How Web Design Affects Your SEO Rankings

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Web design refers to how you plan, conceptualize, and display content on your website. Today, web design plays a vital role in SEO ranking. The way you design your site and how users interact with it will directly affect your website’s ranking.
Modern web designers have to go the extra mile to enhance website functionalities and user experience. Web designers and digital marketers have to work together to ensure their websites are visible on search engines.

How does web design affect SEO?

Most people just think of content when they talking about SEO. While content takes the bigger part of any SEO plan, there is a lot more to SEO than just content. The way your website has been designed has a major impact on some of the factors that search engines use to assign SEO scores.
Such factors include;
  • Site architecture
  • User Experience
  • Responsive designs
  • Security
In the sections below, we are going to explore each of these factors and establish how they are related to web design, and how they affect SEO scores. Tag along and learn how to increase SEO ranking through web design.

Site Architecture

Site architecture refers to how your website is structured. The final structure will depend on your web design approach. Site architecture is a very crucial aspect of how people interact with your website. It determines how accessible your web pages and content are.
If your website has a lot of pages, you have to structure it in a way that makes all pages easily accessible. A bad site architecture will make it difficult for users to navigate through your website.
You can make your site easy to navigate by following these guidelines;
  • The main menu should not contain technical and complex jargon. Use simple and familiar words.
  • Use drop-down menus to categorize related pages together.
  • Ensure the main menu looks simple as possible by limiting the number of items. Drop-down menus can help you avoid having too many items on the main menu.
  • Your website should have a search bar where the users can quickly find the page they are looking for.
  • Ensure users can quickly access the main menu on all the web pages.
  • Always have concise, clear, and descriptive URLs on every page. Let your users know where they are heading by just a look at the web page’s URL.
  • Your website’s internal links should have descriptive anchor texts.
It is recommended that you ensure that your users are never more than three clicks away from the home page, regardless of where they are on your website.
Search engine bots that crawl your website are designed to replicate human behaviour. They can, therefore, gauge how easy or difficult it is to navigate through your website. They will assign your website a higher score if it is easy to navigate and raise your chances of getting impressions for your target keywords.
The other thing you need to be keen about when it comes to site architecture is your page layout. Your web pages have to be clutter-free and easily readable. Pay keen attention to your landing pages to make sure they make a good first impression. Your visitors are likely to stay longer on your website the page they land on makes a good impression.
You must come with a sensible element hierarchy. There must be a sensible flow of information on your webs pages, to make sure your users do not get confused. You have to make sure all sections in a web page are clearly labelled as well.

User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) is a term used to refer to the user-friendliness of a website. Keep in mind that you are building a website for humans. User experience is affected by factors such as ease of navigation, which we already talked about above, among others.
The other factors include;
  • Visual appeal
  • Content readability
  • Loading speeds

Visual Appeal

As mentioned above, first impressions can make or break your business. Visual appeal counts for a lot in first impressions. Which aspects affect the visual appeal of a web page? Visual appeal will be impacted by factors such as;
  • Fonts
  • Images
  • Color themes
Fonts determine how readable and attractive your text is. You have to balance the fonts and colors you use to make sure your text is clear. Avoid using complicated fonts if you don’t know how well to deal with them.
Images are a great way of capturing the attention of your visitors. However, you must use relatable and attractive images. Using random images that have no relation to the content on that page or your website will defeat the purpose. It will leave your visitors confused and that not an experience anyone wants to have.
Make sure you do not use too many or heavy images. They will significantly slow down your site’s loading speed.
Images should also have alt text. Alt text is a short description of what the image is.
Search engines cannot see images. They read the alt text for them to understand what the image is about. If the images fail to load, the alt text is displayed in their place.
Follow these tips while adding images to your website.
  • Make use of compressed images. This will help boost your website’s loading speed by decreasing server load.
  • For every image, you use on your site, ensure you use expressive and keyword-rich alt text. This is because the search engines don’t interpret images. The alt text helps search engines to perceive the images for specific keywords. Users can also use the alt text in case the photo doesn’t load.
  • Add appropriate keywords to the images’ title.
When it comes to color themes, you should be aware that some color themes can strain the eyes. If your website has such color themes, users will most likely leave immediately. That will hurt your search engine optimization rankings.

