SEO and web design have a thought-provoking relationship. Depending on who you talk to, you could hear a good argument on why one is more important than the other. But, when it comes down to it, SEO and web design are equally essential. It’s the balancing act of giving them both their fair share that leads to a successful web site.
Yet, with the goal of not sacrificing one over the other, your creative agency has gotta start somewhere. For our purposes, we’ll start with web design as it relates to SEO.
A designer must create a user-friendly, well-branded experience when creating a website. It needs to reflect design trends and best practices while following modern SEO standards. A solid web design takes a holistic view of all of the page elements around the content as well as the text as its own entity. That’s a driving factor for SEO — content. Without meaningful content on a web page, SEO will not be as effective. The site has to be sound from a design, content and user experience standpoint before it’s launched.
Now, let’s flip the script. How does SEO relate to web design?
Interestingly, Search Engine Optimization can steer web design. We’ve already touched on content, which is what most people think of when SEO comes up. But, with relation to design, SEO also involves user experience. Search engines are getting more sophisticated, and are looking beyond keywords and code to assess value. They’re now watching indicators like bounce rate and time on a site, which can affect SEO. Those factors are inherently design-driven. Basically, the more your users like your website, the more the search engines will.
Adding to the functionality of your web design, search engines will favor things like low load times, mobile page speeds, compressed design elements and image files, and simplification. When a crawler looks over your site, it will take all these things into consideration. When working through a web design project, make sure your chosen agency is aware or the impacts specific to SEO efforts.
Diving further into some technical SEO items that could be associated with a web design projects, make sure the following items are addressed that will heavily affect your organic rankings:
- Canonical Tag
- XML Sitemaps are operational and submitted to Google Console
- URL Hierarchy is as simple as possible (tiered system)
- Schema Markups (luxury to have, but not applicable to all sites)
A website that serves both the user and the search engines is all about balance. Those can be achieved by a blend of effective web design matched with SEO.