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Role of Web Design in SEO

 

Many businesses don’t realize the importance of SEO until they publish their own website. Your website is the central place that represents your business to the digital world.

Here is where the problem lies, many designers out there don’t even know about the basic SEO recommendation or may not consider it necessary.

Or some web designers may include SEO in their web designing package and represent it like it is a one-time thing.

Nope, Never! SEO actually is a continuous process to improve your visibility in search engines to the users whether they are searching for your brand or about the type of stuff your brands provide.

To avoid the regrets later for not being able to improve your visibility in the search engines and losing out the biggest source of traffic for the majority out there.

SEO must be taken into consideration while designing the website. It doesn’t and shouldn’t cost any extra. Just hiring the right person would get the job done well.

 

How Web Design Impact Search Engine Ranking

 

A website that may seem to be exceptionally beautiful and user-friendly to humans can also be the most complex, unreadable, un-understandable or can be considered the worst website for search engines at the same time.

An Ideal website must be responsive to every device, user-friendly in every aspect, and search engine friendly as well.

What is Search Engine Friendly Website?

 

I don’t define a search engine friendly website as a website designed and developed to rank higher in search engines, but rather I would define it like,

Search engine friendly websites are websites that are designed for better human interaction and easily understandable by search engines as well.

Search engines won’t buy whatever you have to provide through your website but a user would.

What do basically search engines want?

To provide a good user experience and relevant results for the searchers.

Trust me, Google pretty much understands whether users love to spend time on your website or not. That’s not the only thing search engines look at. There are hundreds of factors that determine your ranking and visibility in search engines.

Beware! There is a difference between search engine friendly and search engine optimized website.

There are many factors that determine how friendly your website is to search engines.

10 Essentials Tips to Design a Search Engine Friendly Websites

 

  • What is Index-able Content? Why is It Necessary for your Website?

Search engines use web crawlers to crawl web pages, despite the advancement in crawler technology. They still often ignore non-text content.

Websites made on Flash is completely ignored and un-understandable by Google but Bing somehow understands the content of web pages made through flash technology. Java applets are also considered to be non-indexable contents.

Other non-text content like Images and videos are not understandable by crawlers but is really appreciated and valued if users tend to spend more time on that and decrease bounce rate as well.

But It is necessary that search engines must understand the intent and context of your content to place or rank it in front of the most related search queries if possible.

Having HTML based texts along with other visuals that are perfectly optimized for keywords or searchers intent and are as well written for humans(not just crawlers) to deliver the valuable information is what It mostly takes to index your content in the best way possible.

Make sure your important content is indexed by checking out the crawled version of your website through tools like Google Cache or SEO browser.

Here is an example of how search engines see the yahoo.com as compared to humans.

Cache-version-Yahoo-Web-Page

 

2. How Important is Page Load Speed for SEO? And How to Improve It.

 

The back-end of your website has direct impacts on search engine ranking signals. Back-ends may include server response time, optimized code, optimized database queries, CDNs, and ensuring you have a fast and responsive server.

It doesn’t mean you should neglect the indirect ranking signals that may include bounce rate, optimized content, images, and complete rendering of the page in less possible time.

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, 40% of the visitors bounce back from the website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

To check out your website performance and pages load speed factors which can be improved further. Check out this page insight tool from Google and this one tool from Neil Patel.

Analyze your website through these tools and follow the recommendations as much as possible

speed-insight-tool

 

3. What is The Best URL Structure for SEO?

 

The best URL structure is one that is in a proper and understandable hierarchy, navigation friendly, and contains focus keywords in URL as well.

Few bad example of link structures could be:

http://example.com/?pageid=1234?contentid=545 (Dynamic ID-based URLs)

http://example.com/shoes/brand1 (Lack of Keywords)

http://example.com/Nike-shoes/Nike-Shoes-for-Men/Nike-shoes-New-Arrival (Too Many Keywords)

A few good examples could be:

https://example.com/services/Digital-Marketing/SEO  

https://example.com/services/SEO

https://example.com/shoes/men/nike

https://example.com/free-guitar-course

Even some of the most popular CMSs and platforms give you the worst link structures if you don’t take out time and improve it through any possible solutions.

 

4. Important Meta Tags for SEO

 

There are numerous meta tags which can be used in a web page. But it doesn’t mean you should use them all.

Some meta tags are outdated and isn’t used anymore, some are optional or conditional but following are the must-have meta tags for every single web page

  • Title Tag – Even though the tag doesn’t start with meta word but it is an essential meta tag to be used one time in every single web page. Each page should have a unique meta title and this will be most probably the title of a web page showed in search engines as well. Write a catchy, keyword optimize and interesting titles. Keep them between 50 to 60 characters max.
  • Meta-Description: Meta description may or may not be considered by Google to show in snippets for every SERP’s. There could be many factors behind that. But having a solid, appealing and useful meta-description is recommended to be included in every single page. Meta descriptions length is recently increased by Google from 150 characters to approx 320 characters. Even though it doesn’t influence the ranking directly but CTR(Click Through Rate) is what that may affect your search engine rankings.

 

  • Meta Content-Type: This tag is necessary in order to let the browser know how to correctly render your web page. Your designer should know the best content type tag for your site.

 

5. How 404 error hurts your search engine rankings and What to Do About It?

 

404 errors come up because of broken links, most probably either the link pointing to a web page or file is moved, renamed, misspelled, or deleted generates 404 errors.

If an external website pointing to a page on your website that doesn’t exist anymore, it may not hurt your ranking.

But, if you are pointing to either internal or external pages that don’t exist may cause harm to your reputation in the eyes of search engines and users as well.

