What is Web Design’s Role in SEO?

We’re a web-based world. From computers to tablets to mobile devices, the web answers our questions, tells us what to buy, lets us know what our friends are up to, and keeps us from being bored when we are waiting at the doctor’s office. Think about it. How often do you Google something on your phone (or ask Alexa, Siri, or Google assistant)? When you’re looking for answers to everything from ‘where to eat’ to ‘what’s that thing on my toe?’ you’ll usually search the internet (and most often Google). And if you have the answers to someone’s question, either through content marketing or that very product they’re looking for (you know, to cure the toe thing), then you’ve just won a customer.

Alright, so that leads us to the question ‘What is web design’s role in SEO?’ In other words, does my website matter and how important is it exactly?

The short answer is it’s very very important (excuse the repetition of adverbs). And here’s why.

  1. Conversions, landing pages, and visuals
  2. Building with SEO in mind
  3. Redesigning versus SEO fixes

1. Conversions, landing pages, and visuals

First of all, your website is your company’s billboard. It represents your brand and is often the first impression that customers have of you. You want that impression to be the best it can be. And, furthermore, you don’t only want to hire a web designer who can create a fantastic-looking website (Huh? Wait, what?). That’s right! You want someone who can not only create a fantastic-looking website, but can also keep SEO best practice in mind while building that awesome-looking website.

Check out these examples of bad web design here. See the issues? Aside from the visual problems, these websites aren’t mobile responsive or optimized–two red flags before we even delve into any others. Now, have a look at this web designer’s designs here. (Alright, so we are a little biased because he’s our designer.) But it’s not difficult to see that visually Erkan’s work is superior.

Furthermore, even if you find someone who will build a website with SEO in mind, then will they also create landing and thank you pages for you? Without these elements, you can’t measure conversion rates or even see if what you’re doing is working.

2. Building with SEO in mind

Building your website from the get-go with SEO in mind is key to having the right foundations of on-page and off-page SEO right from inception. When you build a website the right way that means you don’t have any broken links, you have unique meta descriptions for each page, post, image, video, and so forth. Your outreach has begun to start attracting quality backlinks. You’ve started your content marketing campaign. You have your landing pages and thank you pages set up. You have a way to measure metrics. You can even ensure you have mobile responsiveness.

Did you know that Google this past March announced that it would be indexing websites by ‘mobile first indexing’? That means that designing your website with all of these factors in mind is crucial if you want to keep your Google ranking. It’s a little more difficult to fix it after the fact.
Good web design impacts factors like bounce rate too and determines if customers even find your website interesting enough to explore. Have you ever had a bad web experience, especially with online shopping? We all have and you don’t want to be that guy.

3. Redesigning versus SEO fixes

So, yes, an agency can come in and fix your SEO on your existing website, but think about it. How good is your current website? Are you converting? Are you getting good traffic? If the answer is no, then you might need a redesign. If you decide it’s more budget friendly to do some quick SEO-fixes first and maybe redesign later, then you’re paying twice for something that could help you now.

In reality, it might not all be doom or gloom. We aren’t saying you have to have a redesign. Sometimes SEO fixes can be done and they improve your SEO in the measurable ways you’re looking for (as in if you wanted to increase your conversions  by 20% in a year or double your blog traffic or social media following in six months).
But, it’s a good idea to consult with your SEO agency to see if you’d benefit from a redesign and if it aligns with your goals. Want to find out a little more? Here’s our ultimate guide to website redesign.

Thinking of a website redesign? Let’s begin with a technical website audit.

Although we like encourage our clients to go for web redesign so that you can ensure you start with the right SEO foundations, the best way to determine if you need one or if you can get away with some SEO fixes is by conducting a technical website audit. Get your free technical website audit here. After that, get in touch and we can discuss how we can meet your goals.

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Keeping your pages in check can be tedious, but luckily knowing what needs to be improved is a fast and free process thanks to RunningSEO, a free SEO analyzer that scans your site and provides improvement recommendations in seconds. Run your professional-grade SEO audit for free.


Elaine, an SEO Specialist and Content Writer

Elaine Frieman holds a Master’s Degree and is a UK-based professional editor, educational writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, traveling, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.