5 Web Design Mistakes That Absolutely Destroy SEO Progress.
Making sure that your website is designed in a way that will not only be appealing to your target audience, but we will also rank well in the search engines is something that should never be overlooked. When it comes to bringing in new business opportunities by way of digital marketing, especially when it comes to SEO, there are a number of things that must be avoided to ensure that a newly designed website is not preventing that from happening.
Additionally, when working with a freelance web designer or web design agency… it’s important that business owners ensure that those vendors are not going to design their website in such a way that will negatively impact future digital marketing campaigns. It might seem like an industry standard that a web designer would have this in mind, but when it comes to SEO, that is not always the case. This is one of the reasons we recently published an article providing tips to our readers of how they can choose the right web designer for their business.
With that out of the way, what are some of the most serious web design mistakes you’ll want to stay away from that can destroy SEO progress?
1) Ignoring Mobile Users
For a few years now reports have shown that more website visitors are on mobile devices than they are on computers. What that means for SEO and a newly designed website is that if a site is not designed in such a way that a person viewing the website on their cell phone or tablet is not able to have the website load properly, the chances are that they will leave the website and likely never return.
An even greater issue is caused from an SEO standpoint since search engines are doing a much better job of monitoring that type of activity. Anytime a search engine sends one of their visitors to a web page listed in the search engine results, and the user quickly returns to the search engine results page to go to another website instead… the search engine records that visit as a “bounce.” The more a website has visitors “bouncing” from their website to go to another, the harder it will be for that website to rank in the organic search listings.
2) Giving More Importance To Visual Appeal Rather Than Functionality
There is nothing like having an elegant yet professionally designed website. However, no matter how great a website looks visually if the information/products/services being offered are hard to find… the user will get frustrated and not return to that website.
These days, with most industries online being so competitive, most consumers have developed a short attention span and very little tolerance for a website that does not make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. From an SEO standpoint, this can be bad not only because it will also negatively affect the bounce rate of a website, but it will result in searchers avoiding and not clicking on certain brands/websites; which is also something search engine algorithms watch closely. A brand that is specifically ignored probably shouldn’t be on the first page of the organic search engine results if no one wants to click their website; that’s how the search engines catergorize such behavior.
3) Not Being W3C Compliant
W3C standards are basically a set of programming rules that have established the “industry” standard that different programming languages use to determine what good coding is or isn’t. When it comes to coding and designing a website, this standard should be kept in mind since it’s the same standard that search engines use when they are visiting a website to determine which, if any, of its pages are worthy enough to be listed in the search engine result pages.
A page or website that has lots of W3C compliance errors are often times not visited as often, and in some occasions avoided entirely. When it comes to SEO, having a search engine visit your website for updates occasionally rather than regularly, and in some cases not at all, is a quick way to have very little success with SEO.
4) Lack Of A Navigation Menu
There are many reasons why having a functional, SEO friendly navigation menu for a website should be a high priority. One of them is the fact that it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to have priority pages that need to rank well in the search engines do just that. Most navigation menus are displayed on every page of a website, which results in more internal links and “link juice” being passed onto the pages included in the navigation.
The absence of a navigation menu on a website is usually not a good idea from a user experience point of view, but it can be the difference between important areas of a website ranking well vs. not ranking at all.
5) When Redesigning: Unnecessary URL Structure Changes
For any of you thinking about redesigning your website, it’s important to keep in mind how changing the URLs and overall structure of your website can negatively impact your SEO presence. For a website that has no backlinks or search engine rankings, this isn’t as important.
However, for those companies out there that have a good amount of keywords that they rank for and a lot of backlinks, changing the URLs for your highest ranking pages can have a damaging effect on your overall SEO. Sure 301 redirects can be used in situations when these aspects of a website HAVE TO change, but it’s important to avoid this if at all possible since there are times that 301 redirects do not fully restore any organic rankings and traffic that may have been lost.
So In Conclusion…
Having a website that is both modern and appealing to your target audience is an excellent way to bring in new business opportunities. On the other hand, it’s important that these factors that relate to SEO are not ignored; otherwise it can result destroying any SEO progress you hope to make.