To understand how web design and search engine optimization work together, you have to understand what they are and what they aren’t. SEO consists of the things you do to increase the number of people who visit your website and the quality of those visitors through organic or unpaid search results.
As you delve into local SEO and broad-based search engine optimization, you might hear a less experienced SEO consultant use the terms search engine marketing and search engine optimization interchangeably. While that’s understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t the same thing.
SEM refers to Internet-based marketing the includes both organic search results as well as paid advertising. So, SEO is part of SEM, but search engine marketing includes other components as well as the organic search results produced by your SEO campaigns.
Differences Between Website Design and Web Development
Just like some people use SEM and SEO interchangeably, others do the same thing with the terms “website design” and “web development.” While you may be tempted to do the same, we encourage you to refrain because they are separate activities.
Put simply, web design refers to the aesthetics and usability of a website. Website designers use design programs like Adobe Photoshop to make a website’s layout and create the site’s visual components.
To make it even easier to understand the difference between web design and development, it might help to think of the design as a picture of a website. Developers take that picture, break it down into separate components and then tie those pieces together using code to build a website that works. Whereas designers focus on balance, contrast, emphasis, consistency and unity, a web developer focuses on function.
How Search Engines Work
To design a great website and make the most of your SEO efforts, you have to know how search engines work. In general, search engines crawl websites and index their pages accordingly. The search engines present indexed web pages in search engine results pages based on various factors, such as page speed, user experience and content relevance as it relates to a user’s search query.
Evidence shows that the first few organic listings in SERPs get the vast majority of click-throughs compared to other search results. With the goal of SEO being to increase the traffic that results from organic search, it’s clear that how you design your website is closely related to your SEO as far as search engines are concerned.
As a web designer, your goal should be to create a website design that appeals to search engines and users in equal measure. It won’t matter how great your website is if no one can find it and it won’t matter that you have a website at all if it provides a poor user experience. So, pleasing both parties should be a priority.
Here are the typical attributes that a website that’s attractive to search engines and users usually have:
- A logical, strong menu structure that’s built around thoughtful URLs
- A user-friendly nature that boasts a satisfying user interface and user experience
- A structure that’s not unnecessarily bloated
Responsive Web Design
Just because your web design and SEO should work together for you to get the most out of your website, it doesn’t mean they’re going to work together well in every instance. One way you can make sure they work together seamlessly is to use a responsive web design for your site.
A responsive web design ensures people will have the same user experience regardless of the device or browser they’re using to view your website. This is important because people can access the Internet using a wide array of devices and browsers, and you want everyone to have a pleasant experience no matter what they use to navigate to your site.
It’s also important because Google has a soft-spot for websites built with responsive web design. This means that websites made with responsive web design will appear higher in SERPs than those that aren’t made with responsive design.
Like page speed, the user experience your website provides is a factor Google looks at when it ranks your site in SERPs. A responsive web design can improve the user experience dramatically, especially if your existing website is made for desktop or you’re currently managing two websites, one for desktop and a separate one for mobile. With an improved, consistent user experience thanks to responsive web design, your website may rank higher in SERPs, which can help your SEO.
Common SEO Mistakes Web Designers Make
Even if they use responsive web design, there are some SEO mistakes that web designers make frequently. Here are a few of the ones you should keep an eye out for:
- Multiple H1 Headings on a Page: If you consult a seasoned SEO company, you’ll probably learn that designers often make the mistake of looking at headings from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, which often leads to multiple H1 headings on a single page. From a SEO perspective, there should only be one H1 heading per webpage, with the others being H2s, H3s and so on.
- Using Flash: While Flash used to be popular, you should avoid using it or only use it in design elements that aren’t too important. If you use Flash too much or in central areas of your site, you run the risk of it preventing search engines from seeing your meaningful content.
- Using Subdomains, Frames or Ajax: Subdomains, frames and Ajax are not search-friendly so you should avoid using them at all costs. Use HTML and refrain from taking shortcuts with your coding that could negatively affect your SEO down the line.
Why Use our SEO and Web Design Company
When you need SEO and web design services, you simply have to contact Beyond Custom Websites. You get the best of both worlds from us because our organization is an SEO company as well as a website design company. We have a thorough understanding of how web design and SEO work together and we can put them to work for your business. Contact Beyond Custom Websites to learn more about our web design and SEO services now.