Website Design and SEO: How They Relate and Why It Matters
As website design and functionality options have expanded, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends while neglecting best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. When building a site, it’s crucial to think about website design and SEO, how they relate and why it matters.
When you are creating a website, there are two significant aspects to consider: consumers and search engines. You need an SEO-friendly website to rank on searches when consumers look for your products. But you also need a creative, user-friendly website so consumers can find what they want to buy.
Often sites look great but aren’t search engine-friendly, or vice versa—finding that happy medium is the key. As a business owner, you need to find that balance between these things and create an appealing website that’s also functional. Let’s explore the crucial connection between website design and SEO.
Consider different design layout options.
The design of your site must fit with the content. With the proper layout, your content can shine, but content can become overwhelming, uninspiring, and hard to read with the wrong one.
Luckily, there are some different layout options to give you the best of both worlds. Some layout trends that will make optimizing your site easy include:
- Fullscreen image layout – With a large visual placed front-and-center, a full-screen image layout will result in an attention-grabbing home page design that will compliment quality content nicely.
- Single column layout – This basic website layout includes all its content in one vertical column. It’s a simple, straightforward design.
- Split-screen layout – A split-screen design creates a perfect balance by splitting the screen down the middle. This precise division into two parts lets each section express different concepts.
- Magazine layout – Taking inspiration from printed magazines and newspapers, the magazine website layout showcases a multi-column framework to create a complex visual hierarchy.
- Asymmetrical layout – This stylish layout divides up website composition, but the two parts are not equal, unlike the split-screen. This lopsided balance from one side to the other creates visual movement, making the design feel more dynamic.
- Z-pattern layout – Most viewers quickly scan a new website to get a brief overview. This fast scan is often done in the shape of the letter Z or zig-zag form, so the Z-pattern appeals to the reader’s style.
- F-pattern layout – This design is based on typical page scanning behavior like the Z-pattern. We tend to skim or read the information in an F shape with more copy-heavy web pages.
- Horizontal strips layouts – This website layout breaks up the long scroll of the webpage into full-width strips
- Cards layout – A card layout uses multiple boxes or other square-style containers to display diverse content.
- Box-based layout – The box-based or grid-based website layout merges multiple pieces of content into one geometric design. With each bit of information neatly constrained into a box, the elements don’t overshadow one another.
Think about desktop and mobile devices.
The format and functionality differences between desktop and mobile devices put many website owners in a dilemma. Some choose to create a separate site for smartphones and tablets, giving them two URLs—one for mobile and one for desktop.
The problem with this tactic is that one portion of your external links would go to your mobile site URL, while the other goes to your desktop URL. It essentially divides your SEO rank. Google recommends using a responsive design to give users the best possible experience on any device. Responsive websites ensure content looks great on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
SEO best practices.
Aside from more recent website trends and options, there are basic best practices to consider when considering website design and SEO. Remembering to include:
- Appropriate titles and alt text for your images will go a long way. Both titles and alt text should be accurate and descriptive; they are used to describe your images to people who may not be able to see them while also enabling search engines to understand what images are.
- You should incorporate relevant keywords, without keyword stuffing, into your titles and alt text—just as you would while writing website copy.
- Many site owners fail to realize the negative impact a cyberattack can have on a website’s search rankings. Google, however, is paying attention for a variety of reasons. If your website lacks security and Google takes notice, your site could be in some SEO trouble.
- Having a social media plan as part of your SEO strategy could make your organization more visible while also providing a platform to share content and showcase your company’s brand.
Content versus imagery.
Live text versus imagery is probably one of the biggest struggles designers and search engine marketing specialists face. Designers want visually appealing sites that provide a worthwhile user experience, while SEO specialists desire sites that search engines can crawl and rank near the top of SERPs.
If you’ve ever tried to highlight text on a website only to discover it’s an image, you’re on a site where the designer won the battle. It’s necessary to incorporate H1s, H2s, and paragraph text into your pages for search engines to understand what those pages are all about. When you substitute images in place of text, you forgo this benefit.
Insert the nifty programmer into the equation, and there are ways to achieve that happy medium website owners desire. Tactics such as mouse-overs create the appearance of stand-alone images while including the live text needed to please search engines. Using a combination of web fonts, HTML and CSS, and other tactics like rollups and expandable divs helps signal search engines that you’re using live text and fantastic imagery.
Fortunately, when you sign off on a project with Sage Island, you have the advantage of a team of designers, programmers, and SEO specialists working together to ensure your site looks great, functions well, and is read by search engines. Contact us today to give your website the whole package!