Design and Visuals – How They Impact a Site’s SEO

November 26, 2021

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Almost anyone can immediately recognize the difference between a well-designed website and a poorly-designed one. The difference is as clear as the gap between a well-written and edited book and one that has been slapped together.

A poorly-designed website doesn’t just impact your user’s experience and perception of your brand. It can also damage your search engine optimization and harm the rate at which you convert visitors into customers.

There’s a close relationship between UX and SEO. When designing a site and choosing the right visuals, you aren’t just creating something aesthetically pleasing. You’re also creating something optimized for your potential audience to find you through search engines like Google.

Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind as you seek to improve user experience and SEO at the same time.

designers sitting at a table

User Experience Is Priority

The most crucial thing to remember when designing your site is that you’re creating a site that’s both user- and search engine-friendly. Thankfully, there’s a lot of crossover between those two! After all, Google wants to provide people with sites that are well-designed, easy to navigate, and have exciting, in-depth content.

Because of this, your design shouldn’t be geared toward beating Google’s bots. Search engine bots replicate human behavior, so if your content is good for human users, chances are it’s good for bots, too.

Every action you take when creating your site should be made with your user in mind.

men talking

Beautiful Visuals Will Keep Users On Your Site for Longer

A beautiful site with unique images tends to keep visitors around. Ideally, people will get caught up in the beauty of your site, and before they know it, they’re exploring every section of your page.

Put yourself in the shoes of a user. If you visit a site with a poor design, wouldn’t you be more likely to leave it and find a site that’s easier to navigate and more enjoyable to look at?

A high-quality site can help reduce your bounce rate. What is bounce rate? It’s the percentage of site visitors who enter your site and then leave instead of clicking through to other pages.

If you have a high bounce rate, Google may view this as a sign that you’re offering users poor-quality content.

man looking at art

Loading Speed Is Crucial

Users will abandon your site if they have to wait too long for it to load. When you continue to deliver a poor user experience, Google detects it and may lower your ranking position as a result.

When you design your site, make sure you keep loading speed in mind. One of the best ways to reduce loading speed is to use compressed images and trim your CSS and JS files where possible. 

Lazy loading, or delaying the load of resources until they are needed, is a great way to speed things up.

man sprinting

Layout and Navigation Should Be SEO Friendly

The design and format of your website should be straightforward, simple, and intuitive. Users shouldn’t have to dig through content to find what they need; your navigation should be clear and easy to understand from the start.

Your website should be designed in a way that makes it easy for users to find the information they are looking for. Remember, what works well for users makes it easier for search engines, too. As a result, search engine crawlers face similar challenges: the more obstacles and URLs they must crawl their way through, the worse your SEO will be. If this is the case, you run the risk of lower rankings in search results.

Nobody enjoys using a site structured in a way that doesn’t make sense. Set your website up for success by organizing it in a way that’s simple for both people and Google’s bots. 

a man looking through binoculars

Mobile Responsive Design Is an Important Factor

The majority of users are looking at your site from their phones. Google knows this, which is why they index the mobile version of your site first

Google rolled out their Core Web Vitals in 2021, which is essentially a list of factors that Google is prioritizing for their new metric: Page Experience. The Core Web Vitals focus mainly on three areas:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

First Input Delay (FID)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

These factors all impact how your site loads on mobile devices.

Mobile optimization is an essential factor in SEO. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, you’re not making it easy for Google to index the information on your page.

People most likely aren’t looking at your site from a desktop anymore. And if people can’t access your site easily via their phones, they’ll look elsewhere. A site that isn’t mobile-friendly is an easy way to lose traffic.

group of people outside

Wrapping up

To be successful in today’s digital world, you need to provide a seamless and engaging experience for your customers. 

A website that is visually appealing with the right content will get more traffic than one without. When people visit your site, they should feel like they can easily interact with it and quickly find what they are looking for.

Your site needs to be user-friendly and search engine-friendly.

The design and layout of your website don’t just create the first impression you make on prospective customers. They’re also a key factor in where you rank in search results.

To improve your site’s SEO and UX, make sure you use high-quality graphics, reduce page loading speed, ensure the site is easy to navigate, and prioritize a mobile-responsive design.

About the author

Sara Bodner is the Digital Content Manager at Conklin Media, a business growth agency in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find her developing strategies to help companies become more profitable through organic search, auditing websites, and creating content. 

Sara bodner

Sara Bodner

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