Webdesign and SEO: Having a nice website is useless if no one sees it, and having a lousy website that ranks high in search engines won’t help you if visitors don’t stick around (which in turn affects your rankings).
SEO web design is important because, on the one hand, it is necessary for SEO in Google, and on the other hand because it has a significant influence on user behavior (conversion, purchase, browsing time, etc.).
A web design that takes into account the important criteria of search engine optimization meets the needs of website visitors and thus ensures that they feel comfortable on your website and can manage it intuitively in a very short time. time – which has a positive effect on sales and the number of requests.
So let’s take a quick look at each SEO criteria and what you need to consider when building any website, regardless of graphic design.
Search engine optimization is a huge topic that this article alone could never cover. However, here we have developed the most important points to consider
Why Webdesign and SEO are Inseparable
The link between webdesign and SEO can be summed up in one sentence: SEO techniques allow visitors to find your website on their own through Google search, and good web design means they stay there. Good web design in turn has positive effects on SEO. The loop is therefore closed.
If the design is poor or outdated, it’s easy for visitors to lose faith in a site and leave it in favor of another site that’s more appealing to the information they’re looking for.
In the first few seconds on the homepage, the visitor gets an idea and judges the website based on criteria such as relevance to their search query, trustworthiness, seriousness, and other aspects. As with many things in life, first impressions often matter the most.
Search engines observe the behavior of visitors to their website and if they only stay on the site for a short time and leave immediately, that is a bad signal for Google. It also negatively impacts the placement of the website in search results. If the information you’re looking for is right on the website without long detours and is presented in an easy-to-read and consistent way, that’s a positive signal.
Thus, SEO and web design go hand in hand and have a common goal: to provide the website visitor with the content they are looking for and to present it in a way that is clear, understandable, and as convincing as possible. Thus, the two subjects cannot be considered separately. Anyone who disregards basic SEO techniques while creating a website should not be surprised if the website is not visible on Google.
What is SEO Website Design?
Web design SEO refers to the implementation of SEO-relevant factors when building a website to make it more search engine friendly. Web design is not only about the obvious graphic elements, but also and above all about the implementation of functions, structural and technical criteria that Google and other search engines specify as so-called ranking factors.
Some of the metrics are visible, such as a compelling “above the fold” area, table of contents, or clear title structure, while others are hidden in the website code and invisible to the user. ‘user. Together they result in an SEO web design which, in addition to other search engine optimization measures (e.g. keyword research, optimized texts, or internal linking ), ensures that your websites are in the best positions on Google in the best case.
8 Tips to Ensure Your Web Design and SEO is Successfully Implemented
As an SEO agency, we work with clients from different industries to develop the visibility of their websites. Our natural referencing strategies intervene from the start in design and redesign projects. We work hand in hand with web agencies to achieve a search engine-friendly website. From this experience, we gained a lot of knowledge about the interplay between web design and SEO.
User friendliness and ease of use
In the eyes of many customers (and also in the eyes of web designers without SEO knowledge), a particularly creative and unusual design and complex animations are mainly decisive for a good website. However, the focus must first be on the user-friendliness of the website for visitors and it is only secondarily that creativity must be able to express itself freely.
When developing the website, attention should be paid to a clear and concise structure. The habits of Internet users that have become established over the years are also to be taken into account. This includes, for example, the company logo on the top left and the website navigation on the right.
Your homepage visitor spends a lot of time on other, familiarly designed websites. Therefore, you should also orient yourself on these websites and not try to revolutionize the market with crazy designs and complex structures, which usually cause nothing more than confusion for the site surfers.
In addition, care must be taken to ensure that the content is easy to read. Above all, be sure to:
- sufficient contrast of font and background color
- sufficient distance between the letters and other elements of the site
- an easily readable font size
- no huge, monotonous blocks of text in tiny fonts
The purpose of good usability is to allow the user to easily use the website. He must be able to find the content he is looking for quickly and easily. When users arrive at your website, they should immediately understand if they are on the right page and find the information they are looking for.
