Web Design’s Effect on Website SEO and Conversion Rates
The Connection Between Web Design and Digital Marketing
In regards to web design and digital marketing, most people are under the impression that having an aesthetically pleasing website is the most crucial aspect of a website. While having a great looking site is important, it’s not the only aspect of your design that affects your marketing efforts. Your website is the confluence of all your online marketing rivers – the place in which your social media, PPC and SEO efforts arrive.
How Web Design Influences Your SEO
People often think of Web Design and SEO as separate topics but in reality, the two are quite interdependent. So much so that the two concepts should be thought of together. When approaching web design with SEO in mind, there are a number of techniques to consider.
Content Placement on the Page and SEO Rankings
There is a significant amount of research that suggests placing the content above the fold and towards the top of the page can influence a websites search engine rankings. Google favors websites with a substantial amount of written content (1000 – 2000+ word count per page). If a website isn’t designed with content placement in mind, it can have grave consequences on your search engine rankings.
The top of a web page is a valuable piece of real estate that needs to be reserved for your most important content. The top area of a web page needs to indicate the topic of your content to both your visitors and search engines.
For example, a local dentist in Franklin Tennessee knows that their most valuable keyword is “Dentist Franklin tn”. While the dentist has included this phrase on his website it is currently hidden in the page and not easily identifiable to users. The aforementioned dentist should find a place for this keyword and relevant content near the top of the page – labeling the section with an appropriate heading like “Best Dentist in Franklin Tn”. While Google is getting better with associating synonyms and using LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) to make search rankings more accurate – we have found that businesses that use literal keywords in their opening heading or paragraph are ranking better. Users are responding positively to copy that is focused on the information they are looking for and Google is rewarding these websites with better rankings.
Mobile-First Web Design and SEO
Having a mobile-first website is a must for any business looking to increase their website traffic and generate new leads. Sites with a mobile-first design perform better in search engine results and are more likely to be discovered by prospective customers. In fact, over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone.
With the majority of internet traffic officially coming from mobile sources, a mobile-first approach to web design now makes the most sense. Traditionally mobile design has been an afterthought for many website owners and web designers alike but user behavior has changed.
Google processes 40,000 searches a second or about 3.5 billion searches a day. On average users are looking to Google to answer their questions several times a week. People want answers to problems and solutions and they’re used to getting them fast. So it goes without saying that in today’s climate there is absolutely no room for messy content, sloppy designs or broken websites.
A mobile-first approach will guarantee your users will be able to locate the information they need quickly if it’s on your site.
So what does a great mobile design look like?
- Prioritize the actions that you want your users to take with the most important front and center. Make sure the first CTA on your website is congruent with your companies #1 marketing goal. If you’re currently building an email list for your business make sure your landing page that is collecting emails has removed all other links for users to click and remove the navigation from the page. The subscribe or lead form should be the only action on the page the user can take.
- Reorganize Menus – keep you menus as simple as possible so that mobile users can get to the most popular and useful content on your website as quickly as possible.
- Never Make users scroll excessively – Have a clear navigation and buttons that allow users to jump from topic to topic easily. Sticky navigations, anchor links, and “back to the top” buttons are all great ways to allow users to navigate through your site quickly.
- Avoid intrusive promotions – annoying a user on your website is a great way to make sure they never come back. Use pop-ups and advertisements sparingly and make sure they are easily dismissable.
Mobile SEO is dependent upon clean and consistent mobile design that allows users to navigate your site hassle-free. A mobile first web design will increase engagement and conversions on your website and will result in higher rankings in mobile search.
Web Design and Content Legibility
Content is among one of the most crucial aspects of your website and digital marketing strategy. Your website visitors are looking for relevant, informative content that is fresh and unbiased.
Without a quilty web design, most visitors won’t even bother to read the content that you have worked so hard on.
From the perspective of a visitor landing on a web page that looks outdated, the visitor will likely assume that the content on the site isn’t updated and look elsewhere for the answers.
Studies suggest people are less likely to read content if the font size is too small and clustered together. When designing a website you want to use a large font with lots of line spacing and white space.
According to a study performed by the ClickLabratory – by increasing a websites font size from 10pt (13px) to 13pt (17px) and adding some line height between the text. They saw a 10% decrease in bounce rate, a decrease in site exit rate by 19%, an increase in pages per visit by 24% and that website’s conversion rate skyrocket to 133%.
Designing for Conversions
Optimizing a website for conversions is the process of leading a visitor through a series of actions to reach a goal set out by the webmaster of a web page. This action can be anything from filling out a form, calling a phone number, reading a piece of content or even purchasing a product.
After a basic system is in place, marketers will want to drive traffic to their funnel to establish a rate of conversion. This is where the real fun begins as you can now begin A/B testing to learn more about your target audience.
Many design factors affect a websites conversion rate. Everything from the color scheme of a website’s design to the placement of a CTA (call to action) on a page. When designing a web page, it’s best to have a clear idea of who the page is intended for.
Design factors that affect conversion rate:
Intuitive page layout and Usability (UX)
It’s safe to assume that your prospective customer visiting your site has spent a significant amount of time on other websites. So when he/she lands on your web page, they have expectations of how a website’s information should be organized.
It’s important to meet these expectations as not to frustrate or confuse a prospective customer. A user should be able to quickly and intuitively locate the information they are seeking.
76% of consumers list “the website making it easy for me to find what I want.” as the most important factor in a website’s design.
A typical Intuitive layout should contain:
- A logo that links back to the home page.
- A contact link at the end of a horizontal navigation menu
- Consistent navigation layout sitewide
- Contact info in the footer of the page
- Highlighted and easily identifiable links
By designing your website to be intuitive for your intended users, you provide your prospective customers with more information, opportunities to build trust with your brand, and ultimately increase your conversion rate. Increased engagement and conversions for your topic will signal the relevancy of your material to google and will lead to your website climbing up the search engine page rankings.
Placement & Text of CTA
A Call to Action (CTA) is a button, a link or a form placed within the content of a web page that is designed to capture the attention of a prospective customer, converting them into a lead.
When designing a CTA, there are many things consider to best capture the attention of your prospective customers.
A well designed CTA should be placed within the content in an eye-catching location while not disrupting the flow of the page. It needs to be visually striking and large enough to see from a distance but not distracting from the content and other elements on your page.
Use contrasting colors that are still consistent with the overall color scheme of the websites theme. The CTAs text should be short and sweet using action-oriented language to clearly state what happens when your visitors engage with the CTA.
For example, a vague CTA like “learn more” or “contact” should be replaced with specific CTA’s like “Read Our Case Study”, “Start Your Free Trial Now’ or “ Speak with a Person Now”. Let the user know exactly what to expect and they’ll feel more comfortable taking action on your site.
A high ranking-performant website should approach SEO, conversion rate optimization and design in a holistic fashion. Good Search engine optimization helps people find the information you’re working hard to provide. Well thought out web design guarantees a pleasant experience for users and conversion rate optimization through A/B testing will allow you to improve on these pages – ultimately boosting ROI.
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