Web Development and SEO Must be Planned Together

If you run a business and you have a website, then chances are that you’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Most web designers and content creators will tell you that SEO should be your highest priority. SEO is the practice of infusing your website with quality content and design features that search engines (like Google) rank highly. But, how does web design come into play as it relates to SEO? Good designers know that web development and SEO need to be highly coordinated in order to drive traffic to your website.

Indeed, one study showed that 32.5% of all Google search traffic comes from the first results page.[1] In other words, more people will visit your website if you appear on the first page of Google search results for relevant keyword interests. This is certainly something that a well-thought-out SEO strategy can produce. Still, the question remains: why do good web designers need to have a keen understanding of SEO practices?

Strong Web Development and SEO Call Attention to the Downside of Design Trends

One of the most popular web design trends in recent years is parallax design. Parallax design is a website feature that seems to consist of a single page that scrolls endlessly. To be fair, this is a popular design feature because consumers enjoy experiencing content that scrolls down seamlessly and website owners enjoy that it keeps customers engaged. Unfortunately, it’s not really valuable for SEO. If you have an established website that ranks highly in Google, then a web designer might think about using parallax design. But, new sites will have to put tons of relevant keywords all on a single URL. If you can spread those keywords out to around 18 or 20 pages on your website, then you have a better chance of a higher page ranking.

Web Development and SEO Underscore the Importance of Responsive Design

One thing Google seems to hate is duplicate content. One way to inadvertently produce duplicate content is by not having mobile responsiveness built in to your web design. A responsive design essentially means that your website can be viewed across numerous platforms. With more people using mobile devices than ever before, responsive design is almost a necessity.
If you build a separate mobile site apart from your desktop site, then you run the risk of Google penalizing you for duplicate content. That’s because your content will appear at two different URLs.[2] A good web designer will keep this in mind and recommend responsive design for your website.

Good web development must include functionality across all mobile devices.
Good web development with strong SEO, must include functionality across all mobile devices.

Good Web Development and SEO Must Include Website Functionality

A good web designer also has to think about the overall functionality of a website. Google can penalize websites for anything from slow load times to bad HTML. Indeed, a study on Google’s own search pages showed that web surfers were 20% less likely to look at a search page with 30 results than they were to look at a search page with 10 results.[3] This was primarily the result of slow load times.

Other issues, like an excess of 404 pages, can produce an SEO penalty. If your web designer keeps these problems at the forefront of their strategy, then you will experience considerably less backlash from search engines.

Pretty Design Doesn’t Always Work

A website filled with gorgeous images, infographics, videos, or flash animations might be interesting to look at, but it’s going to plummet in search engine results. Google prioritizes websites that operate with well-coded HTML5. Web designers have to keep these stringent regulations in mind when they are building your website. A website without effective content coded in HTML5 is going to take an SEO hit.[4]

That being said, it’s also important for websites to look trustworthy to potential consumers. One review of health websites indicated that 94% of website visitors said they distrusted a website based entirely on design elements (not necessarily SEO related).[5]

Obviously, a good web designer will be able to combine both the aesthetic and the functional. Having a well-made website is more than just pretty pictures and eye-catching graphics. The designer needs to keep SEO in mind so that your website can actually earn traffic from search engines on a consistent basis.

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