Therefore, the “fold line” area (the top part of the website that first appears on your screen without scrolling) should clearly indicate what the page is about and how the visitor will benefit from it. Other factors to create more clarity are:
- Simple and clear navigation, buttons and call to action (call to action) that convert
- Use little technical language and write easily understandable content
- Adhere to a uniform structure, word choice and design so as not to confuse the visitor
- Provide a table of contents for long texts to quickly identify topics covered
The advantage of usability for a website is obvious. Because the website is easy to use, visitors stay on the site longer and can quickly find the information they are looking for. As a result, Google receives positive signals from users and ranks the website higher in search results.
The website is often the first contact with new customers, partners, and employees and a user-friendly website have a positive effect on the first impression. Good usability also increases website conversion and turns more users into customers.
Using metadata, you help search engines and internet users better understand what can be found on your website or on the subpage displayed in search results.
Above all, the title or title tag and the meta description are important factors for search engine optimization.
The title tag appears as the main header of the website in search results. The short description below the title tag is the meta description. The meta description briefly describes the content of the website. Both should entice the user to click.
Title & Meta Description: These two elements influence the way your website is presented in the search results and therefore directly the click-through rate (CTR). It should clearly describe what the visitor will find on the website. The title tag ideally consists of 50-60 characters and starts with the main keyword. The meta description should not exceed 160 characters and should also contain relevant keywords.
It is important that the title tag and meta description are not stuffed with keywords and therefore look unnatural, but rather speak to the user and entice them to click.
Also, the metadata should not contain false promises that the website cannot subsequently deliver. If visitors cannot find the information they are looking for, they immediately leave the website, which Google interprets as a negative signal.
Fast loading time
Who doesn’t know: after clicking on the link, you wait what seems like an eternity for the website to open.
Loading time also increases user impatience which results in poor user experience and in the worst case the visitor leaves the website before it is fully loaded.
Importance of loading time for SEO: In a survey, 40% of respondents said they pressed the back button if the loading time was over 3 seconds. Additionally, a one-second delay in loading time reduces user satisfaction by 16%. And we know that a bad user experience sends the wrong signal to search engines. Longer loading times that cannot be avoided can be made a little clearer with loading animations or preloaders.
The kissmetrics survey also found that a one-second delay in load time can reduce conversion by up to 7%. A bad loading time, therefore, has a direct impact on the placement in the search results and potential customers are also discouraged by it.
The main problem with a bad loading time is very often images with much too large file sizes. On a company’s website, images are an integral part and are essential. But even with many images, fast loading time can be achieved through caching, good hosting, and compressed file size.
Here are some free online tools that will help you optimize the loading time of your website:
- Tinypng: image file size reduction tool
- Page Speed Insights: A Google tool that analyzes the website and lists optimization potentials.
- Pingdom: Tests the loading time of the website and shows the biggest time wasters.
Mobile-friendliness or responsive design
Website optimization for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets has been an integral part of web design and search engine optimization for several years. In recent years, the proportion of website visits via mobile devices has increased steadily and stood at 56% on a global average in 2021. And “mobile-friendliness” is also an important ranking factor for Google websites. since 2015.
Search engines want to provide their users with the best user experience. It is therefore important that your website is optimized for smartphones and tablets and thus sends a positive signal to Google.
The website should be responsive, meaning it should automatically adapt to different screen sizes so that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for on any device. Common problems faced by unoptimized websites:
- The text is too small and visitors have to laboriously use two fingers to zoom in on the snippets that interest them
- Clickable elements (e.g. links or buttons) are too close together and make usability difficult
- Smaller screens are cluttered with text and images
- You must scroll horizontally to view all content
- Website loading time on mobile devices is very high
All of these things degrade the user experience and therefore the image of the site in the eyes of Google. Google will classify the website as less relevant, which will lead to ranking losses.
Make sure your website adapts to different screen sizes and that usability of the website on every device is as easy as possible.
The SSL certificate encrypts the data exchanged between the web server and the user and thus helps in transferring the data securely. This is particularly important if payment data or other personal data is stored on the website (eg in an online shop.
SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” and has actually been mandatory for many websites since the introduction of the GDPR at the latest. Google also wants user data to be protected. This is why an SSL certificate is also a factor that influences placement in search results.
It is easy to know if a website is SSL encrypted or not. If the website is secured with an SSL certificate, you will usually see a padlock in the browser bar and the website address will start with “https://” not http://
In addition to the data protection aspect, an SSL certificate has many advantages:
- Ranking: SSL encryption has a positive effect on ranking in search results and is ranked higher by search engines.
