We love creating beautiful websites that help our clients communicate with their customers. However, a great website needs to be more than just beautiful. Our team combines web design with SEO best practices to make sure that potential customers can find our clients’ websites using Google and other search engines.
When we start building (or rebuilding) a website, our designers focus on these three areas to optimize for search engines and users:
1. Website Structure
A well-organized page and URL structure help both customers and search engines understand what a website is about. Starting with a clearly outlined site structure helps us figure out the URL structure. We work with our clients to figure out the best way to organize their web pages and URLs. To sort and visualize this information (especially during big redesigns), we use Excel and GlooMaps.
After creating a clear structure, we build easy-to-use navigation that makes it easy for site visitors to find what they’re looking for. Linking to each page in the site from the navigation also helps search engines understand where these pages fit within the structure of the site.
Structure is also essential on the pages themselves. Our designers build with a hierarchy in mind. The most important information should be the easiest to find, for both search engines and customers. This means designing a layout that prioritizes heading structure and how content is organized. Organization, with clear headlines and small chunks of text (rather than one big block), helps visitors scan the page they land on to find what they need.
Designing a mobile-friendly website is more important than ever for two reasons:
- Google is in the process of transitioning to a mobile-first index. This means it categorizes websites based on what can be seen on the mobile version of the site.
- Mobile devices accounted for 63% of all website visits in 2017 and Stone Temple predicted that mobile traffic would account for two-thirds of online traffic by the end of 2018.
To make sure our clients’ websites are accessible for search engines and users on smaller screens, we use responsive design. This means that as a screen decreases in size, the design elements shift in response. This way, mobile site visitors can access the same information as desktop users in a way that makes sense for palm-sized screens. We also take into account how people are navigating on their mobile devices. Menus and buttons need to be big enough to “click” with a thumb, rather than a mouse.
3. User Experience
To some extent, Google considers signals from users, like bounce rate, time on site and click through rate, when ranking websites. We use web design to delight users, which keeps them navigating through the website, instead of “bouncing” back to the search results.
The first piece of an excellent user experience is a website that loads quickly. Once visitors are on the website, a beautiful design that mimics a company’s brand adds credibility. A good website uses strong yet simple design to help potential customers through the customer journey, including encouraging CTAs and easy-to-use forms.