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Why SEO Starts with the Design of Your Website

SEO, Web design

10 minute read

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why SEO starts with the design of your website

Have you invested in a new website which has failed to increase traffic, leads, and sales? Are you struggling to see any ROI? Then it’s likely that your website was developed without considering SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which is critical to achieving online visibility.

SEO starts with website design because it influences site structure, navigation, and user experience. Well-designed sites enhance crawlability, load speed, and mobile friendliness, which are crucial for search engine rankings and user engagement.

Many of our clients come to us having spent a lot of money on a website that has not delivered results because it isn’t optimised for search engines. Based on our experience, I’ve put together this article to provide guidance on what your website needs in the next phases of its lifecycle.

How does SEO affect web design?

A website’s design is fundamental for SEO success. It affects how search engines navigate and understand your site. Good design ensures easy access to all content and a smooth user experience, which search engines value.

A well-designed website allows search engine bots to index and rank it. Site structure, internal linking, and navigation directly impact user experience, influencing factors like bounce rate and session duration, which are key metrics for search engine algorithms.

A fast, responsive website that caters to mobile users is increasingly vital as search engines prioritise mobile-friendly sites. Elements like website speed and schema markup, inherently linked with design, significantly contribute to SEO success by enhancing usability. Providing a seamless browsing experience ultimately improves organic search visibility and drives traffic to your site.

When Should You Start SEO for Your Website?

Incorporating SEO into your website should start at the very beginning, during the initial phases of design and development. Integrating SEO from the outset ensures your site is optimised for search engines from launch, laying a strong foundation for long-term visibility and success.

It starts with planning out the web pages in a sitemap, considering what content you will need for each page. Keyword research is very important so that you increase the likelihood of being ranked for search queries related to your products or services. Then there are technical elements that should be optimised, like headings, page titles and meta descriptions.

At Targeted SEO, we specialise in search optimised web design. Our team consists of web developers, web designers, SEO consultants, and content creators. All of our websites have SEO baked in from the start to lay the foundations for success.

But it doesn’t all stop once the website is launched, SEO takes constant effort to get results with an ongoing SEO and content strategy. In time the website will increase in authority and gain more visibility in search results, sending more traffic to the site. This is the game of SEO – attracting customers genuinely interested in your product or service to your website.

What to Do If SEO Is an Afterthought

My first piece of advice is to invest in a paid SEO audit. Our audits are in-depth and never auto-generated with software. Many websites out there do this, spitting out a complicated PDF that is of little practical use!

Our approach involves using our expertise and leading software to undertake a thorough analysis of your website. You will then receive a personalised report that we will discuss with you in a video consultation.

The purpose of the SEO audit is to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your website’s performance. We then offer valuable recommendations on how to enhance your website’s organic visibility.

Depending on the audit outcome, our recommendations may include working with the existing site to fix any technical issues, both on and off the page. Sometimes, it’s best to start with a brand-new, fully-optimised website.

What We Do with Existing Websites with Bad SEO

If we find a site beyond repair, which is often the case, it’s better to redevelop it completely. For example, the site may have been poorly developed with a bloated backend of plugins and unnecessary code. Sometimes we find that websites are not maintained correctly, with outdated plugins.

We recently took on a WordPress website with plugins that hadn’t been updated for several years (including SEO plugins). When we performed the update, the site simply broke and so we had to redevelop it, with search engine optimisation at the heart.

If a site has been developed well, it may be possible to apply SEO best practices. Changes and results don’t happen overnight, however! Patience is required while Google and other search engines start to recognise the changes.

Considering Technical SEO as Part of Web Design

Technical SEO in web design involves optimising various on page elements to enhance a website’s visibility and performance. This includes image optimisation, which involves reducing image file sizes and adding descriptive alt text to improve load times and accessibility.

It also encompasses considerations for Core Web Vitals, a set of user-focused metrics introduced by Google to evaluate a website’s overall user experience. These metrics include page loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability, all of which significantly impact user satisfaction and, therefore, search engine rankings.

Caching is another critical component of technical SEO, involving the temporary storage of web page assets such as HTML files, images, and scripts on a user’s device or a server. By caching these elements, websites can improve loading speeds and reduce server load, leading to better user experiences.

It’s worth noting that at Targeted SEO, we provide server-side optimisation as part of our hosting services. This includes browser caching, code minification, and image compression (utilising formats like WebP). These measures ensure our websites maintain exceptional user experience.

Invest in Reliable and Fast Dedicated Website Hosting

Fast, reliable, and secure hosting is often overlooked when it comes to SEO. If you purchase cheap hosting, you’ll likely be on a shared server with many other sites, which can drain your site’s performance and result in a slow-loading experience.

