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Design is a crucial component for your website’s search rankings. When building your website, it’s essential that you consider SEO – not doing so can seriously affect your rankings. When it comes to creating a new website for your business, web design and organic search performance come hand in hand.

When I design and develop websites, I consider SEO from the very beginning and make all my sites ‘search engine friendly’. Because I’m the only person working on both the design and the SEO, I’ve learnt a lot about the relationship between the two.

Here are a few ways in which your web design can sustain your SEO strategy:

1. Tell Google your website is relevant & user-friendly

The main aim of search engines such as Google and X is to give the most relevant search results – this reliability is why people keep using them. Their popularity is what makes them so profitable, because it makes businesses want to advertise on their sites.

Search engines need websites that are simple and easy to use and will reward those that are – it’s detrimental for them if they have a poorly designed website in their highest ranking positions. If a website is user-friendly, it means both the site and the search engine will benefit.

Search engines will look at a few factors to determine a website’s overall user experience and quality and will reward them with high rankings if they’re done well:

  • Lots of shares on social media
  • Plenty of links coming from different sites (known as ‘inbound links’
  • If the average amount of time spent on the website is high
  • Mobile usability as well as desktop

2. Think about the structure of your content

SEO is developing at a very fast rate and you can no longer rely on filling your web page with keywords to get high search rankings. You need to ensure the content on your pages is of a high quality and this requires planning.

Before you design the page, think about its purpose and what it needs to tell the user. Are there particular forms of content that might help you efficiently and effectively inform them, such as videos or images? Make sure you weave these elements into the design before decisions get made.

3. Make sure your content is easy to find

Your content needs to be discoverable – you can’t just rely on search engines knowing what your content is about through links alone. As a starting point, it’s important that none of your links are broken or incorrect. These pages will never rank if they can’t be found.

You need to ensure the search engines can easily index your site and they can’t do this if you have webpages buried deep within the site. You need to make it easy for search engines to crawl your site, looking for keywords, metadata and high quality content that tell them where to rank your site.

The structure of your website needs to be clear and easy to use, from both a design and SEO point of view. The design needs to be intuitive and the back-end architecture needs to be carefully considered when it comes to internal links and page structure. Logically, it makes sense to start with your top-level and most informative content and map these to your highest ranking keywords. You can then have different sections for different subcategories, products and services.

4. Remember SEO when you redesign

Consult an SEO expert before redesigning your website as it can sometimes be quite harmful to your SEO value and organic traffic.

To redesign your site in the safest way possible, do an audit of your entire site. Analyse the current rankings of all your pages, as well as their title tags. If these are old or need updating, think about where you can put them in your new site structure. Make sure your highest ranking pages are high up within the newly designed site. And don’t forget about redirects if your URL is going to change.

Considering the SEO and design of your website means you will be in the best possible position for search engines to rank for your key search terms.

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