68% of online experiences start with inputting terms into a search engine. That’s why SEO matters so much—if you don’t optimize your content to answer questions and rank on Google, you won’t get eyes on it.
People are looking for answers to their questions. Whether they’re seeking products, information, services, or expert help, your brand can fill the void.
But if your content doesn’t communicate value to Google or other major search engines, it won’t be displayed. And if it’s not displayed, no one will know the value your company brings to the table.
When no one knows who you are or what you do, your brand is in trouble. That’s why it’s crucial to design your site to increase traffic, get more conversions, and leverage search engine optimization for peak success.
That’s why we’ve assembled a guide to demonstrate how SEO and web design work together. If you’re looking to grow your site, the link between the two can’t be ignored. Let’s get started!
How SEO and Web Design Work Together
Many search engine optimization professionals will bemoan Google’s algorithm. After all, it changes so often that it can seem impossible to stay on top. From a certain perspective, it can seem like the algorithm is working against you, which is what no one wants to hear.
The thing is: Google isn’t penalizing your brand for fun. Instead, it prioritizes content that brings genuine value to the end-user. If your content answers questions in an accessible, informative manner, Google will rank your site higher.
There are a lot of individual factors that go into SEO. And a lot of those factors: alt text to make images accessible, responsive design for mobile devices, image sizes, and ease of navigation—are all tied into web design.
In today’s day and age, you can’t get away with a ramshackle website that looks like a relic of 2003. Users expect a peak experience. That’s what they’ll get from other sites, so yours needs intuitive, visually appealing web design in order to keep up.
Part of Google’s rankings is reliant upon certain statistics, such as mobile usability and bounce rate. User activity on your site has a very real impact on Google’s rankings.
The goal of search engine optimization is to signal that you provide intuitive, accurate information for users inputting certain terms. If your site is difficult to navigate, it won’t provide that value for them.
That’s why it’s crucial to put them together: SEO web design. When designing a site from the ground up, each feature needs to be crafted with search engine optimization in mind. When you employ the right web design services, they will be prepared to lay the groundwork right alongside you.
What Should You Focus On?
When crafting a new site, the collaboration between SEO marketers and web design services is king. Both teams are working toward the same goal. But without collaboration, these teams will end up tearing down each other’s work faster than they can build.
Google’s algorithm relies on 200+ factors that play into how your site ranks. When crafting a site from scratch, preparing for hundreds of eventualities doesn’t work. Instead, we’ve assembled a list of the top five elements your SEO web design crew should focus on.
- Alt tags, which allow you to insert important keywords while optimizing disabled user experiences
- URL structure, which improves user navigation
- Website navigation, which pushes users down the sales funnel
1. Alt Tags
When you post images on your site, they need to be accompanied by alt tags. Otherwise, you provide a subpar experience for visually disabled users. Screen readers used by visually disabled users only read the text that is actually available to them. If there is no alt text, there is nothing for a screen reader to parse.
It’s also important to make sure Google returns accurate results. When someone makes a Google search, 25% of those results are images. If there is no text for Google to crawl, your site is missing a great opportunity to gain more eyes on your pages.
Alt tags provide an informative roadmap for the search algorithm. To maximize the benefits, write your alt tags as a complete sentence. You should use proper punctuation and capitalization for these alt tags.
By using alt tags, you also appeal to a younger demographic. 62% of young searchers (which compromise a significant amount of Internet traffic) want visual search capabilities. It’s the search mode of the future, and alt tags will ensure that you are prepared.
This is also a great opportunity for SEO and web design to work together. When prioritizing SEO for websites, the marketing team can provide hot SEO keywords.
Then, web design can implement these keywords into the alt tags used for each image. If you skip out on search engine optimization for alt tags, you’re missing a prime opportunity to rise through Google’s rankings.
2. URL Structure
What do the URLs on your website look like? You’ve seen URLs that look like www.insertsitename.com/175758652. That random string of numbers doesn’t mean anything.
While it will still direct users to the right site, that URL structure doesn’t add value. It doesn’t tell users anything. It doesn’t tell Google’s algorithm anything except the page location.
When you create a URL structure, it’s crucial to keep it simple and centered around your SEO strategy. The slug should contain the basic web page structure, or just the post’s focus keyword.
When you create all the pages that belong on your website, do keyword research for it. Whether you’re creating a new website from scratch or redesigning an old one, it’s crucial to your site’s success.
When you prioritize focus keywords, it makes your slugs easy to remember. This makes the user experience more straightforward. And it also tells Google which search terms and keywords it should rank your pages for.
