Web Design & SEO: How They Work Together for Users & Search Engines.

This may seem absurd; shouldn’t they be working together already?

They should, but in many situations, designers and content creators just don’t agree with each other. They usually don’t and the eventual victim is the site owner who is appalled by constantly falling rankings, even after paying for ‘professional’ help.

Aesthetics are important, no doubt. Nobody wants to navigate through ten pop-ups to find the BUY button. However, balancing design and SEO can be a challenge.

At first glance, SEO and design may seem to have different goals.

web design aims to create a clean and awesome looking site while keeping it easy-to-navigate. Search engine optimisers are looking to provide the right type of content and make this content findable by both humans and the search engine spiders while addressing URL structure, page load speed, good title,  and tags etc.

All of these are important elements of website architecture. Choosing a ‘more’ important one becomes a chicken and egg scenario.

Design IS important. Researchers at Google found that users judge the ‘beauty’ of a website in only 1/20th of a second. While internet marketers focus on length of copy, use of the right keywords, and optimised page elements, how can we utilise both to create a converting, local business website?

The following are five of the most important elements of any local business website. By playing their parts on each one, internet marketers and designers can work together to get it right.

Home Page.

  • Your business and its message must be easily and quickly deduced from the front page. A visible headline with bold yet professional images, should show visitors that they are on the right page.
  • A clean layout will leave the right kind of impression; one that makes them want to see more.
  • Designers: Use a logo, fonts, and colours that promote the company values.
  • Optimisers: Ensure the page content and description are both optimised for primary and long tail keywords.

Navigation.

  • Local businesses looking for local customers must be able to answer the key questions: where are you located, what’s your phone number, what do you do, why should I choose you; from their home page.
  • Confusing a visitor by hiding details in nested navigation menus will only cause them to click away.
  • Designers: Design a clear banner or header with an immediately recognisable logo and your address details.
  • Optimisers: Brainstorm the most descriptive keywords for navigation and categories.

Calls To Action.

  • Converting visitors to prospects and customers can be hard if your site isn’t loaded with helpful content. This is why local businesses must include CTAs to direct the visitors path.
  • Depending on the required action use Book Now, Click Here, Call us, Tap to call etc.
  • These CTAs must be visible on every page without hindering its user experience.
  • Designers: Make the CTA subtle on pages where it needs to be i.e. internal pages.
  • Optimisers: Create helpful content that CTAs can be placed in.

Mobile Optimisation.

  • With local mobile searches expected to exceed desktop searches for the first time this year, businesses must make their pages accessible for users on mobile devices. Optimising for mobile requires taking a deeper look at the overall site structure, design and more; a scary prospect for many webmasters.
  • Whether you choose to make the site totally mobile responsive or simply mobile friendly, depends on the type of business you run.
  • Designers: Create a fast loading, aesthetically-pleasing user experience, even on small mobile screens. (Please don’t use Flash!)
  • SEOs: Optimise content for the local area search.

Content.

  • While many local businesses are simple one page sites, in 2015, it is important for user experience and SEO to have content rich pages. These pages could be blog posts, downloads, podcasts, infographics etc.
  • The variety of content can lead to a designer’s nightmare as they can cause potential aesthetic conflicts.
  • Designers: Use a simple CMS so that updating and uploading these will be easy.
  • SEOs: Create helpful content that visitors want to read and that search engine spiders can easily crawl through.

The web design-SEO conundrum usually stems from lack of a plan from the onset.

A site started on WordPress that now wants to install a robust e-commerce platform needs to undergo a total redesign. On the flipside, does a 5 page local business blog really need a parallax design?

Finding the balance is crucial for business success. Does it feel like your web designer and your webmaster are having a #MayPac? Don’t wait till your business is affected by their conflict. Contact Search & More today and let us help your business mesh design and SEO so that it works seamlessly.

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