- Security: By encrypting the data , they are protected from third parties. Above all, personal data, such as contact or payment data, can be protected in this way. Thus, websites with contact forms, login areas or shops must have an SSL certificate to be secure.
- Trust: Website visitors quickly recognize whether the page is protected or not. This increases trust in the website and in the business. For websites without an SSL certificate, common browsers often display warnings such as “not secure” or red symbols that discourage website visitors before or when accessing the website
In HTML, by default, there are 6 different types of titles: H1 to H6 with a decreasing hierarchy. Similar to a Word document, these headers help structure the content of the website. The H1 is the main title and should only be used once per page.
All other titles are logically subordinate to the superior title and the structure should also be recognizable to the naked eye. For example, the H1 heading is usually the largest and most visible heading on the page, followed by the H2, etc. However, for some layouts, it’s okay if the H1 isn’t the largest text size, as long as it’s better for the design.
Why is the structure of HTML headings important?
It helps search engines better understand how content on a website is logically structured and what information is more relevant than others. Content directly under an H1 is generally more important than content under an H5 heading.
Google evaluates titles according to the classic HTML scheme and therefore a subpage should have only one H1 title so that the search engine immediately recognizes the main topic of the subpage. To prevent the title structure from becoming chaotic, no H title should be used in the footer, navigation, and sidebar unless necessary.
It is therefore also wise to fill the headings with keywords and thus increase the relevance of the keyword in the search engines. But above all, the headings must help the reader to better orient himself on the site and only satisfy the search engine secondarily.
Example of a good title structure
H1 – main heading
H2 – 1st subtitle
H2 – 2nd subtitle
H3 – 2.1 sub-heading sub-area
H3 – 2.2 sub-heading sub-area
H2 – 3rd subtitle
H3 – 3.1 sub-heading sub-area
H4 – Sub-domain 3.1.1 sub-element
H2 – 4th subtitle
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Optimized URLs are short and descriptive, and it’s clear what to expect on the page. Although URLs are no longer as important for SEO as they used to be, they help search engines and users better understand the subject of the subpage you are going to go to when you click on the link.
Users trust optimized URLs more and are more likely to click the link than a URL with encrypted characters where it is unclear what is on the website behind. Logical, right?
Either way, it makes sense to include keywords in the URL. On the one hand, this is positive for the search engine and, on the other hand, the keyword is automatically in the link text when it is linked. But as always, it’s better to do it sensibly and with common sense than keyword stuffing. It also looks a bit dodgy if too many keywords appear in the URL.
Tips for well-structured URLs:
- make them easy to understand for users and search engines
- Do not use special characters
- Keep the URL short and crisp
- Use hyphens to separate words
Create a sitemap
An XML sitemap is an overview of the structure and all the sub-pages of a website, i.e. a kind of table of contents.
With the help of robots, Google crawls websites on the Internet to provide the best results for search queries. Providing a sitemap makes it easier for Google to crawl the website and ensures that all subpages are indexed as well.
Generally, a sitemap isn’t absolutely necessary for small websites with good internal links, as Google can crawl them just fine. To ensure that there are no issues, a sitemap still needs to be created.
A sitemap must absolutely be created if:
- the site is new and has few visitors
- the website is very extensive (e.g. online shops)
- the website does not have good internal links
A sitemap can be easily created using sitemap generators on the internet. Once the XML file is created, it can be submitted to Google Search Console. As a result, the new website is indexed faster and Google doesn’t overlook any subpages while indexing.
If you take these points into account when developing your website and its web design, you are already well-positioned in terms of search engine optimization.
Of course, there’s still a lot to do for proper on-page optimization, and these tips are just the tip of the iceberg.
SEO should be subordinate to web design, but above all to website usability: the user comes first, then the keywords and SEO aspects. The focus should always be on your target buyer persona.
Many companies are unaware of how much design influences SEO. You spend your time creating content without considering whether it is readable on mobile or that pages buried deep in the site’s architecture have not been indexed at all. If you are aware of how design and SEO are related, you can ensure that your website has every chance of ranking for relevant keywords in your industry.
The link between web design and SEO is a complex thing. We hope this article has helped make things a little clearer. If you have any questions about how your site performs in the combination of the two areas, or if you are considering a design or redesign project, contact us!