The problem with anything that contains the word “design” is that people immediately think of it as having everything to do with looks. Web design, for example, is typically perceived as all about making a website look as pleasing to the eyes as humanly possible. That may be partly true, but web design is so much more than that.
As a matter of fact, web design has a lot to do not only with attracting visitors, but also with making them stay and helping your website rank better in the search engine results pages or SERPs. Yes, web design plays a crucial role in your SEO, and it’s about time it gets recognized for that.
It’s unfortunate how many webmasters train a lot of their energy and resources on their SEO work and pay very little attention to web design. What they don’t realize is that bad web design can impact their SEO, regardless of how exceptional the optimization work is. Let’s take a look at some web design issues that can affect your SEO.
1. Aesthetics (or the lack of it)
People are right when they think of web design as making a website look good, so when a website’s colors are off, its fonts inappropriate, and its graphics looking like they were created in the 1990s, we automatically label it a terribly-designed website.
And do you know what else a badly-designed website does? It drives people away. One look at the hideousness of a page and visitors will immediately bounce off to the next site. They also won’t be staying on that site for long.
If your website has subpar aesthetics and the bounce rate is high, you can be sure that Google will notice, interpret that as your website not offering any value to users, and your SEO ranking will take a painful hit.
2. Navigation issues
Your site could be the most beautifully-designed one on your part of the world, and people will still drop it if they couldn’t find their way out of the page they’re currently in.
A website is badly-designed when clickable navigation elements are nowhere to be found, or when the whole navigation structure is a mess. A search feature that works might save the day, but if even that is missing, then you can say goodbye to the visitors who probably got there because of your excellent SEO work. Now, all that optimization just went down the drain with their bouncing off to another site.
3. Unreadable fonts
Fonts that are too small or are practically invisible because of their color and background are far too common among websites. No one will waste their time trying to decode your content with fonts like those. They will exit your site immediately and check out the next website on the search results list, and it will probably be the competition.
People visit websites because of the content, so make sure your visitors can read them.
4. Slow page load time
Your web design is crucial to the speed at which the pages of the website load. Typically, sites that have extra large images, tons of graphics, or use custom fonts likely have slow page loading times. Considering that Google has already made it clear that page load speed is an important ranking factor, waste no time in tweaking your web design to make it lighter and therefore faster to load.
5. Annoying pop-ups
It’s bad enough that most pop-ups pop up before we get access to any of a site’s content. It’s even worse when the main content gets obscured by a pop-up just when we’re about to start reading it.
Pop-ups have their purpose, but using them sparingly on a website can do wonders for your SEO, mainly because people won’t be annoyed enough to bounce off to another site almost immediately.
You would think that with mobile users now outnumbering those who browse the internet on desktop computers, webmasters would be falling over themselves trying to make their sites responsive to take a bite out of that ever-growing mobile market.
Surprisingly, many websites still haven’t gone responsive, and it’s likely that their traffic and rankings wouldn’t be as high as they would want them to be. Mobile users tend to be a fickle lot, so if they’re interested in what a site has to offer, but it doesn’t display well across smartphones and tablets, they could easily move on to another site with a tap of a finger.
Also, remember that Google now ranks sites based on their mobile version, so you might want to get in on the responsive web design game now.
SEO may be important, but web design is just as crucial. And with the way web design impacts SEO, it only makes sense for webmasters to put a little more effort into the web design aspect of their websites.