Web Design and SEO: The Perfect Balance
Web design is full of misconceptions. One of the biggest misconceptions is that all you really need is a dude who “writes code”, and he will throw a website together for you in about a week and it will be perched at the very top of Google’s search results.
Visiting websites that were designed this way is kind of like watching a one-man band – though it may be interesting to see someone try to play U2’s “Beautiful Day” on tin cans, it’s not going to sound that great, and in the end they’re not going to be standing on stage in front of millions.
There aren’t quick SEO tricks, period. It’s all about having quality content on a site with a great experience, and then making sure it’s optimized for search engine visibility.
Our philosophy on SEO is simple:
Great Experience (UX and Visual Design) + Quality Content + Search Engine Optimized Code Structure = Great SEO. No magic, no tricks.
Let’s explore these elements…
You might be thinking, “Why would experience design effect search engine visibility?”. Without getting into all the complexities of search engine algorithms, it’s important to understand a simple truth – Search engines have one goal: to present high quality results that are most relevant to a user’s search, and they’re continually getting better at identifying poorly designed experiences. Having great UX and visual design ensures that when users land on your site, they will find what they’re looking for, ultimately leading to a better search engine ranking.
Create truly great content. Create content that you’d want to consume. Make sure that it’s unique, well-crafted and engaging.
Your brand should shine through here. Engage potential customers and draw them into your story. Well-written content communicates clearly and provides examples that help your customers visualize themselves using your product or enjoying your service.
So, we’ve designed a great experience and created quality content, but we still need to make sure that we structure it in a way that is easily readable for search engines. Here’s where the “optimization” takes place.
Search engines have structural guidelines. Follow them and your site will look great not only to users, but to the search engines as well. Yeah, there are a few tips and tricks in there, but they should all be above board. The challenge is that this area changes and evolves rapidly. What you need is a well-experienced development team who knows what they’re doing, and who use the latest standards and best practices in this fast-changing area.
White Hat SEO, Only.
You may remember this phrase from the early 2000’s. Well, it’s still important to mention, because it’s even more important today.
Flash – Don’t use it.
It’s not easily indexable by search engines, and not accessible by all devices.
Everything we’ve discussed is completely focused around the customer. Put them first and you will win.
Define Your Audience
In order to put the customer first, you need to know who your customer is, where they are, and how they behave.
So, to achieve the best results, you have to be able to balance good SEO practices, gorgeous web design, and well-written content, all while keeping the customer experience in mind.
A website that engages your audience isn’t reliant on SEO, back-end design, code, graphic design or writing – it depends on all of those elements working well together with a singular focus on the end user. It’s a full orchestra, not a one-man show.