Content Readability

Your visitors must be able to easily consume the content on your web pages. This also has something to do with the fonts and colors you use. Apart from that, readability will be affected by how you’ve structured your content.
Content readability is also about how you write your copy. You have to understand your target audience so that you can write content that appealing to them. For instance, the language you use to communicate with young kids is totally different from the language you use to communicate with adults.
Right from the first word to the sentence structure, paragraph, and subtitles, thoughts should flow. Make it effortless for your readers to follow ideas.
It is recommended that you use simple language if you are writing for a general audience. Use the following tips to enhance the readability of your content.
  • Ensure you use simple font sizes, which are easy to read
  • Leave enough white space.
  • Split your content into bullet points, headings, and subheadings.
  • Choose bright background colors.
  • Ensure your readers capture the content by using short sentences and paragraphs.
  • Divide your content by infographics, images, and videos if possible. Also, ensure your content is interesting since readers won’t read boring content.
If your visitors are finding it hard to make sense of or follow your content, they will bounce off your pages and not come back. That will negatively impact your SEO score. You can use SEO ranking tools such as SEMrush and Yoast to gauge the readability of your

Website Loading Speed

Have you ever tried to visit a certain website and it took forever to load? It is always a very frustrating experience. You should make sure visitors to your website never have such an experience.
Loading speeds and increase your bounce rates. That’s bad for SEO. Search engine bots also monitor loading speeds. Your website will be penalized for slow loading speeds.
Your loading speeds have a significant impact on your SEO score.
Here are some of the things that could lead to slow loading speeds.
  • Heavy and many flush plugins
  • Heavy and many images
  • Poor site architecture
  • Slow hosting server, etc.
Use these tips to improve your website loading speed:
  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • If possible, ensure you utilize the CDN
  • Make use of compressed images
  • Reduce the use of redirects
  • Improve your site hosting solution
  • Ensure you use a caching solution
  • Minimize your JS and CSS files

Responsive Designs

Different visitors to your site are likely to be using different devices. You’ll receive visitors using desktops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices that can access web pages. These devices have different screen sizes. Responsive web designs ensure your web pages can be rendered properly on any screen size.
A responsive website can rearrange its elements when the screen changes to ensure everything fits properly on the webpage. Responsive designs are an important part of SEO. Search engines will penalize your site if it is not responsive.
If your site is not responsive users will accessing it with small screens will find it difficult to interact with your content. It will have poor visual appeal, and the readability of the content will be poor as well. We’ve already mentioned that these things can severely affect your website’s SEO ranking.


Website security is an essential part of web design. If you cannot guarantee your visitors that they are secure on your site, they will find it difficult to interact with it. Search engines can also gauge how secure your site is. If it is not fully secure, they will penalize your site and you will not get a lot of traffic.
One of the most important security protocols for a website is HTTPS. It guarantees web users that your site is secure. When you have HTTPS protocols on your website, user information is encrypted as it transits from their dashboard to your server. A website with HTTPS protocol is assigned an SSL certificate.
Search engines look for the SSL certificate on a website to ascertain that it is safe. You must ensure you have the certificate on your website. If you don’t have one, browsers will warn users that your website is not safe. That will significantly affect your traffic flow.
Before we conclude, let’s talk about one more thing. The 404 page! The 404 page is an error page that is displayed when one of your web pages no longer exist or one of the links on your website are broken.

The “404” Page

The 404 page usually has nothing that can keep the visitors on the website. Users will most likely immediately leave your site when they encounter a 404 page.
However, all is not lost since there are some things you can do to make it user-friendly and encourage users to stay on your site. The following tips will help you make users stay longer when they encounter a 404 page on your website.
  • On your 404 pages, list essential web pages and try to convince your visitors to look at them.
  • Never utilize a generic design. Try to be a little bit creative and make your 404 pages more attractive and exciting.
  • On your 404 pages, ensure you have search bar functionality. This will help your visitors to have another chance to get certain content.
In as much as you can optimize your 404 pages to hold visitors, it is important to ensure your website never has broken links and links to non-existent pages. You should still have an optimized 404 page.
For instance, a user may find him/her on the 404 pages by typing the wrong URL. Yes, it might not be your fault, but you must be ready if such happens. Create helpful 404 pages to keep your users on-site and enhance on-page time. Consequently, the bounce rate will decrease, leading to positive signals in your search engine rankings.


Web design is at the heart of how valuable and helpful your website is. If you want to attract quality traffic to your site you can’t compromise on web design. You have to build your website in the best way possible.
It is quite evident that web design has a huge impact on SEO. If you focus on creating a high-quality website, your SEO work is going to be a lot easier.
You should hire expert web designs to create an SEO-friendly website for you. Digital Marksmen can design and an amazing website and help you make it visible on search engines.

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