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26.01.2022

3 min read

SEO & web design – bridging the gap

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

When designing your new website, it’s important to prioritise SEO essentials and E-A-T factors which will benefit performance in the long term, as well as how accessible the website is to users. Occasionally, however, design can be prioritised over these elements, which may have a detrimental effect on your site’s performance.

As an SEO, I work with developers on a daily basis. Whilst developers are concerned with the visual aspects of the website – banners, moving text, styling – SEOs are more concerned with how the functionality will impact rankings. Sometimes, the two don’t marry up.

Here are some common design features which might impact your site’s organic performance, and how they could be adjusted to incorporate SEO fundamentals. 

A large banner image on a service or product page can look smart, but it takes up a lot of space above the fold. Additionally, if the text is a part of the image itself, it may be inaccessible to those who use screen readers. They won’t be able to understand the context of the page, especially if there is no alt text added to the image.

SEO compromise

Adding a heading <h1> and a short paragraph about the product or service within the banner is a great way to avoid wasting space on the page. You could also add a CTA, such as “Buy Now” or “Get a Quote” to keep important links in the eyeline of the user. Ultimately, you want to ensure that the user gets all the valuable information above the fold. This will help to keep them engaged, and may decrease your bounce rate.

News pages

News pages are a great place to host content, but a basic template might be difficult for users to navigate. When blogs, guides, company news, and FAQs are all bundled together, it makes it harder for users to find what they are looking for.

SEO compromise

Filtering is a great way to split apart content by intent. A ‘nice to have’ would be individual pages for each type of content – /blog/, /guides/, /faqs/, /news/ – each linked to from a resource hub. However, if this is outside of your budget, tagging each post will improve usability, and adding a simple filtration functionality at the top of the page will allow users to refine the content to suit their needs.

Pop ups and intrusive interstitials

Not only can constant pop-ups be annoying, but they can also have a detrimental effect on your site’s performance. Google’s Core Web Vitals signals mean that websites could be penalised for pop-ups that negatively impact the user experience on a website, particularly on mobile. This includes content covering pop-ups, large banners, and full-screen ads.

SEO compromise

If your pop-ups are necessary for gathering customer data or sharing offers, there are ways to make them less intrusive. This includes:

  • Timed pop-ups – they will only appear if a user is engaged with your site for a certain period of time
  • Non-intrusive banners – small banners at the top or bottom of the screen are an alternative, as they don’t cover any information on the page.
  • Minimised chatbots – for customer service purposes, you can minimise chat functionality, either on the bottom or side of the screen, allowing users to find it if needed.

Digestible layout

It’s often the case that simple blog templates can structure the copy as a wall of text. This is not good for usability, as people with dyslexia or visual impairments can find it difficult to read. If you don’t have the budget for a custom template, there are ways around this.

SEO compromise

Asking your developer to implement a plugin, such as DIVI or Yoast SEO, will allow you to structure your pages using blocks, headings, and a wide array of different functions. This way, you can break up the page into a digestible format, as well as adding imagery, pulling through relevant blogs, and linking to your social media profiles, to name a few.

To find out more about web development and SEO, check out these helpful blogs: