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The importance of SEO can never be emphasised strongly enough.
Being able to rank well in search engines will contribute to more visits to your website.
And naturally, this can lead to higher sales, organic exposure and profits.
However, it is important to couple up SEO with proper website design.
These two critical elements cannot be seen as one off, but rather complementary to one another.
If you want to do better in SERPs, you thus need to focus on both SEO, as well as a website with great useability and standards.
The following aspects delineate how these can be given their due importance in a collaborative manner.
These days, many businesses have come to understand how important it is to have a mobile friendly website.
Up to a few years back however, this was not given as much importance.
Many used to think that it was enough to have a website.
However with more and more people using smartphones and tablets, and accessing websites on smaller screens, it is critical to ensure that the website is mobile friendly too.
Google started to consider mobile friendliness as a ranking factor back in 2015, and later in 2017 it introduced mobile-first indexing.
And no wonder this is so.
According to statistics, the number of searches on desktops has declined considerably for the past few years.
On the other hand, the number of people who carry out searches using mobile devices has steadily increased.
Statistics also demonstrate how more than 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
So simply put, more than half of your potential customers actually use smartphones or tablets to go on your website or browse online.
So it is evident that without a mobile friendly website you are effectively alienating over 50% of users.
Moreover, you need to take into account that if your website does not load properly when accessed from a smartphone, there is going to be a high bounce rate.
This will in turn negatively affect your rankings, and lead to users exiting your site with alarming regularity.
The content on your website needs to be usable as well as SEO friendly.
However many fail to realise that the content does not only need keyword targeted, but also be well presented and written for human consumption – not bots!
This is where solid conversion rate optimisation comes into play.
Your users need to be able to read the content easily and effortlessly.
If the design is too busy and cluttered with excessive hyperlinks, strange fonts in varying sizes and colours, and a presentation that basically puts off users from trying to read anything, you are naturally going to have little success.
The importance of an inclusive web design format is to be duly noted and worked upon.
You want users to enjoy your website, stick around and browse through it as much as possible.
So make sure the layout, formatting and general design adheres to this, rather than ending up making users simply leave after a few minutes or even seconds.
Another critical aspect is your website page load speed.
Just as users look forward to a mobile friendly and nicely designed website, they are going to expect reasonably quick loading times.
A slow website, especially over cellular data such as 3G or 4G, can negatively impact your rankings as well as increase bounce rates.
If your website is slow and takes ages to load, you need to do something about it.
Try to ascertain what could be slowing down your website.
You could try to eliminate any unnecessary plugins and optimize images.
You may also need to look at server caching and eliminating render blocking.
As a general rule of thumb, a website should not take longer than 2 seconds to load.
According to statistics, if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, half of the users will simply leave there and then!
Page speed is more important when it comes to users on mobile devices who are even more inclined to leave quickly.
Your site’s speed does not only have an impact on users, but also on Google’s ability to crawl it, and consequently on page indexing.
This will naturally affect page ranking in search engines.
An XML sitemap is a very important element in a website.
To improve crawling on your site, it is a must to have a sitemap.
Simply put, a sitemap will provide search engines with an outline of all the pages on your website, as well as the content.
The larger the website is, the more important a sitemap is.
This also applies to new websites that will most likely be lacking in external links.
Besides helping greatly in terms of the SERPs, sitemaps also assist in user navigation.
Moreover, sitemaps contain important metadata about the web pages.
How much users feel confident when visiting your website cannot be that easily measured.
You need to ensure that you gain your users’ trust as much as possible though, as this will directly affect your website’s ranking.
One thing is for sure – as humans we’re quick to form opinions and first impressions count.
So it’s better to make sure that you leave a good impression immediately, rather than risking a bad one and then have to repair the damage later on.
Users expect websites especially those offering commerce and online store facilities, to be secure, usually via a valid SSL certificate.
If your site looks homespun and is collecting sensitive personal data insecurely, then you are not offering your potential customers the peace of mind needed when using your site.
You could get hacked and all that data could potentially be stolen and used by criminals, scammers and online predators.
You could well have the best looking product or service, but if your website doesn’t have the necessary security measures in place, your reputation will never be what’s required.
So you need to make sure that you work on ways to gain users’ trust as soon as they land on your website!
SEO needs to be worked upon in conjunction with web design.
By keeping the above mentioned factors in mind when designing your site, you can manage to improve your rankings in no time.