For online businessmen, surviving in competitive internet-based industry takes a holistic approach which involves two critical steps:
- Earning top rankings in search results to attract leads
- Retaining leads with a visually appealing and usable web design
Ignore the first step and you will lose your search rankings. Compromise on the second step and you will end up losing your visitors.
Too often, it is difficult for online businesses to stay on the fine line between web design that can get higher rankings. This makes even the best minds to think and find a way to meet these two critical requirements.
An appealing yet SEO-friendly web design.
So, will you need a web designer who does have a clue about how to help you achieve this important goal?
There is an age-old saying that creativity has no boundaries. An artist has to be free from pragmatic hurdles to bring out the best of his creative skills. However, there is an exception in this rule for web designers.
In the competitive world of online business, an appealing web design alone cannot help you get higher ranking than your competitors. Though it makes your website look pleasing to the eyes which increases visitor retention rate, it does not do any good to get you on top of SERP results.
So, the morale of the story is: “Creativity has boundaries in web design.”
Keeping this basic philosophy in mind, let us reveal 6 mistakes of a web design that are not good for your SEO:
Replacing Your Text With Design Elements
The practice of replacing text content with images or java applets hurts your visibility in search results. Unfortunately, not many designers realize this important fact. Search engine crawlers neither read images nor does it take any information from java applets. The only thing it searches is textual information.
Adding too much non-textual content also makes it difficult for search engines to understand what your website is about. To avoid poor rankings in search results, it is important to fill your website with rich text along with relevant keywords so that a search crawler knows exactly about information on your web pages.
Not Optimizing Your Design for Mobile Devices
As more people are migrating to mobile devices, there is a growing number of consumers who prefer portable devices to make a purchase. A recent report by Kiss Metrics shows that people spend 69% of their time on mobile. According to the same report, it is revealed that 78% of mobile searches converted into sales.
With dramatic rise of mobile consumers, lacking a responsive design poses you a significant potential loss. With Google already downgrading non-responsive websites, it goes without saying that a non-responsive design will have effects on your SEO results.
Lacking a Properly-Designed 404 Page
A creatively-designed 404 page provides a way for your visitors to browse other important pages of your website. By not optimizing it with proper navigation, you not only deprive your visitors from utilizing other resources of your website but also lose your credibility in the eyes of search crawlers due to broken links.
The best way to reduce bad effects of broken link is to integrate the page with your home page or other relevant pages of your website. By doing that you will not only compensate for the inconvenience of your visitors but will also gain better visibility on search results.
In a bid to make a web design unique and appealing, designers sometimes mess up the navigation which makes a web crawler clueless about the links leading to repositioning of your rankings from higher to lower. A poorly designed navigation bar not only irritates the visitors, it also confuses the search crawler as it cannot follow a structure of links.
If your website needs a makeover since you have evolved from a single business to conglomerate, you need to make this transition without hurting the basic structure of your design. Changing your menu design is one thing, while removing it from the page is another. Making such drastic changes in hierarchical system of your web navigation not only confuses your loyal visitors but also results in loss of rankings.
Having a Poor Page Speed
The page speed time is inversely proportional to bounce rate of your website. The higher the speed time of a page, the lower the bounce rate. The primary factor behind slow page speed is the use of excessive visual elements that include frames and flash files. There is no denying that these elements catches eyes of your audience but how about those visitors who never get to see these visual elements because of poor page speed?
For search crawlers consider page speed important for user experience. This fact has been repeatedly notified by major search engines put page speed as a factor in page ranking. Load time is particularly critical for retaining mobile users. If your web design is not mobile-friendly, it will take more time to load which will frustrate the users and they will jump to your competitor’s website. Recently, Google has also listed websites with their load time for mobile users. Summing up this section with two main points:
- Make a responsive web design
- Avoid using excessive flash files or java applets on your web page
Not Providing Alt Text to Images
Truly professional designers tactically use images to draw attention of the visitors to important sections of a website. The bad thing about these visual elements is that they are not crawled or indexed unless if they are optimized with an alt text. Unfortunately, many designers ignore this basic fact that demote ranking of your website.
By providing Alt Text to images, you make it easier for web crawler to read images in a web design which in turn helps in promoting rankings of your website. Make sure that your images are formatted in jpeg, gif or png and use alt attribute in HTML to allow search crawler to read description of your image.
These aren’t design faults.. These are mistakes that non-web designers and amateurs make. If your web designer or developer is messing these basics up, it’s time to switch to a professional. There is no excuse for this sort of thing.