When Google initially launched in August 1996, there was no way that anyone could have foreseen the awe-inspiring power that this website would eventually command. Even co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin could hardly have imagined what it would become. The two men rarely make public appearances, but we know from a 1996 resume written by Sergey Brin that he had ambitions other than creating a search engine at that time. He evidently believed that his talents would be best used creating a movie rating platform or perhaps turning academic papers into HTML files. We can all be very thankful that he ultimately ended up dedicating his time instead to the project that would become the world’s predominant web search engine.
Today’s marketing and business leaders look to the Google search engine as their ticket to a larger audience and improved sales, and they should. Most consumers will want to read online reviews before making a purchase. The reviews may or may not be accurate to the experiences of most customers, but the point is that most people simply want something that will provide them with some sense of what they are potentially purchasing. They also expect businesses to be highly responsive to their needs, and they want to see content produced by that business readily available to them when they call upon it. Thus, getting on top of one’s website design and search engine marketing is urgent.
How Are Website Design And SEO Related?
The Google algorithm for ranking websites that appear when certain keywords are searched is constantly being tweaked and updated. At the same time, the algorithm is a carefully guarded secret within the company. Why does Google want to keep the algorithm out of the eyes of the public? Largely because they don’t want that algorithm to be corrupted by spammers and other less than reputable sources who would inevitably corrupt the entire search metrics if they got their hands on it.
What this means for today’s website designers is that they have to pay particularly close attention to how they design a website, what seems to work for them, and what has not proven to be as successful. Attention to details like this can help anyone see improved results on their search engine traffic metrics. So, you probably want to know which website design elements in particular are useful for SEO purposes. We have the answers.
Domain Name Selection: Where Powerful SEO Begins
Just like a human being, when a website first enters the world, it needs to have a name. Website names are known as domains, and they are the first stepping stone towards having a website that has been designed with SEO in mind. There is no question that the public will appreciate visiting a website with a unique name, but it is also true that the search engines seem to favor the bold when it comes to unique names as well.
Search engine algorithms (such as those deployed by Google) scour the Internet for new domain names as they appear. Those algorithms then attempt to index the websites based on their relevance to certain keywords. Obviously, having a domain name that contains the keyword or other keywords that are similar/relevant is extremely helpful towards your goal of appearing at or near the top of search results. This means that the name you choose for your website is literally the first element of the website design that plays into SEO.
Speed Is King
The world may know little about the specific mechanics of how the Google algorithm does what it does, but we do know that the loading speed of a website plays an integral role in how favored that website is on the search results. Websites that have faster speeds also have more people stay on their site for longer periods of time.
Today’s Internet user is incredibly impatient when it comes to loading speeds. It has been shown that as little as a 100-millisecond delay in loading speed can cause at least 7% of would-be traffic to leave and find the information it needs elsewhere. That is faster than blinking your eyes!
What this means for marketers is that investing in infrastructure and design to keep their web pages loading as fast as humanly possible is an absolute must. From a website design point of view this means doing the following:
- Removing unnecessary videos and photos from the home page (they can be included in tabbed pages if necessary)
- Keeping the home page as minimalist as possible without losing too much of its visual appeal
- Try to include something eye-catching that is immediately visible as soon as the page loads to keep people interested
It is hard to fathom that this is what drives traffic to one website over another, but it is indeed small tweaks like this that can make all the difference. The way a website is designed tells a lot of the story about how much traffic ultimately ends up there.
Keep Content Fresh And Relevant
Finally, we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep content fresh and relevant to your audience. Search engines only want to direct their users to actionable information that is relevant to them today. For example, if an Internet user is searching the name of their favorite band, are they more likely to want to see the band’s latest tour dates, songs, and press releases or an article written about the band in 2011? Obviously, they would prefer to have the current information than something that is ten years old.
Websites that keep their readers informed and engaged are considered to be higher quality and more authoritative on the subjects that they produce content about. Thus, they are given priority by the search engines, and they end up higher on the page results. If you struggle to write and maintain a list of fresh content on your own, then you always have the option to hire someone to produce that content for you.
If you would like more insights on the integration of SEO with website design, please contact us for a free consultation.