Web Design SEO: Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). Under the umbrella of SEO are three categories: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. If you have a basic understanding of SEO, you already know that content is crucial. You may have already optimized your pages for target keywords. However, one aspect of a website many people don't consider for SEO is designing it to be SEO-friendly. Website design is crucial for SEO because it can deliver a good or bad user experience. An optimized website requires mobile-friendliness, fast load times, easy navigation, informational hierarchy, and descriptive URLs.


Unfortunately, many companies and businesses make the mistake of redesigning a website without considering SEO. This can erase all your SEO efforts, especially if you rebrand to a new domain. Additionally, SEO can and should influence your design because it affects page speed and site architecture. Wondering how you can design with SEO in mind? Keep reading for tips to optimize your website.


Web designers aren't always developers, so they don't have to worry about the code used to create your website. However, if your designer is developing your website, they should consider the code they use to render design elements like images. Again, HTML and CSS are usually the best options since Flash is difficult to optimize.


Many people use their smartphones to browse websites online. If your website isn't accessible to all possible users, it will affect your ability to rank on search engines like Google. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor, so it's crucial to have a website that can load properly on screens of all sizes. The best way to do this is with a responsive design that automatically resizes your images and font.

Alt Tags

You use images on your website, and those images should have optimized alt tags to ensure better accessibility and improve your overall SEO. Alt tags are descriptions that help search engines decipher images and learn more about the information on a page. They also help visually impaired users more easily navigate and understand your website.


Navigation is crucial for a good user experience. If you have a busy, complicated menu, users won't be able to navigate your site easily. This can become frustrating, forcing them to leave the site altogether or struggle to find what they want. Simple navigation can help your site visitors easily find what they're looking for, but you should consider your information hierarchy to ensure you've properly categorized your web pages.

URL Structure

Your pages should have descriptive, simple URLs that describe the page content. Words should always be divided by hyphens rather than underscores, and you can include relevant keywords if they fit naturally within the URL. Try not to stuff keywords into your URLs because this could signal to search engines that you're trying to trick them and users. Instead, only use keywords in URLs when it makes sense. For example, if you have a page about pink curtains, your URL might look something like this: www.yoursite.com/pink-curtains. Simple URLs are also much easier for visitors to remember if they want to return to a page they've left without making a purchase.

Use Readable Content

Search engines need readable content to understand what your web pages are about and effectively rank them for users. Therefore, when designing your website, always consider good content structure, such as headings, paragraphs, and links. In addition to ensuring you have readable content on your website pages, you should consider content length. While Google explicitly states that longer website pages don't necessarily rank higher based on that factor alone, more content will give you more opportunities to add target keywords to your text.


Additionally, avoid using images for text unless you use a background image text replacement technique which will allow search engines to read any content in an image effectively.

Easy-to-Understand Design

As mentioned, readable content is crucial for ranking well on search engines. However, designers don't always know SEO standards, so they might use various headings throughout a page because it looks good. That said, your website design should be easy for search engines and users to read. Misplaced headings throughout your website's web pages can affect how Google, visitors, and screen readers access your information.


Additionally, the website design can make it challenging for users to read. For example, pages with long content blocks, too many hyperlinks that don't serve a purpose, and stock photos can result in a poor user experience because they affect someone's ability to read the page.


Website speed is another crucial ranking factor. A slow-loading website will rank lower in search engines even if you have high-quality content with targeted keywords. Additionally, if your website is too slow, you risk losing potentially valuable customers who refuse to wait to view your product pages. Instead, they'll return to their search results to find a competitor with a faster-loading website.


If you think you've done everything right, but your website isn't ranking well enough in SERPs, or it loads slowly, it's time to revisit your website design. This may include optimizing images and eliminating plugins. Additionally, you can work with a professional website developer or technical SEO expert who can determine the cause of your slow website and increase its speed using various tools and techniques.

Check the Data

Tracking data on your website can help you find areas of improvement. You can use several analytics tools, including Google Analytics, to learn more about your website and its users. For example, you can find low-performance pages or those with the highest bounce rates and revisit your website design to test different solutions.


Additionally, these tools will give you valuable insights into your users to help you design and write for the correct audience based on the data of actual visitors. While you might think you have a specific audience, your analytics can tell you something quite different, so it's crucial to design with real users in mind.

Optimizing Your Web Design

Website design isn't the only factor to consider for SEO, but knowing the principles of good design and development can improve your page speed and user experience while ensuring search engines can determine what your page is about and effectively rank your site on SERPs, which is an essential part of any marketing strategy.


Consider these things when designing or redesigning your website to improve rankings and find ways to attract and convert visitors into customers.