Targeted SEO operates a UK server exclusively dedicated to our clients’ websites. We ensure that our server is equipped with daily backups and SSL certificates that meet industry standards. Additionally, we can control CPU and memory allocation to ensure optimal performance.

Our WordPress hosting and care packages include proper management and maintenance of our client’s websites hosted on our server. By providing reliable hosting, we aim to minimise website downtime and ensure fast loading speeds, which is highly favoured by Google bot crawlers.

Is SEO Related to Web Design?

SEO is pivotal in website design and development. Every aspect, from site structure to content organisation, influences search engine visibility. Prioritising SEO in design and development ensures search engines can understand and rank your site effectively.

Does the Design of Your Website Affect SEO?

Website design profoundly influences SEO. Factors like user experience, mobile responsiveness, and page loading speed are critical for search engine rankings. A well-designed site enhances visibility and user engagement, positively impacting SEO outcomes.

Does the Age of My Website Impact SEO?

The age of your website and domain significantly affect SEO. Older sites often have more established organic traffic and backlinks, which can bolster SEO performance. This credibility can enhance overall visibility and move the website up the rankings.

How to Design an SEO-Friendly Website

To develop an SEO-friendly website:

  • Use a content management system such as WordPress.
  • Choose a fast theme like Astra Pro or Hello by Elementor.
  • Install an SEO plugin like Rankmath Pro.
  • Spend time on keyword strategy and work hard on your content.
  • Focus on creating a great user experience with content and pages that genuinely help your site visitors.
  • Develop an ‘about us’ page to clearly demonstrate your experience and expertise.
  • Create individual pages for each of your services or products, which are accessible within one click of the main menu.
  • Build a contact page and embed a form developed with Gravity Forms.
  • Add calls to action on each page.
  • Partner with an SEO and web design agency like Targeted SEO – we’ll do all the hard work so you don’t have to!

Can You Design a Stylish, Modern Website with SEO?

Absolutely. By prioritising factors like mobile responsiveness, page speed optimisation, and structured data markup, you can create an aesthetically pleasing site that also ranks well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

example of SEO friendly web design by Targeted SEO
Example of recent web design with combined SEO strategy (launched April 2024) for Going Green Renewables Ltd.

What Is the Difference Between SEO and Web Design?

The difference between SEO and web design lies in their focus and objectives. SEO primarily aims to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results, focusing on factors like keywords, content optimisation, and backlinks. On the other hand, web design concentrates on the aesthetic and functional aspects of a website, including layout, navigation, and user experience.

The key thing to remember, however, is that the two are intrinsically linked.

What are the key elements of SEO-friendly web design?

The key web design elements for SEO success include optimised meta descriptions, clear site structure, fast loading times, mobile responsiveness, proper HTML markup, and URL structure.

Choose a Combined Web Design & SEO Package

At Targeted SEO, we specialise in crafting bespoke websites with SEO built in from the start. Our approach blends distinctive branding, stylish design, masterful content creation and technical SEO prowess to ensure each website is primed for success.

Invest your marketing budget into a combined web design and SEO package for your business.

Need Help with Your Web Design and SEO?

If you are interested in learning more, contact the team at Targeted SEO today to apply for a free web design and SEO discovery session.

Some further food for thought…

  1. Google Search Console Data: According to Google, sites with good web design tend to rank better. Google Search Console offers insights into how Google views your site and provides valuable data to enhance SEO efforts.
  2. Page Speed Impact: Research by Google reveals that 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load. Optimising page speed through effective web design is crucial for retaining visitors and improving search rankings.
  3. User Experience and SEO: A study by Adobe found that 38% of users stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. User experience, a critical aspect of web design, directly influences user engagement metrics, which are significant ranking factors for search engines.
  4. Mobile Responsiveness: Statista reports that mobile devices account for over 50% of web traffic worldwide. Websites optimised for mobile devices through responsive design are more likely to rank higher in mobile search results, improving visibility and organic traffic.
  5. Internal Links and SEO: HubSpot research suggests that internal linking can improve SEO by establishing site architecture and spreading link equity. Properly structured internal linking, an aspect of web design, enhances crawlability and indexing, leading to better search engine rankings.
  6. Meta Tags and Click-Through Rates (CTR): A study by Backlinko found that pages with a higher CTR tend to rank better in search results. Well-crafted meta tags, an essential component of web design, can influence CTR by providing compelling snippets that entice users to click.
  7. Site Structure and SEO: Research by SEMrush, indicates that sites with a clear site structure tend to rank better in search results. Effective site architecture, facilitated through thoughtful web design, improves user navigation and helps search engines understand the hierarchy and relevance of content.

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About Targeted SEO

Targeted SEO is a specialist search engine optimisation company based in Southampton. We focus on developing websites which grow in organic traffic, resulting in more leads, online enquiries and sales for our clients.

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