Also, It is recommended to have a custom 404 error page so whenever a user ends up on a 404 link on your website, It still may have some navigation path to navigate further.

A custom 404 page does look like this:

 

cutom-404-error-page

 

Damn! I need some more customization there 🙂

Okay! Here is what non-custom 404 error page looks like:

non-customized-404-error-pages

The above snapshot is taken from a website which claims to provide SEO services 😉

 

6. 301 and 302 redirects. When to use which one?

 

301 redirects are applied to redirect users when the web page is permanently moved, while 302 redirects are applied when the web page is temporarily moved to a new address.

301 redirects should be used in the following scenarios:

  • Linking outdated URLs to a new page that delivers what the user is looking for OR merging two pages into one.
  • Migrating HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Changing a Domain Name.
  • Or any scenario where you don’t want to lose your SEO rankings and Link Juice while replacing the link with a new one.

302 redirects should be used in the following scenarios:

  • Testing a new web page without risking your search engine ranking and link juice
  • Provide users an alternative while maintenance or changes being done
  • Or any other scenario where you don’t want to permanently change the link but provide a temporary alternative for a specific time period.

 

7. HTTP VS HTTPS for SEO

 

The ‘S’ in HTTPS represents the extra security layer added to the HTTP. It is a protocol that is used to transmit and receive the information across the internet.

HTTPS communications are done over SSL (Secure Server Layer) to secure the exchange of confidential information on the network.

Either you do business online that needs the exchange of confidential information like debit cards and payments, Or not, Google prefer HTTPS websites and announced HTTPS to be a direct ranking signal.

 

8. What are Rich Snippets? How Necessary Are They For SEO?

 

Have you noticed the direct answers and featured snippets on Google SERPs?

feature-snippets-related-results-serps

Have you ever seen the ratings in stars and in-stock status in Google SERPs? These are not the only type of rich snippets, there are much more for different purposes.

They are visible in results because of applying the structured data markup (Schema) or properly optimizing the content in order to let the search engines better understand the context of your content.

Even though, it is not the most effective way to rank but can make you stand out from the competition as many webmasters still have not implemented it yet.

The rich snippets are not necessary to have right now, but due to huge and continues increase in popularity and utilization by search engines, it is recommended to start implementing them as soon as possible.

 

9. Duplicate Content and How To Avoid It

 

Contents that appears more than one time on the internet are considered duplicate contents by search engines.

Even though if you have produced and publish the original and unique piece of content, your job is not done yet. You may still face issues of duplicate content.

So, how does that happen?

Most Common Cause Could Be URL Variations:

http://example.com/blog-post and http://example.com/blog-post?SessionId=232 may have the same content but different URLs and search engines may consider one of them a duplicate content. Other few examples could be

https://example.com or http://example.com
https://www.example.com or https://example.com
http://m.example.com (Mobile version) or http://example.com (Desktop Version)

This kind of issues hurt your rankings in search engines. You can fix it by implementing 301 redirects or canonical attribute.

 

10. User-Friendly Is Search Engine Friendly

 

Last but not least, many out there will focus too much on search engines and neglect the importance of user likeability of the website. Users or visitors are the end goals which you want to convert to business perhaps.

Also, Even if you managed to rank higher for any search term but have an unsatisfactory user experience. Search engines will smell it very soon. You won’t maintain the rankings for long.

Make sure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate through the whole website, converts visitors into leads and provide valuable and engaging content

Bonus Tip:

What are SEO Web designing Services? Should You Buy Them?

 

I always aim to save clients from black sheep’s of the industry and so-called SEO experts by awareness of the right practices as much as possible.

Well, I have seen quite a few companies offering SEO web designing, So, I got curious and went ahead to look further what they really offer.

Always remember, SEO is not a one-time thing which you can plug and forget. It must be done consistently. So what are these designing services provides basically?

After observing the services of over 10 offers, here is what I say about these services

  • Majority of them don’t fully understand the concept of SEO and how much it has been changed since past few years. Many of them consider few basic changes like adding Meta tags, optimizing page load speed as complete SEO optimized websites. Duh!
  • Very rare, but I noticed a few websites that may be able to deliver a little better service. But, I still have so many questions even as an SEO expert about their services.
  • Having a web designer that really knows about the SEO factors is good to have, but I have a problem with ones who claim to provide complete SEO with their web designing services. There is no such thing like Stay safe.
  • If someone claims you can pretty much clarify your doubts by asking about the points and tips I’ve mentioned in this article. Especially, questions About 301 & 302 redirects and canonical URLs will clear your doubts most of the time.

You shouldn’t expect higher ranking for any profitable keywords rather than your business name or extremely less competitive terms just by having a website designed by this kind of services.

 

Conclusion:

 

SEO must be considered at the start of designing your website whether you plan for SEO in long-term or not. A beautiful design that delivers great user experience and optimized for search engines, that is the type of website you should aim for. And to achieve that kind of product, you must follow the essentials of UI/UX and SEO recommendations.

 

That’s it! What’s your thought on this? Let me know through the comment box below 🙂

About the Author:

JD Aadam

JD Aadam

JD Aadam is an SEO consultant, speaker and a blogger with realistic visions and aim to aware people as much as possible about the right and wrong SEO practices and eliminate the so-called SEO gurus. Read More

2 Comments

  1. Arsalan khan

    Very informative article, well-delivered

    Reply
    • jdaadam

      Pleasure 🙂

      Reply

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Summary
Article Name
Website Design & SEO: Essentials You Must Know
Description
Covering the role and importance of SEO while designing a website. Essential tips and guidelines to design a user-friendly as well as a search engine friendly website.
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