Research shows that slow load times are the reason why 88.5 percent of internet users leave a site.
Furthermore, 73.1 percent leave your website because it is unresponsive, and 61.5 percent leave because it’s hard to navigate.
If people are leaving your website in droves, it’s safe to say they’re not reading your blog, signing up for your email list, or making purchases, right?
Web design plays a key role in your business’s online success.
Did you know, though, that it can also impact your search engine ranking?
That’s right. If you want to rank higher on Google and get closer to the coveted number 1 spot, you need to take your website design seriously.
Read on to learn 4 reasons why your business’s web design affects your search engine ranking.
You’ll also find some tips on how to improve your website’s design and boost your ranking today.
Search engines are smart.
They’re powered by incredible algorithms and are deeply in tune with humans’ likes and dislikes.
Search engines have figured out what irritates and annoys human beings when they’re searching online.
For example, elements like complex layouts, popups, flashing ads, and unprofessional or hard-to-read fonts have all been found to be deterrents when it comes to improving a business’s search engine rankings.
When businesses’ websites feature these irritants and annoyances, they are penalized with a lower search engine ranking. Websites that don’t include these elements are rewarded with a higher ranking.
One of the most important elements of good website design is good navigation.
In other words, it should be easy for people to find their way around your website and access the information they need, even if — or perhaps especially if — they’ve never visited it before.
Search engines like Google understand that people have short attention spans.
They do not want to waste their time trying to figure out a complicated website.
If someone can’t find what they need in a matter of seconds, they’re going to give up and visit another website.
This is bad news for your search engine ranking, not to mention your conversion rate.
The easier it is to navigate a website, the more likely search engines are to reward it with a higher ranking. It doesn’t matter how much content they have or how high-quality it is. If the website is hard to navigate, it’s going to be penalized with a lower ranking and fewer views.
As we mentioned above, people have short attention spans.
This means they don’t like to wait for web pages to load.
Research conducted by Google shows that pages that load within 1 to 3 seconds see their probability of a bounce (someone leaving right after they land on a page) increase by 32 percent.
Furthermore, pages that take between 1 and 5 seconds to load see a 90 percent increase in their bounce rate.
Remember, preventing bounces is essential to improving your website quality and search engine rankings.
If search engines notice that you have a high bounce rate, they’re going to assume your content is low-quality and will penalize you with a lower ranking.
In 2021, mobile devices accounted for 63 percent of search engine visits.
More people are conducting searches from their smartphones than ever before, and that number is unlikely to decrease (at least in any meaningful way) any time soon.
When it comes to designing websites, businesses must make their sites as mobile-friendly as possible.
If the website doesn’t look good on a smartphone screen, if the content is hard to read, if images and videos don’t load, or if people have to pinch and spread constantly to access web content, they’re going to get frustrated and click away.
Address Hosting and CMS Issues
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Keeping up with the latest Google algorithm updates isn’t the only thing you need to do if you care about your search engine ranking.
You also need to keep up with the latest web design best practices and trends.
Here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind:
Address Hosting and CMS Issues
All the web design updates in the world don’t matter if there are problems with your hosting platform or CMS (content management system).
Working with the right hosting platform will help to improve your website’s page load speeds. This, in turn, will boost your search engine ranking.
As for your content management system, a reliable and easy-to-use CMS will make it easier for you to improve your web content and make it easier to consume.
When you choose a good CMS, you’ll be able to update content, change or delete images as needed, and improve text readability in just a few clicks. Your CMS can also help you to keep your website organized and looking good from the user side.
Compress Images and Files
If your website is slow to load, the issue might be the size of your images or other files. Compressing images and files is a simple yet effective way to decrease page load speeds and help people access your content faster.
On a similar note, you may also want to delete unnecessary images and files altogether. If something isn’t relevant to your website, get rid of it to improve load times. As a bonus, this can also make your web design look cleaner and more inviting.
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, simple navigation is key to good website design. Here are some specific ways you can make your website’s navigation more intuitive:
Make sure your navigation pattern is constant across all pages (for example, all buttons should stay in the same place). Otherwise, people will lose their bearings and may get frustrated (and even click away altogether).
Use Multiple Categories
Your navigation should contain multiple sections, categories, and sub-categories. Each should be clearly defined with a unique and descriptive heading.
Use Clickable Links
Every heading should be a clickable link, too. This makes it easier for people to get where they want to go.
Use Accurate Titles
Visitors should know, generally, what they’ll find on a page before they ever click on a link. If the navigation text is cryptic or misleading, it may annoy visitors and cause them to abandon your site.
Check Your Search Feature
Your in-site search feature should be easy to use and reliably produce relevant results. It should take into account potential misspellings and show people related items, even if you don’t have the specific item they’re searching for available.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
Your website’s mobile-friendliness is essential to its long-term success.
Many of the strategies related to improving page load times (such as compressing images or getting rid of unnecessary elements) can also improve mobile-friendliness. Avoiding unnecessary plugins is useful, too, as these can weigh down your site and make it harder to load.
Consider signing up for a CDN (Content Delivery Network) as well. CDNs allow you to work with servers located across the globe. This helps to improve website load times and lets people access your content faster and without interruptions.
Make Content More Readable
Another key element of good web design is making your content as readable as possible. This means using clear headings (preferably ones that contain your target keywords, which is also good for SEO) and simple fonts.
Using larger font sizes and breaking down your text into short paragraphs impact your web design and the readability of your content, too.
If people are met with big blocks of tiny text, they’re going to feel overwhelmed before they even start navigating their way through your website. They might even decide to click away and go somewhere else.
Enhance Your Images
When it comes to using images on your website, make sure you take steps to enhance them so they help your website’s search engine ranking. In addition to compressing them so they load faster, you should also follow these guidelines:
Optimize file names with relevant keywords
Use hyphens between words so search engines can “see” them
Use alt text (a 10-15 word description) to tell search engines something about each image
Include captions under each image, too. This helps to improve the user experience and allows visitors to get more out of your website. It also encourages them to spend more time on your site, which can lower your bounce rate.
Now that you know more about the web design and SEO best practices that will help you improve your website — and boost your search engine ranking, are you ready to make some changes?
Following the advice discussed in this guide is a great starting point that will help you see impressive results in no time.
Do you want to learn more essential SEO content tips for your business? If so, we’re here for you at Boral Agency.
Contact us today to find out about our digital marketing services or set up a consultation.