The Nexus of Website Design and Search Optimisation

Andy Kinsey explains how SEO is a combination of great design and amazing content.

Are you like most web designers who know a little about SEO, “Enough to get by?”

Great, that’s brilliant but did you know Web Design effects Search Rankings?
Let’s take Headscape as an example.

A search on Google for “headscape” shows the correct listing, but did you notice the arrows when you hover over a result? This preview is known as a “quickview.”

Headscape listings on Google

Lets examine this a little closer from a Web Design viewpoint.

This “quickview” shows some of the key points of a website: the company logo, the navigation, a clear call to action, and in this case mini-views of websites Headscape has designed.

This preview is a portal into your website, it can make the difference between someone clicking through (and potentially buying your services) and not doing so. Therefore a website with a better and more effective call to action which is highly visible, or a website with clear headings displayed is likely to gain more clicks.

A few things to remember about Google Quickview:

  1. It does not show a full web page, just sections.
  2. It does not show animation, either gif-based or flash-based
  3. You cannot control which sections are shown in Quickview

The head section (in my experience) is always shown.

Now let’s take a look at the real nexus of web design and seo, the website.

SEO Meets User Experience Design

Obviously, a well designed website will garner more conversions, in theory. But design alone is not enough, without great content your website will not rank and visitors will not find you.

But great content alone is not enough and neither is design, but together they combine to offer a great experience with great conversion rates.

Again let’s take headscape as the example.

Headscape site with content highlighted

Highlighted in red are all the content points of the web page.
But wait they are also design aspects.

On the headscape website there is lots of great design aspects, from nice fonts to icons. It also has lots of great content. It’s an ideal example of the nexus between web design and content (seo). In harmony neither one prevents nor harms the others life on the website, but help to create happy visitors and more conversions.

The content like the design is friendly and simple. It is well written and great content for both users and search engines. Everything from the call to action text to the website description are well formed and well thought-out.
But strip the design out and you’d just have text, this would rank potentially but would not convert.

Just take the design without content and you are left with a lovely looking website but unlikely to rank because of it’s lack of meaningful content.
So what is the solution?

If you hadn’t guessed it already.

Great design + great content = Better rankings and more conversions

So with your next client think twice about putting design over content. Instead, remember that together SEO and Website Design will not only increase your website search rankings but also increase conversions of your website – and that of course will make your clients happy and keep coming back for more.

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  • Google’s use of Preview is awesome; the fact that visual design can now have an impact on whether a search result gets viewed means that design matters more, which is always good in my mind.