Why Web Design Affects SEO (Part 2)


Help Visitors Jump Into Being CustomersHaving a sensibly built website with a good quality design can actually have a far more significant impact on your SEO campaign than your social media, backlink development and offsite content marketing all rolled into one. Remember that search engines like Google are businesses like any others and therefore want people to make use of their services. This means they have a genuine commitment to a) making money (like all other businesses) and therefore b) to ensure that the search results they display are highly valuable to real people, not just the search crawling bots.

This sort of thinking actually places less focus on inbound links and domain authority and puts the focus firmly on the experience users will have on the website. In the second of this two-part article we’ll take a look at how the importance of site usability and good conversion rates can make or break your SEO efforts.

What a lot of online marketers tend to forget is that SEO should be supporting the overall aims of your business rather than just dragging traffic into your website. You can get a vigintillion visitors a day if you really want and if your server farm can handle it (and yes, that’s a real number), but if none of those vast quantities of visitors are buying anything or picking up the phone to do business with you then your SEO campaign is in every sense an absolute failure.

We’ve already discussed in the first part of this article why you need to get a top quality professional website designer in order to avoid fleeing visitors, high bounce rates and all the knock-on woes this causes by negatively impacting your SEO. Once you’ve conquered the initial visitor retention bug bear, though, your content is back to being king of the hill. Of course any sensible and sustainable SEO strategy dictates that content is firmly ensconced in that position anyway, but it is also critical for engaging your visitors. Did you know that the longer a visitor stays and engages with your website, the more likely they are to get in touch or make a purchase? Your marketing copywriting therefore becomes critical – it should be top quality copy and have absolute zero tolerance for spelling and grammatical errors. Typos and generally messy text don’t just cheese off the literate community online, they make your website look unprofessional and will put users off.

Write For The People

Content Is For Users, Not RobotsThis should go without saying, but pay attention to what your copy is saying. You need to produce content which is designed for people to read, not search engine bots. Kick out any ideas and preconceptions about keyword densities and other such nonsense. Turn your user-centric ideas back on and write good, solid copy which is interesting and informative to real visitors. Good search engine optimisation will follow on as naturally as children’s happiness does from colourful piñatas.

Keep your text segments as short and sweet as you can, and intersperse liberally with images and videos in order to draw visitor attention. Short sections and bulleted lists are great for punching key points home to your users. Remember also that if your content is engaging, informative, useful or just plain funny then people are going to want to share it and link back to it, which boosts your domain authority in a 100% fibre all-natural way and will make even the most comprehensive artificial link-building scheme look like a discount freelancer with a rubber dart firing crossbow.

Don’t Ignore Navigation

Users Need To Navigate Websites EasilyWhile your site navigation is partially a design phase consideration, it also needs an immense amount of attention when populating your website with content. Pay close attention to the structure and layout of your menus and other navigation elements.

  • Remember
  • That
  • Nobody
  • Wants
  • To
  • Read
  • Any
  • Menu
  • That
  • Goes
  • On
  • Forever.

It is considerably better to keep your navigation menus

  • Short
  • Sweet
  • And
  • Concise.

The ideal length for most dropdown menus is about 7-8 items, as the human brain has difficulty processing and recalling lists longer than this (as anybody who has played an incarnation of Kim’s Game should definitely remember)! Also avoid lots of nesting into sub-sub-sub-sub menus that stretch halfway across the page like one of those endless staircase trick drawings. If you’re creating specialised landing pages for particular key phrases or campaigns stop and think hard before chucking them up onto the main menu – is it actually beneficial to have this or that page included on the navigation? Users hate messy and elaborate menu systems as they make the site impossible to find your way around. Big, rubbish menus not only kill your conversion rate but also up your bounce rate, which again kills your SEO efforts.

Summary: Web Design & SEO

  • To summarise then, why a professional web designer can have a bigger impact on your SEO than your offsite search marketer:
  • You’ve got under 2 seconds to convince a new arrival to stay on your site – a professional web design ensures a first class first impression
  • Professional web designers should also optimise for speed and usability to drop your bounce rates and improve visitor retention
  • High quality, engaging copywriting which is written for users, not search engines, helps visitors to engage with your site – as do images and videos
  • Ensure your website navigation is simple, effective and sensibly structured in order to keep visitors on the site and browsing

There’s a lot more to effective, search engine optimised website design than just the four points above, of course, but they make for a very solid starting point. Keep them in mind through the entirety of your website project and the chances are very good that instead of an atrocious monstrosity of a website that will send your marketing team trailing the halls and weeping, you’ll get a solid and effective final product that is going to help, not hinder, your ongoing efforts to boost traffic and convert visitors into customers.

If you’re baffled by blogs and lost in links, pick up the phone and call 0330 555 4680 today to find out how Cornish WebServices can help you build a sensible and sustainable set of online marketing to include SEOPPCsocial media and more.

PS we build beautiful websites too!

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"I was introduced to Cornish WebServices by a colleague who said that [their] advice and design work on his website had brought him to the top of the natural search pages in Google... That was in August and we are now on front page... Now searching high, bringing in customers, job done!... Thanks."

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