by Nick Brown | Guest Contributor | DIGITAL MARKETING
Every web designer strives to optimize their pages for SEO. At the same time, they want to provide users with an organic and engaging experience. In many ways, these two fields overlap, which is why designers want to implement principles that will help improve both, without sacrificing either field.
Here are a few examples of the most important principles to apply for website design to improve SEO and the user experience.
Trust is a crucial part of modern web design. People want to feel at ease when they visit a new website for the first time. Even if it features the exact product or service that they need, people will prioritize avoiding scams and fraudulent deals. It's much easier to switch to a competitor website rather than risk being scammed.
While URLs might not seem like an important aspect of your website, visitors notice them when they enter a page. They might think that it's the wrong page for what they need if the URL is just numbers and symbols. Plus, it may look suspicious enough for them to distrust the page. A search-friendly URL that's relevant to the page's content will make the website feel more trustworthy and give it extra brand credibility.
You should aim to use a search-friendly permalink structure to give the website more authority to users and search engines alike. Keep the system consistent, so that users aren't confused when one link leads to an exact URL, but other ones don’t.
Rich and informative snippets
Search engine results pages, also known as SERPs, have changed significantly in recent years. Search engines want to provide users with the most accurate and informative results for their queries. One way that Google does this is with snippets that inform users before they even click on a link. The snippets make it easier to gauge the content of a page and see if it matches your search interests.
This is the perfect opportunity for websites to showcase the best of what they have on a page. It's especially helpful for showcasing product and contact pages. You can show the user that your page gives them exactly what they need even before they visit.
For Australian websites that use WordPress, installing a snippet plugin can help you configure one with ease. Aim for a rich snippet with plenty of useful information. Keep the user's perspective in mind when writing it. Ask yourself what they want to find on a website when searching for a particular keyword. Include an image in the snippet to further improve SEO and make an even better case for clicking on your website.
Hierarchy of visual elements
Creating a visual hierarchy for page elements is crucial for UX design. It's an intuitive principle that most people already apply, but not as much as they should. Elements that are important to the user should stand out more than background information or text.
There are numerous ways to emphasize crucial elements on your website. You can use colour, size, style, contrast, alignment, and repetition to make something seem more important. If your website uses softer hues, painting a particular element in a strong and aggressive colour will help put it at the forefront. A richer style also helps bring attention by being different, but it still has to match the overall look of the website.
While you're designing the website, try to create a focal point around important elements as well. This will make users focus on these elements naturally. Plus, it will make the process more subtle and less imposing for website visitors.
The rule of thirds
The rule of thirds comes from the same theory as the Golden Ratio, and it postulates that images should be segmented into nine parts. You should imagine a page as a grid with two pairs of lines going through the top and bottom. In the areas where they intersect, you have four points. The theory suggests that our vision lingers the longest at these four intersections.
Use this rule to place images and text that you want to emphasize. With proper positioning, you'll create a much more attractive page that also better serves its purpose. It's not something you can easily notice without thoroughly analyzing the design, but the subconscious effect is significant.
You don't have to only stick to the four intersecting points. You can also use this rule to create a focus for an entire third of the page. The effect is most potent when you place elements in the top third of the imagined grid.
Search data integration
When users search for a particular keyword, there are often slight variations depending on how they type and what they're looking for. In the past, designers would create landing pages for each individual variation, to increase the chance that a user would choose that particular website. Similarly, you would want to incorporate slight variations around a primary keyword phrase. But things have changed.
Instead of creating multiple pages that focus on a small part of the picture, you should create an all-encompassing page that is rich with information. Incorporate keywords from your search data into the page in a natural way to optimize your page for search engines. Don't just integrate slight variations. Use different long-tail alternatives that will cover all of your bases for the topic. At the same time, the content itself should offer diverse information that will satisfy anyone searching for these keywords.
FAQ pages are especially good for this purpose. The questions segment of analytics platforms will help you gauge which terms to use on your website's FAQ page. Not only will this help users get the answers they need, but it will also increase your rankings significantly.
Google My Business pages
This free tool provided by Google can make it significantly easier for users to find their way to your website. When you connect your website with Google My Business, you can manage the way search results display information about your company.
You should add as much relevant data for your company as possible when configuring Google My Business results. If you have physical locations, the most important bit of information is the location of your company. Customers visit brick and mortar stores more often than they order things online, especially if a location is nearby. When they search for a particular kind of product or service, the results page will showcase a local business first and foremost.
For the best increase in rankings, you'll want to fill out all the business information fields that are offered. This will help your company stand out from the competition. Use a local number and upload high-quality images that will help people find the location.
One of your top priorities should be to make your website easy to navigate for all users. You want them to get from point A to point B in as few clicks as possible. This will keep a user's attention long enough for them to find what they're looking for and increase their engagement. A common myth is that this principle clashes with SEO, as you want a website to be rich and full of diverse pages and links, which could affect navigation.
Nowadays, search algorithms value the ease of navigation quite a bit. The problem is that you have to combine simple navigation with a bunch of keyword-focused pages. It's difficult to find a proper balance while creating an efficient navigation system. This is why many Australian website creators ask professional SEO Sydney designers to handle this aspect of optimization. Experts in SEO can improve your navigation system and make it more user-friendly, while also optimizing for search engine results pages.
Choose a simple and stripped-back navigation system, and you won't have to worry about users straying far and losing track while browsing your website.
The simplest answer is often preferred over more complex or convoluted ones. This is the principle behind Occam's Razor and it doesn't just apply to theories and philosophy. Designers can and should use this principle when creating a website. Keeping it simple prevents a page from overwhelming and confusing users when they're looking for something particular.
You shouldn't keep all of your information on the same page. Use this rule to prioritize the things that should be shown first and foremost. Keep other information on pages that you can link to on the main page. By creating an attractive and organized web of data, you'll make it easier for users to find what they want without drawing them away from your website.
There's no easy path for optimizing your website and bringing in more users. However, there are certain principles that can serve as guidelines for what you should do when designing a website. As search engines improve, their goals will align more and more with the wishes of users. This is why UX design is becoming one of the top priorities for designers and SEO experts alike. Follow the aforementioned principles and you'll get the best of both worlds and optimize your website efficiently.