When you invest in a new website, you want it to look beautiful. You start the design process brimming with ideas of color schemes and dazzling visuals. While aesthetics are a major part of web design, they aren’t the only things that matter. It’s equally important to implement website SEO during the web design process. Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, will set your site up to appear on Google’s search results, getting your business found online by potential customers and clients.
So, how do you design your website with SEO best practices in mind? Using a website builder with built-in SEO tools is a great start. From there, you must strategically design your website to align with SEO.
In this SEO website design guide, you will learn:
- How website design and SEO impact each other
- SEO website design metrics to consider
- Best SEO website design tips
How website design and SEO impact each other
SEO is the process of optimizing your website, so it shows up on Google’s search results for specific search queries. To understand SEO best practices, you need to put yourself in Google’s shoes.
Google’s goal is to satisfy its users by providing them high-quality, relevant search results. Google only wants to present websites that are user-friendly and well-designed. Since web design plays a major role in giving a user a good experience, it naturally impacts SEO.
Why is SEO website design important?
Business owners often build a new website, only to consider SEO later on. This presents some problems, since many SEO elements must be built into the design and development of a website. Adjusting web design for SEO after the fact is much more challenging, time-consuming, and costly.
Instead, consider SEO and web design simultaneously. When you prioritize SEO from the beginning of design and development, your web design will have SEO features “baked in”, saving you time and money down the road.
SEO website design metrics to consider
Two important SEO metrics are closely tied to web design: bounce rate and time-on-page. You must consider your website design’s impact on these metrics every step of the way if you want to appear on Google.
The bounce rate measures the percentage of website visitors who only stuck around on your website to see one page. They didn’t care to explore any further. If your website has a high bounce rate, it means people don’t like what they see, which could be due to any of the following reasons:
- Slow loading pages
- Unattractive, cluttered design
- Poor or non-existent mobile responsive design
- Unsatisfactory information
- Intrusive pop-up advertisements
- A lack of trust in your website’s credibility
From Google’s perspective, a high bounce rate means your website failed to satisfy its users. In turn, Google will reduce your visibility on its search results.
Time on site
Time on site measures the duration of a visitor’s stay on your website during a single session. The longer a visitor stays, the better it is for your SEO.
A high time on site tells Google that visitors are exploring your web pages, engaging with your content, and successfully finding the information they came for. It also means they enjoy your web design and find your site easy to use and navigate. This all reflects well on your web design choices.
Google views a high time on site as evidence that your website satisfies its users. In turn, Google will boost your SEO visibility.
Best SEO website design tips
So how can you improve your bounce rate and time on site metrics? It all comes down to pleasing Google’s users. Offer them a positive browsing experience on your website, and you will be rewarded with SEO visibility. Here’s how:
- Increase your website’s loading speed
- Make sure your web design is aesthetically pleasing
- Optimize your website for mobile devices
- Make sure your navigation is intuitive and clear
Let’s explain each of these SEO tips in a little more detail.
Step 1: Increase your website’s loading speed
Before a visitor can experience your website, it needs to load onto their screen. Modern internet users have very little patience for slow-loading websites. If your website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, a huge percentage of visitors will simply click away, causing you to lose out on hard-earned traffic and potential customers.
Furthermore, if visitors click away after a few seconds, your bounce rate will spike and your time-on-page will plummet, both of which will harm your SEO. So how do you speed up your website’s loading time?
How to increase your website’s loading time
Websites load slowly when they’re burdened with bulky files, excessive redirected URLs, cluttered code, or poor web hosting. To make your website load faster, you must streamline these web design elements. Here’s how:
- Avoid using Flash
- Compress your image files
- Reduce your use of web page redirects
- Utilize browser caching
- Simplify your website’s code
- Choose a high-quality hosting service
- Simplify your website’s HTML and CSS files
If you’re not sure how to do some of these tasks, don’t worry. When you create your website with Constant Contact, your website pages will load fast from the get-go — no complicated optimization required or understanding of how to do any of the above. Constant Contact’s reliable hosting services and quality website themes keep your site loading quickly for years to come.
Step 2: Make sure your web design is aesthetically pleasing
First impressions are powerful. It takes less than a second for a visitor to evaluate your website’s design. If they find it unattractive, 38% of website visitors will leave. Even more notably, 48% of people judge a business’ credibility solely on the quality of its web design.
Before visitors even have a chance to read your content, they’ve already sized up your business and assessed its credibility. For that reason, you need to wow them right away with beautiful web design.
How to make your web design more attractive
With so much riding on your website design’s aesthetics, make sure you adhere to these recommendations:
- Use high-resolution images.
- Choose fonts that are easy to read.
- Maintain a consistent style and color scheme throughout.
- Use a generous amount of white space between design elements.
- Avoid clutter and aim for simplicity instead.
By making your website easy on the eyes, people will stick around long enough to explore your content, improving your bounce rate and time on page metrics.
Fortunately for you, Constant Contact’s ready-made website themes already embody these SEO website design principles. By using one, you’ll get a stunning website effortlessly, in just a few minutes.