Properly structured URL slugs will also make your brand appear more professional. Slapdash strings of numbers will off-put users, especially since they are bombarded with so much professional content from competitors on a daily basis.
Metadata is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be! Metadata is a cumulative term used to describe things like meta description, title tags, and so forth.
Take a standard Google result. When you look at a result, it will include a title tag, the site name, and a meta description.
This is crucial for users. This short content preview helps them decide whether they want to click on a link at all. If you tease their interest or provide a crucial bit of information, they’ll want more.
However, metadata is much more than a way to tease your users. According to some SEO experts, metadata is the most important SEO element.
It signals to Google how much emphasis to place on your content. After all, if you don’t signal value in the metadata, is there a point in prompting users to dig any further?
The metadata is a critical place to insert your primary keywords that will generate the most interest. This will help increase traffic and grow your site.
4. Website Navigation
These days, most users are viewing content from their mobile devices. That’s why so many web design services favor a simple design that communicates a point clearly.
If you cram too many elements in or focus too much on how it will look from a laptop, your mobile user experience will be poor. However, that’s not an excuse to prioritize simple design over robust website navigation planning.
Here’s how it works. Website navigation provides a roadmap to your internal pages. These may be product pages, different blogs in your content library, or subcategory pages.
To accomplish this, embrace drop-down menus. Many sites have headers with their most important offerings listed. These headers often feature terms like Blog, Shop, Contact Us, About Us, and so forth.
These headers are par for the course. However, the drop-down menus are where your website navigation can get highly specific.
Think about it this way. Say that you’re a major clothing brand. When someone hovers over the drop-down menu for Shop, what do they get?
If you have a robust website navigation plan, they’ll get multiple subcategory pages. For instance, you may have a subcategory for Accessories, with links underneath to product pages for:
- Scarves and gloves
- Purses and bags
- This type of organization helps you provide a logical A to B progression for users to follow.
Why Creating Clean Site Navigation Matters
Here are our top tips for creating robust website navigation. Start by aiming for an easy user experience. The goal is for someone unfamiliar with the Internet to be able to navigate to a certain page and find what they want.
Navigating your site should require minimal thought. Every time someone gets confused or has to click around to find a simple page, you lose ‘points’. Making an experience easier will smooth the buyer funnel and boost sales.
You should also leverage a primary SEO tactic known as cross-linking. When you cross-link, you’re able to connect all the different layers of your website navigation.
Your product descriptions could link to other product pages. A description for shoes could link to the matching socks that go with it. You can also link to blog posts, contact forms, and so much more.
It’s also critical to leverage a content hierarchy. Organize your pages by categories, subcategories, and so forth. If you find that you are trying to cram too much information or too many products onto one page, break it down into subcategories.
When prioritizing SEO for websites, pairing copy with smart design is everything. The words on the page will define your brand, but the design will dictate whether anyone actually reads them.
Start by prioritizing crisp copy. Make your sentences short and action-packed. Focus on verbs, short phrases, and emotive phrases.
This ensures that your copy packs a punch. No words are wasted, which ensures that readers know their time is valued.
In today’s day and age, many people don’t read text. Instead, they will scan it. If the content seems valuable, or if a phrase snags their interest, then they will go back and read it.
That means your content needs to be on-point to snag someone’s attention. You’ll need to prioritize keywords, buzzwords, and terms that directly address your audience’s pain points.
Pairing Web Design and SEO
However, web design needs to make sure your content shines. Readability goes far beyond the words on a page.
Web design should prioritize big bold serif fonts. Breaking text up with headers and white space will make it easier.
Make sure the text isn’t overwhelmed by the background. White text on a black background, for instance, is visually overwhelming. It looks unprofessional and won’t garner any rave reviews from site visitors.
Pay attention to how web design structures heading tags, too. These heading tags are very important to Google’s ranking algorithm. With the right heading tags, Google will be able to detect the main content of the page.
It will also be able to detect what should be prioritized, based on the heading tags. These tags also help users prioritize what content is important for them to scan.
This adds value since it saves time, is easy on the eye, and helps give the user a ‘cheat sheet’ as to whether your content matters to them or not.
Embracing SEO Web Design
SEO web design is crucial to grow your site, increase traffic, and get more conversions. By pairing SEO and web design, you’ll be able to build a strong foundation for your site that supports both users and search algorithms.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop marketing task force to help you with SEO web design, we’re here for you. Contact us today!