality of website traffic.
The higher your website ranks, the more relevant your visitors will be, which creates a greater chance of converting them to customers.
How does the design of your website impact SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is not just about including the keywords and phrases people are using to search for your services. Yes, they contribute significantly to optimising your website, but SEO is a constantly developing landscape, thanks to Google’s regular changes to its search algorithms.
There are many key elements to consider in the design of your website to improve its optimisation.
There’s a lot going on in the background of a website to keep it high up the rankings that the uninitiated are blissfully unaware of. We’ll give you a quick overview but don’t worry, we won’t dwell here.
- Coding – the coding of your website needs to be optimised for different search engines. If the coding is easy for the search engine to read, your website will perform well.
- Design language – your chosen design language should be simplistic and make your website easy to navigate. Currently, HTML 5 is the most popular language within the developer fraternity, and used by blue chip companies. A complicated language affects the quality of the design and results in a low rating from search engines.
- Data-consuming adverts – ads that use huge amounts of data slow your website down which is frowned upon by search engine rankings.
Google’s algorithms are increasingly prioritising websites with video content, so including videos within your website design will drive more traffic. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, so video is a big player in digital engagement.
Including video on your website results in a 157% increase (HubSpot) in organic traffic from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Because people stay longer on your page to watch the video, bounce rates are also lower.
User experience is now a key factor in SEO. The design of your website, and how easy it is for users to engage with it, will directly affect your SERPs rankings. The key areas to consider are:
- Navigation – if a visitor is unable to easily navigate your site, they will click away. They need to be able to find what they’re looking for almost instantly. We’re an impatient society! Factors such as average time on a page, engagement rate, conversion rate and bounce rate all affect your ranking.
- Reading experience – visitors want an enjoyable and efficient reading experience. The design of your website has a direct impact on how enjoyable the reading experience is, and therefore how long visitors are engaged. Space out your text, use subheadings and write shorter sentences. Visitors do not want to be overwhelmed; they need to easily find what they’re looking for. The site should also be visually appealing to create a strong first impression and keep users interested.
- Slow loading pages – the speed at which your website loads directly affects your search engine ranking. The development and design of your website address this, and are instrumental in maintaining a strong ranking.
- Broken links – coming up against a broken link, or a generic 404 page, instantly puts visitors off. Standard 404 pages don’t provide options to go elsewhere on the site, so most visitors head off elsewhere. A bespoke design on your 404 page with a customised message will increase the average time on the page, and guide visitors to another part of the site. This positively impacts your ranking.
Why Choose Breeze Development?
Breeze Development is a web design and development company based in the north west. If you would like a no-obligation chat about an existing or new website, please arrange a free digital Marketing consultation.