Attractive and professional websites are essential for businesses today. They are replacing traditional brick & motor stores in a world where the majority of people are searching for products and services primarily online. That’s why it’s necessary to pay close attention to website design. But, relying solely on looks is not going to help a business as much. A website also needs to be optimized for search engines to improve its online visibility. And this is where search engine optimization is a requirement today. However, SEO is not something you should add later on; it should be integrated into the web designing process. Whether you are just creating a new or rebuilding your old website, SEO-friendly web design is a strategy to follow. Failing to understand this properly will only slow you down in accomplishing your business goals.

SEO-Friendly Web Design guidelines

Simply put, a website is the center of the majority of a business’s marketing efforts. It may look all nice and shiny, but even the most beautiful design won’t bring results without proper optimization. Even worse, spending additional time optimizing it later on will only lead to additional time and costs. So, before you start a new web design project, take advice from a trusted web design company and carefully evaluate your options. Have thorough consideration on how to create a website that is both search engine and user-friendly.

To help you create a quality website, here are some SEO-friendly web design guidelines the web designers and developers follow closely:

  • Wrap your ideas around the content
  • Make a visually appealing website
  • Create proper website structure
  • Prioritize mobile optimization
  • Provide a good user experience
  • Last but most important, be sure all code and images are optimized.

Wrap your ideas around the content

Since SEO should be an integral part of the design, you have to plan it with content in mind early on. Quality content is, without exception, crucial if you want a website to be useful for visitors. It has to be relevant, easy to digest, and, above all, helpful. However, from an SEO standpoint, the content is fertile soil for seeding various SEO techniques. With keywords and links as central, the strategic implementation within will help you rank well on search engines. First, they are helpful for establishing connections and guide visitors throughout your website. Second, search engines are using them as points of reference when evaluating the quality and relevance of given material.

For example, fresh and up-to-date blog posts, listings on other relevant websites, and many more. They provide helpful information while allowing you to use different SEO strategies for better ranking results. Of course, nothing can change overnight because it will take some time to see the first results of your SEO efforts. But, like many things in business, it’s a worthy and reliable long-term investment. Also, while brainstorming about the content and design ideas, don’t forget to consider the right content management system (CMS). For the majority of situations, WordPress is a great choice (our favorite). Not that it’s the only one, but it works well with search engines. And, it is design-friendly enough that you can easily adjust, add, and make future changes when necessary.

A laptop with WordPress open and ready for adding website content.

Make a visually appealing website

Once you decide on the core content of your website, it’s time to create a visually appealing layout. This is where most beginners make crucial mistakes. Bear in mind that you are creating a website primarily for your visitors, not only for yourself. In most cases, a website is simply there as a digital tool to boost your marketing efforts. That’s why the problems it should aim to solve are the problems of your users. However, it has to have a practical yet beautiful design to improve and provide a good user experience (UX). While creativity can go in different directions, it should stay within professional boundaries for a business website. Nothing too overwhelming, flashy, or over-styled would help. It’s better to remain professional and contemplate a unified and straightforward design. Something that will reflect your brand image and help you stay memorable.

Create a proper website structure

You don’t want to confuse your visitors once they land on your pages. A properly structured website should be easy to explore by using clear and concise navigation. When someone is looking for specific information (about a product, for example), it should be easy to find. Besides the search option, your internal linking structure can help a lot. If it’s not intuitive and seamless, it will hurt the website’s usability. This is why it’s important to consider several design templates first before rushing to pick one that only looks good. It also has to “feel” good. In case of an inspirational block, you can always look at what your competitors are doing. Check their internal and external links, the navigation bars, and the overall feel they provide. Here are some elements worth exploring while examining other successful websites:

  • Domain name
  • URL structure
  • Sitemaps
  • Navigation menus and sidebars
  • Header and footer elements
  • Structure of content (formatting, headings, number of links on pages, etc.)
  • others

Finally, you need to ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website, and all the pages along the way. It will help them understand what the website is about and classify you better on search engine result pages.

An illustration of two different website structural solutions for the portrait and landscape screens.

Prioritize mobile optimization

Smartphones and other mobile devices are most popular for browsing the internet today. This is the age of portable devices, and businesses should seriously consider it in the web designing process. While responsive website design has been widely in use for a long time, the mobile-first approach is becoming a necessity. So, start planning your website layout with mobile devices in mind first. Not only because it will be easier to optimize it this way, but because Google considers this as one of the ranking factors. When evaluating your website, Google will examine the mobile version.

Provide a good user experience

We already mentioned that navigation and structure help with the user experience. But, that is not the only thing that affects it. Everything from mobile-friendliness to loading speed to additional functionality also affects UX. To design a great website that users will love visiting, you have to place yourself in their shoes. In essence, it’s necessary to research what they expect, need, and what makes them engaged. Even a simple awkward combination of colors can seriously affect and even repel a part of your potential audience. On the other hand, remember that people don’t have much patience today. They want information fast and won’t waste their time waiting for your website to load slowly. When creating a website for your business, it has to be technically optimized and load and functions without problems. In other words, everyone will expect a high level of performance, without exceptions.

A mobile user exploring a variety of apps that emerge from a mobile screen.

To keep both visitors engaged and search engines satisfied, SEO-friendly web design should be a priority. With a beautiful design and a performing website, you will have no trouble retaining visitors. The SEO part of the designing process will help you rank higher and drive more traffic. And with good traffic and engagement, you will send signals to search engines you are valuable. As a result, you will win even better rankings, and the magic circle is complete.