Step 3: Optimize your website for mobile devices
With the rise of smartphones and tablets, many internet users browse the web on small screens. In fact, over half of all Google searches are done from a mobile device. Due to this, Google has confirmed that mobile optimization is an SEO factor.
Google isn’t the only one that cares about mobile optimization. Website visitors do too. If your website shows up poorly on mobile devices, users will get irritated and associate those negative feelings with your brand.
To delight website visitors from all devices, use responsive design when building a mobile-optimized website. But what is responsive design? Responsive web design enables your website to orient itself impeccably on all types of devices, regardless of screen size or orientation.
Constant Contact’s website themes automatically come with responsive web design, making this part of the SEO website design process a breeze. Your mobile web design will be just as great as the desktop’s web design — no effort needed. For more information on Constant Contact’s responsive website design features, check out our guide on how to make a responsive website.
Step 4: Make sure your navigation is intuitive and clear
If your website loads quickly, looks nice, and renders well, most website visitors will be willing to explore it. At this point, you want to offer them an outstanding navigation experience. In doing so, you will improve your bounce rate and time on page, as users smoothly navigate from one page to the next.
SEO-friendly navigation is clear and intuitive. It should be so seamless that website visitors don’t even notice it. To accomplish this, optimize the following navigation elements:
- Menu bar: Visitors use your menu bar to orient themselves on your website. If it’s hard to find, they will get frustrated. Make sure your menu bar is visible and easy to read. Use it to display links to the most valuable pages of your website. If you have a larger website, consider using a menu bar with a drop-down feature so you can link to subcategory pages as well.
- Internal linking: Not every single web page can be shown in your menu bar. Guide visitors to the rest of your pages through internal linking. Strategically link to relevant pages within your web page copy. For example, use internal links to funnel traffic from a blog post to a related product page, and so forth. As visitors explore your content, they will find these links and click on them to learn more which will lead them to the various pages on your website (increasing the pages visited and time on site).
- Calls to action (CTAs): CTAs are similar to internal links, but they have a little more pizazz. CTAs prompt website visitors to take some sort of action, whether that’s making a purchase or signing up for a free trial. By clicking on a CTA button, users are taken to the web page where they can take the associated action. By placing CTAs strategically throughout your website, you’ll increase your online conversions.
- Search bar: If your website is on the larger size, a search bar can help people find what exactly they’re looking for efficiently. This will enhance their navigation experience.
- Page layout: Finally, carefully consider how you organize the content on your web pages. Structure it to support a visitors’ journey on your website. Place content in a way that will encourage their exploration down the page.
By setting up your navigation intentionally, visitors will easily find what they’re looking for and enjoy their experience with your business. By satisfying your visitors, you satisfy Google as well.
Consider the buyer’s journey when structuring your website
As you structure your website, keep in mind the buyer’s journey. This is the process someone takes from learning about your business offerings to making a purchase. Ask yourself, “What page does my visitor need to see next in order to become a customer?”
Here are some suggestions:
- Awareness stage visitors: New website visitors are often in the “awareness” stage of their buyer’s journey. This means they’re exploring solutions to their problems, without knowing much about your products or services. In this stage, they’ll greatly benefit from blog posts, webinars, and FAQ pages.
- Consideration stage visitors: Some visitors will come to your website ready to compare your business against the competition. In this stage, they’re looking for practical information about your business and its qualifications. They’ll want to see case studies, product pages, and product demos.
- Decision stage visitors: Finally, some visitors arrive at your website having done their research. They are one step away from making their final purchase. This is the time to convince them that they should buy from you. In this stage, provide them with reviews, customer testimonials, or free trials to tip them over the edge.
You must position information strategically so people find what they’re looking for at any given stage of the buyer’s journey. To plan your website structure effectively, create a site map. Imagine the path a visitor will take once they find your site. Then create the necessary internal links and CTAs to encourage this flow.
Design your website with SEO in mind
SEO and web design are closely intertwined. Your web design choices determine how long visitors stay on your website. By creating a mobile-optimized website that visitors love to explore, Google will boost your visibility in the search engine. This means your business will reap the rewards of increased website traffic and an influx of online customers.
To make the SEO website design process easier and more affordable, build your website with Constant Contact. You’ll enjoy reliable hosting, beautiful website themes, and built-in website SEO tools that set you up for success. To create a beautifully designed, SEO-friendly website, follow these steps:
- Utilize Constant Contact’s website builder
- Choose your preferred website theme
- Fill your website with content and add internal links and CTAs throughout
- Optimize your website for search engines
- Purchase and publish your SEO-optimized website
From there, you can begin to grow your business with SEO! Once you have your web design created with SEO in mind, take it a step further and consider the other elements of optimizing your site for SEO. Being one of the top factors for performing well in a search engine, check out our guide to SEO title tags for your website.
By using Constant Contact’s website builder today, you will enjoy SEO success tomorrow. It’s really that simple.