Web design and Google search performance are intrinsically linked. Sure, we don’t design websites for Google, we design them for people who want information about a company, a product or a service. But we have to think about Google’s little devilish algorithm. We must take into consideration Google’s perspective, its set of guidelines and how it works its magic. After all, Google is the leading source of organic traffic for most websites, right?
Every website must meet Google’s standard in order to rank well on SERPs; it’s the only way to guarantee your website gets a good piece of the organic search pie. Here’s how to do it:
1. Focus on usability
Search engines work by providing users the best search results they possibly can. So, whenever someone searches for a term, a search engine will show your website as a good source for that particular term. Essentially, search engines show the best website for their users. And this means your website has to offer a fabulous user experience to users. Google simply won’t cut corners on this – your website must be top notch when it comes to usability. But what does this mean?
Usability can be translated in longer times spent on a website, lower bounce rates, high volumes of backlinks, a lot of social shares and quick load times. They are essentially the backbone of your website and how it actually works. Being mobile friendly is also hugely important. Focus on font scales, viewpoints, avoid Flash graphics, eliminate large pop-ups and make sure the button spacing is neatly designed.
2. Make your content visible for search engines
Your content has to be discoverable. This means your links have to work (no buried or broken links), your keywords must be adapted for your content, and you must have all your descriptions and meta texts in place. From a design perspective, this means that you must create an intuitive website architecture, with clear categories, pages and internal links. Simply put, you must make it intuitive for your human users and highly organized for Google’s crawlers.
3. Content is KING – plan for it!
Before uploading any content on your website, you should plan for it, from a designer’s perspective. Where will all the photos go? Where should I include the embedded video? How will the text block look like? Does this page look good? Think about all these questions before launching the website. Your content must be easy to read by both humans and Google’s crawlers. They must “get” what your website is all about, and this means excellent content design.
4. Website redesign – be vigilant
No matter how awesome a website is, it will need a little refreshing from time to time. Whenever you decide to revamp your website with a new design, pay attention to Google’s standards. Make sure your new website does adhere to Google’s strict guidelines. Many companies, when doing a website redesign, only focus on how it looks, and fail to see the SEO aspects. Because of this, in some cases, the previous website version might be more successful than the new one, so pay attention to the whole redesign process. Update tags, the site map, meta descriptions, links and comb your content to match the new design.