6 SEO principles that must be included in your Web Design
Great Web Design or SEO foundation… Hire an Agency that can do BOTH!
With the recent boom of entrepreneurship, it seems like there are more and more companies or freelancers offering a service that will bolster your business online. SEO, graphic design, web design, content strategy… no matter where you look, there is a company ready to help take your business to the next level online.
Sounds perfect, right? You can choose the provider that you feel best merge those specific needs yet keep them independent so that you can easily pivot if needed. The problem is that, at some point you will find yourself with too many cooks in the kitchen; meaning that you will end up with three or four businesses all trying to do the same thing… optimize your online performance. How can they all work together? How will they be able to communicate with one another to achieve the same goals? And how will your website survive through it all?
That unfavorable fate can be eliminated with one solution. Get one web design agency that can build a great website and also practices the principles of SEO focused web design.
SEO web design refers to the process of designing a SEO-friendly website using SEO best practices, not designing a website then trying to apply SEO on top of it.
These principles are must have for SEO web design
Despite what you may have heard or what people may believe, in order to be successful, web design and SEO must go hand in hand. One can exist with the other, but it’s kind of like having a great presentation with no audience… who’s really seeing it?
There are 6 crucial principles that every website design needs to include in 2021 and beyond. When your website is designed with these principles in mind you are guaranteed to keep visitors, and search engines happy and leads flowing. This list is in no particular order but the first two principles are the most important (makes no sense right now, but it will later) .
1. User Experience/UX
UX- it’s a term you will hear often in many design related conversations… but what is it? User Experience (UX) is all about how the user interacts with your product. It’s a focus on the full experience from first contact to the last contact. When a web designer is creating with UX in mind, he or she is considering all of the different elements within your potential customers journey, including potential pain points. For example: How easy is it for your customer to find your latest product and checkout when shopping online? If your website is lead gen focused, how many call-to-action points does your site offer? The ultimate purpose of UX design is to create an easy, efficient and all around pleasurable experience for your visitor. UX is a key concern to major companies and should be a major concern to your business as well, because a negative user experience may result in higher cart abandonment, higher lead costs, lower conversions… in other words, lower profitability.
From a search engine perspective, UX is also important. Search engines, especially Google (ESPECIALLY GOOGLE!), look to keep their users happy but suggesting the best user friendly sites in search results. One of the ways Google measures happiness is through user engagement, which will be covered in principle 3.
2. User Interface/UI
You will often hear UX and UI used interchangeably. The two concepts are very similar but very different, and equally important. The easiest way to remember the difference is- while UX focuses on the user experience, UI focuses more on the interface and interaction. Plainly put User Interface focuses on the design of the website and what role that design will play in the user’s buying decision. UI design considers the look, feel and interactivity of the site, and determines the aesthetics, typography, color palettes, buttons,spacing and imagery. UI is all about making sure the user ENJOYS the experience created by the UX. With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why they seem interchangeable; even though they are two independent but equally crucial roles.
Just like UX, user interface is a multi-faceted, challenging task that is crucial to the profitability of your business. The goal is to visually guide the user through the website; taking them from the initial contact to end transaction without too much thought. Successful UI design should be able to translate your brand’s identity and strengths into visual assets, making sure the message is consistent, coherent and aesthetically pleasing. This also leads into the next principle… user engagement.
3. User Engagement
We discussed the importance of UX and UI from the design standpoint, now let’s focus on the importance from the search engines perspective. User Engagement is how search engines measure how happy users are with your site and they do it by measuring the average time spent on your website.
Good design and good content are the keys to ensuring positive user engagement. Traditionally (and honestly it’s still the case with smaller low cost quick production designers), designers only concern themselves with the design elements… choosing to focus on beautiful design elements and vibrant colors with less focus on content and navigation. However, a web designer that is also knowledgeable in SEO principles will design your business a website that ensures an overall positive user experience built on design, content and navigation; not just one that looks pretty. That equals positivity.
4. Link Building
Link Building is crucial to SEO success. It creates domain authority by establishing your website as a credible source of information within your industry. Link Building is broken down into two main categories: backlinking and interlinking. Let’s explore the two:
Backlinking is when links to your website and content are featured on other websites and articles. A good digital marketing strategy should help increase the number of relevant backlinks to your site. There are several ways you can increase backlinks. You can partner with local businesses to have them link to your site, and in exchange you link to theirs. You can partner with influencers in your industry. Or you can do what’s called organic outreach. You would search for people that are writing about your industry and pitch them your content to see if they will link out to your content.
Backlinking is an SEO strategy that takes time to build. However, interlinking is a SEO strategy that can be built in from day one, if you have a web designer who is fluent in SEO.
Interlinking is a process that links your website’s content to other areas of your website that those users may be interested in or would find useful. A SEO fluent web designer will build these links into your website’s content so that it flows with the content and can naturally help the user navigate and stay on the page longer, which boosts user engagement. There are a few other reasons why interlinking is key to your website design.
- It highlights web pages that may not be accessible to search engines.
- Helps structure web pages based on the keywords used in the anchor text and links URL (builds relevance)
- Improves user experience by providing more interaction points on your site.
- Strengthens your keyword strategy.
- Organizes site architecture and communicates to search engines your most important pages.
For instance, we wrote an article breaking down exactly what SEO is, by linking that article to our SEO services page, it shows search engines and users that these two articles are linked and related to SEO. It also helps guide visitors towards services they could be interested in.
5. Easily Shareable
Whether you currently have a content plan or not, you probably know how important it is to have your site shared on social media sites. There are many instances where social links and shared content appear before the official website in searches because those links are more relevant to the specific search.
Web designers that know SEO know that it is important to include social media sharing links prominently throughout your website to encourage social sharing. These should be included in blog posts, on landing pages, lead magnets and any other important content that you want to be shared.
Web designers who build with SEO best practices understand the importance of page loading speed and are more likely to make design decisions that will ensure a speedy website for your visitors.
In 2021, we should all have an understanding of how connected things are. Also, if 2020 taught us anything business wise, it’s that a strong online presence is essential to your businesses longevity. Choose a web designer who has knowledge of SEO principles and how to apply those techniques to aesthetically pleasing websites. Applying these principles and techniques can take a decent or good website to a great website. You and your business deserve nothing less.