It’s every marketer’s dream really isn’t it – to rank at the top of Google for your most important keywords. At one time, it would have just been a case of sticking your keyword in your meta data and on the page as many times as possible and hoping for the best. However, Google has come a long way since then. Its algorithms are a lot more sophisticated, and there are a lot more factors that come into play when it comes to ranking well.
What we need to bear in mind is that Google’s priority is its users. It wants to show its users the best possible results for their search query, and the quality of the website plays a part in this. Factors like bounce rate, load speed, and how a user engages with your site all have an impact. So how do we ensure that our websites perform well for these ranking factors? With a great web design that offers a smooth user experience.
Consider the navigation of the site
Ensure that your website is easy to navigate. Users should be able to find the information they want quickly and easily, ideally in three clicks or less. If your website is difficult to get around, you’re likely to see a high bounce rate, which indicates to Google that your site isn’t a good source of information. Keep the main menu simple, avoid using too much jargon, and make sure that the menu is accessible on mobile devices. You can also include links to your most important pages on the home page so that they’re easy to get to.
Improve your load speed
Ideally, your website needs to load in less than a second, on desktop and mobile. Google PageSpeed Insights can tell you what your current load speed is, and it will also give recommendations on how to improve it. People are impatient, and if your website takes too long to load, they’re likely to just click off and go to a competitor’s site. This in turn shows Google that users don’t get what they need from your site, which impacts your ranking.
Large pop-ups on the home screen are often used, for a variety of reasons. It could be for cookie consent, asking users to subscribe to your newsletter, pushing a special offer etc – which is fine if it’s helping you to achieve key business goals. However, from an SEO perspective, it’s not a good idea. Pop-ups are generally considered to be an annoyance and can cause users to click off our site without going any further. If poorly implemented, pop-ups can even trigger a penalty from Google (although pop-ups for legal reasons, such as cookie consent or age verification, are exempt from this).
Users are coming to your site for one reason, and that’s for information. Whether they’re looking for a product, a service, or just reading a blog post, the point is they need to be able to quickly read what’s on screen. When designing your website and writing your content, make sure to follow best practices to ensure it is easily readable:
- Avoid dark background colours
- Use ample white space so the content does not appear cramped
- Use bullet points and plenty of subheadings – remember users tend to skin read a page, so this will help them to take in the information and find what they’re looking for
- Use an easy-to-read font
- Break up walls of text with images and videos
- Keep your content short, snappy and to the point
Use responsive design
The days of internet use only taking place on computers are long gone; mobile and tablet versions of websites are just as important, if not more. Google uses a mobile-first system when assessing websites for ranking, meaning it actually prioritises the mobile version of a site. It’s vital that your website is responsive – meaning it shrinks down properly to fit smaller screens – and works just as well and looks just as good on a mobile device. It’s easy to leave content out of a mobile site due to the smaller screen, or just add a responsive design as an afterthought, but your mobile site really should be your priority. Google also has a mobile-friendly test tool, which will allow you to check whether it considers your website to be mobile friendly and if not, what you need to do to improve it.
So to sum up: yes, at one-time web design and SEO were two entirely different branches of marketing. But as search engines become more sophisticated, the two are becoming increasingly more important to each other. If you’re working to improve your SEO, then a redesign of your website could be the answer. Our superheroes would love to help – get in touch today and we’d be happy to take a look at your site with you.