Understanding the Impact of Web Design on SEO | AltusHost

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Understanding the Impact of Web Design on SEO

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Many people believe that web design is all about making a website look nice. That may be part of it, but it’s hardly the only thing that it ever does. As a matter of fact, web design creates quite an impact on many aspects of your site, including its SEO.

You may have spent a lot of time and effort on optimizing your site, but when there’s something off about your web design, it’s highly likely that you’re still struggling to draw in traffic and get a decent position in the search engine results pages or SERPs.

There are so many things that could go wrong with your web design that will ultimately hurt your SEO. Your website can have many backlinks from authority sites and loaded with expertly-written meta titles and descriptions, but still fall behind in terms of traffic and rankings because of bad web design.

Here are some possible web design issues that may be affecting your SEO.

Below-par aesthetics

As mentioned above, part of the job of web design is to make a website look nice. Looks, after all, matter as far as websites are concerned, and a gorgeously-designed one is sure to draw a lot of attention.

However, when web designers use the wrong color combinations, inappropriate fonts, and poorly-executed graphics, visitors are immediately turned off and move to another website. Even if the SEO work on the site is top-notch, visitors aren’t likely to stay when they cringe at the very sight of your pages.

Poor navigation

Looks may matter, but when a website has a cluttered navigation structure, no amount of eye-popping graphics and beautifully-rendered colors are going to make them stay. No one has any time getting lost between pages while struggling to find clickable navigation elements or even just a functioning search feature.

Poor navigation is a huge turn-off for many users, so make sure your web design pays some attention to making a site easy to navigate.

Auto-playing music or video

It’s understandable if you’re trying to be hip by putting up a video or audio clip that plays automatically once the home page is all loaded up, but you need to know that it can be annoying to many users, particularly for those who wear headphones all the time when surfing the net.

If you think you really need to have that video and music on any of your pages, the least you can do is not to make it an automatically-playing one. Give users the option to play it or not by putting up an on and off button. That way, users won’t be leaving your site in anger after your auto-playing music or video scared the bejesus out of them.


Pop-ups have their uses, but they can be instantly annoying, especially when they appear way before users get to access your content. They’re even more irritating when the pop-up covers the main content right after a user reaches a page from the SERPs.

If you have to use pop-ups, it’s best that you do so sparingly. Few things are as annoying as a pop-up that appears as soon as someone gets to your site.

Hard-to-read text

The content of a website is meant to be read, but users will find that hard to do when the fonts that you used are too small. The same goes for text presented in a color scheme that makes it difficult to see, like white text on a yellowish background.

When your text is that hard to read, people aren’t going to spend their time trying to decipher everything. They’ll just drop your site and open someone else’s, probably that of your competitor’s.

It will help if you use a readability tool to make sure your visitors will always have a pleasant reading experience when visiting your website.

Not-so-useful content

For an Internet user, the whole point of visiting a website is to get something out of its content, whether it’s information about products or services related to your industry or simply entertainment value. When your content isn’t of use to anyone, visitors aren’t likely to stick around.

People also don’t like atrocious grammatical, lousy spelling, and typos in the content that they read. It reflects poorly on the webmaster if his or her content is replete with such errors.

Non-responsive design

If your website is not yet responsive despite the fact that mobile users have long outnumbered desktop users, then don’t be surprised if your traffic and rankings aren’t anywhere near where you want them to be.

Not a single mobile user will continue exploring your site when its web design does not display well on their devices. Because of this limitation, you are bound to lose not only traffic and a prime position in the SERPs, but potential sales as well. All your efforts to optimize your site won’t have maximum impact if you don’t pay attention to the mobile side of things.

You should also keep in mind that Google has already implemented the Mobile-First Index, where the mobile version of your site has become the baseline for how it determines rankings.

The importance of user testing

It’s true that sometimes, we get too close to our work and fail to notice errors and other things that don’t work as well as we expected. That is why it’s important to get some user testing done to find out if you have good web design.

If you have the budget for it, you can hire agencies that provide user testing services. If money is a bit short, you can just ask friends and family to explore your site and have them give some feedback or even suggestions about the web design. Encourage them to be as honest as possible in their observations.

There is no denying the impact web design has on SEO. Webmasters who put a lot of effort on their SEO should also pay an equal amount of attention on their web design if they wish to achieve their business goals.

About The Author: Anthony Tisara is the Outreach Manager at My Biz Niche, the go-to Phoenix-based digital marketing agency specializing in effective SEO and stunning web design solutions built to capture your target audience and generate more leads. He enjoys traveling with his family and organizing weekly trivia events with his friends.

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