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Key Web Design & Development Factors that Impact Your SEO

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Website Design, Development and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are three of the most crucial elements in delivering a successful online presence. Whilst these disciplines are often considered to be separate aspects in the delivery of a Website Solution, they are in fact inherently linked, with each aspect impacting on the other.

Indeed, the manner in which a Website is designed and developed will have a significant impact on its SEO rating and performance, in turn determining the level of ranking your Website enjoys within Search Engines. In this article, we provide an overview of some of the key aspects of Design and Development which can impact your SEO.

1) Website Speed and Performance

Website Speed/Performance is one of the most crucial elements of Website Design and Development, with a high performing Website typically providing a better user experience, higher user engagement, lower bounce rates, and improved conversion rates. It is a testament to this that the algorithms of major Search Engines including Google have been tuned to weight their rankings towards high-performing Websites.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Optimised Images: Large image files slow down site speed. Compressing and properly formatting images can help maintain high quality while improving loading times.
    • Minimised Code: Cleaner, minimised code without unnecessary characters or spaces makes it easier for search engines to crawl and improves site speed.
    • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Implementing a CDN can distribute the Website's content across multiple servers, ensuring quicker access for users around the world.

2) Mobile Responsiveness

With more than half of Global Internet traffic originating from Mobile Devices, optimisation for these platforms can no longer be considered optional. Indeed, most Search Engines utilise Mobile-first indexing, meaning they predominantly use the Mobile version of content for indexing and ranking. It is therefore imperative that  Websites are designed and developed to serve a range of devices including Mobile, Tablet and Desktop.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Responsive Design: A Responsive Website Design is one that dynamically and fluidly adjusts in accordance with the screen dimensions of the accessing device, whether it be Desktop, Tablet, Mobile or indeed any other Internet-capable device. The application of a Responsive Design therefore ensures that your Website is optimised for all Devices, regardless of their type.
    • Adaptive Design: An Adaptive Website Design is one that utilises breakpoints (screen-sizes) to determine and apply device-specific Page Layouts. Whilst this approach can facilitate the delivery of Mobile & Tablet specific layouts, each breakpoint and associated view must be explicitly specified. That is, a Website must be designed and developed to include breakpoints for individual screen sizes, along with a default, fall-back layout.
    • Dynamic Serving: A dynamically served Website is one that utilises the User Agent value to determine the device type, before serving content and layouts specifically constructed for the accessing device, whether it be Desktop, Tablet or Mobile specific.

3) Structured Data and Schema Markup

Structured Data provides a mechanism by which Search Engines can better understand the content and purpose of a Website, in turn facilitating the delivery of Search Results which more closely align with an end-user’s Search Criteria. As an extension of this, Search Engines such as Google will often display rich content snippets, for appropriately marked-up Websites, in turn improving click-through rates.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Using tools like Google's Structured Data Mark-up Helper can guide Developers in implementing Structured Data correctly.

4) Clean URL Structures

Clean, readable URLs help both Search Engines and Users to understand the content of a page.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Avoid using lengthy parameters or Session IDs.
    • Make use of relevant keywords without over-optimising.

5) Secure and Accessible Websites

Secure and accessible Websites can be more easily 'crawled' by Search Engines. Furthermore, the implementation of SSL (HTTPS) is now used as a ranking signal by Google.

Design & Development Factors:

    • SSL Certificate: Transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS provides a secure connection for users.
    • Robots.txt: This file allows you to specify which pages on your site should not be crawled by search engines.

6) Effective Use of JavaScript

If not implemented correctly, JavaScript can hinder a Search Engine's ability to crawl and index a Website.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Make sure content loaded via JavaScript is accessible to Search Engines.
    • You can utilise tools such as Google's Search Console to test how Googlebot views your JavaScript-powered content.

7) Website Architecture and Internal Linking

A well-structured Website helps distribute page authority and guide users to important pages.

Design & Development Factors:

    • Keep the most important pages no more than 3-4 clicks away from the Home Page.
    • Use descriptive anchor text for internal links to help Search Engines understand the context of your content.

In conclusion

In order to ensure optimal, organic Search Engine visibility and ranking, it is imperative that Organisations engage a Web Agency with the Design and Development experience required to deliver a high-performing, SEO optimised solution that meets the key criterion of major Search Engines.

Interested in learning more? Then why not get in touch to have a one-to-one session with one of our experts?

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