How does website design impact SEO?

Website design and development can be broken down into many different elements that affect SEO and User eXperience (UX). In this chapter we will discuss some of the key web design factors for creating a site that will lead to a higher quality UX design and higher amounts of online traffic. So let’s take a look at some of the most important SEO factors involved.

Website architecture and hierarchy is the structure and layout of information and content on a website. It’s important that the end user can find what they are looking for fast and easily. This can be achieved by organising a websites content with user friendly page layouts and uniform structure in the menus and site links. Find more information about architecture and hierarchy here.

Website usability is a combination of a few important ranking signal that can affect search positions. By creating user friendly webpages that load fast and respond correctly on various devices, a site will have a better chance of receiving a higher search placement. Learn more about Website Usability here.

Number of website pages. It can sometimes make a lot of sense to create individual pages for different content rather than have lots of content on one page. Because each sub page is on an individual URL, it can improve the find-ability as each page has its own page title, H tags, metadata, image titles, captions, filenames and ALT tags. This can really have a positive affect on increasing traffic as it can improve the individual page find ability and ultimately increase search engine visibility. read more on the Webpage Count Tutorial here.

URL structure relates to constructing neat and tidy URL’s that are easy to read and understand. Placing keywords separated by hyphens within the URL is highly recommended. Along with keeping URL length to a maximum of around five words. Implementing the correct URL structure as the construction progresses and before indexing a website is also highly recommended. Find more information about URL Structure here.

Broken links will negatively affect the user experience because a user may decide to leave a website if they end up on a non existent page. They can also affect search engine web crawls that are necessary to keep a website and its pages indexed and ranking high in the search results. It’s a good idea to ensure a website has no broken links and if it does you should make use of the recommended methods to keep the website user experience and search engine friendly. Continue reading the Broken Links Tutorial here.

HTML errors and warnings can sometimes affect the usability and page loading times. This may indirectly affect SEO scores and search positions. Though it’s rare that a website will have a 100 percent clean and valid HTML. It is still a good idea to fix them up and ensure that the HTML validates. Having a low number of errors and warnings can help to provide a higher quality user experience. Find more information about HTML Validation here.

Website downtime can usually be caused by server moves and server maintenance. If a website is down for longer than two weeks it might be expected to lose its position in search. There are a few different methods for managing down time that will ensure a websites place will not drop in the search results.

Website categories can improve the user experience by categorising content into an efficient navigation system. Adding posts to relevant categories so that the user can find them easier in the side bar may also help to achieve this. The most important reason not to categorise content is with the intention of expanding a websites pages with new categories that attempt to gain more traffic from the search engines without improving the users experience. Learn more information with the Website Category Tutorial here.

Responsive design combines all device versions into one neat website which can reduce the time required to make site updates. Having separate websites can also lead to duplicate content problems and the need for redirects, which may ultimately affect some search engine placements and traffic performances. Learn more about Responsive Design here.

Creating a website using the design techniques listed above will ensure that users are satisfied with the quality and performance of a site. It may also ensure that a website will get a green tick from the search engine ranking signals. Check out other great sites that are relative to your industry before designing a website is another valuable SEO tip. And always keep the end user in mind when designing the site lay-out and appearance.