No matter your speciality in SEO, the knowledge of web design and an understanding of its principles can help and make your work pretty much easier.
When I started SEO, I started with local search and map optimization. And even at that, I still couldn't avoid checking the website, and in most cases, I still ended up tweaking most especially the home page and the contact us page. Because consistency goes a long way in order to get results in local search optimization.
SEO is no longer what it used to be, there is now an overlap between web design and SEO jobs and it's not surprising in 2021 to see many SEO agencies taking up a web design project.
Although SEO is carried out at page level. By that I mean SEO is done from page to page but success depends on the overall structure, aesthetic feel, and ease of navigation of the website. Web page optimization must have a good design right from the ground up if any successful conversion result is to be achieved.
However, sometimes, a web designer would design a website beautifully—which is what every website designer wants to see. But the looks and feels may not necessarily be conversion-driven and it's left for you the SEO professionals to redesign the website from a marketing perspective and to make it conversion-driven. The truth is, a poorly designed website will yield little to no result from optimization.
So how do you design a good website as SEO? Here is what you need to get started.
SEO just like web design, your knowledge of the intended use of the website is vital, that is the reason for which the website is created or why it was developed in the first place. Nice the purpose of a website is known it can be geared toward fulfilling that purpose by optimizing for usability as well as functionality to create an unforgettable user experience.
A purpose-driven website is always simple and simplicity could mean easy accessibility. 48 per cent of people cited that a website’s design is the No. 1 factor in determining the credibility of a business. So when designing for optimization, the #1 guide is the purpose the website wants to achieve. Always remember that!
2. Navigation – The three-click rule
I chose this as #2 so as to follow the design rule. It’s not surprising that 38% of people will stop visiting a website if its design is sloppy and unattractive.
Easy navigation follows the three-click rule which means users are able to find whatever information they need while on your website within just three clicks. Good navigation design is all about making a website easy for users as they move around in search of information on a website.
To help users fetch information quickly in not more than three clicks, use a logical page hierarchy and bread crumbs(for a large website or generally for e-commerce) to navigate back and forth.
3. Typography, Readability, Legibility
Your choice of typography influences readability. When used properly, it can increase dwell time on your website because it’s simply a visual representation of whatever message the website is passing across. Web designers are often carried away by the huge option at their disposal for designing and often forget that simplicity is the key to a performing site.
As SEO, when you have to design an aesthetically looking site, do not forget to keep by the rule of 2 fonts per website and at most 3 fonts. Avoid getting caught in how you combine typefaces for each and every design element most especially headlines, body, CTA such as clickables and short phrases acting as text links.
4. Colour Palette
Humans are visual creatures — so visual, in fact, that colour plays a much bigger role in influencing our behaviours and decisions to purchase power than we might think.
Your choice of colour either attracts or distracts visitors, there is no one choice of colour for a website. It all depends on the purpose and understanding of the audience. Select a colour palette that will complement the user’s experience to create a balance on your website design.
In addition, white spaces are so important so remember to use them as they allow the user's eyes to rest, thereby improving readability and comprehension of the next item in focus. It also creates a sense of balance, emphasis on items and directions. As a rule of thumb, keep to 3 tones of colour for a whole website.
Good quality website imagery not just grabs our attention, but also triggers emotions and even goes as far as compelling us to take action. Use images to convey information that reflects your brand values to avoid unnecessary use of texts where images can be self-explanatory.
6. Mobile Device Compatibility
If you’re looking for how to make your website mobile-friendly here’s a link that explains that in detail. A mobile compatible website has no flash in its HTML files. It is simply, by nature, responsive across devices.
A responsive website is good for SEO as it helps the user access the same information on a desktop on other devices. It guides visitors to accomplish what they want and why they visited your website. Designing a responsive site is easy. There are a number of web design studios or service points from where you can turn your desktop design into a responsive and adaptive one for all screen sizes.
7. Site Layouts
Among the different layouts, the most prominent and which represent a better user experience is the grid-based layout. The grid-based layout enables web designers to arrange content in columns and rows serving as a framework for text, images, and other graphical elements. it helps you design and organize content in a clean and clear structure while creating a sense of balancing within columns and sections.
8. F-Shaped pattern principle
This is what you’ll want to keep in mind as well. Most sites do not convert at an optimal level because of the way the content is arranged which is away from the reader’s visibility. Findings show that people scan web pages in an F-shaped pattern. although the f-pattern is not the only pattern but is the most common pattern from an eye-tracking heatmap analysis.
Users first read in a horizontal movement, returning the eye almost back to the left side and moving down the page a bit before moving again horizontally but this time shorter than the length covered in the first horizontal movement and finally, scan the content in a vertical movement.
Understanding this natural behaviour means placing important information along the tracking path of users-the top and left sides of the screen.
9. load time
10. Design Consistency
The last thing I want to talk about is design consistency. no doubt you have put up great work by following the principles above but what makes a great work in web design is far beyond minification to reduce files, using anyhow colours, typography and so on.
Your design style and elements must flow and be unique across every page, consistency in page design helps users find information quickly and create a scent trail.
Launching a website into the market requires much professional expertise but in most cases, clients do not know and tend to either hire a web designer or search engine optimizer to get it done ground up. As SEO, use the above design principle in your next project to convince your clients that you can develop a functional website having the looks and feels of the business.