Google’s algorithms are dynamic. So if you want to improve your web presence or maintain your visibility and ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs), your SEO strategies must be fine-tuned to match Google’s latest SEO update.

In fact, you’ll have to look beyond keywords, meta tags, title tags, alt tags, headings etc., as well as other ‘regulars’ several SEO plugins are throwing around.

So where exactly should you start?

Start right from the scratch with web design and web development. Sounds strange? I don’t think so. It is easy to assume that both terms have the same meaning and are used interchangeably. They are absolutely different and here’s why!

What is Web Design?

Web design is about the aesthetic aspects of your website as well as its usability. So web designers often use different web design programs like Sketch, Adobe XD, Adobe Dreamweaver, Color Wheel, Figma, Sublime Texts, Adobe Photoshop etc. to design the layout and other visual elements of a website.

What is Web Development?

Web development is about transforming a website design into a functioning and usable website. Web developers use various programs or languages for coding and they include Python, Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, C++, Swift, Shell etc.

Web designers and developers do all they can to make your website a great one. Sometimes, just one person can do both jobs!

So how exactly does web design and development affect SEO? It’s time to find out.

How Web Design and Development Affects SEO

Let’s see how web design and development affects website ranking and visibility;         

SSL Certificate (HTTPs)

The “S” in HTTPS means secure. Websites that are HTTPS include the SSL 2048-bit key and can secure a website connection via encryption and authentication. Once you have an SSL installed on your website, it activates the padlock and permits secure connections from a web server to a browser.

How is this relevant to Google and SEO?

HTTPS safeguards your website data and visitors information from hackers. So once you have it installed on your site, Google has no doubt in showcasing your website on search engine result pages. Google are careful not to recommend or display phishing websites on their search engine result pages.

It is no longer news that more and more Web users are interested in websites with HTTPS whenever they have to disclose personal data, buy, or sell via the internet. Google has confirmed publicly that it has a beneficial ranking effect on your website. So Google won’t hesitate to boost your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine result pages once you have an HTTPS website whether you do transactions on your site or not.

Seamless Navigation

Google loves websites that guarantee great user-experience. A user-friendly website design makes it easier for visitors to navigate, find whatever they are looking for and to spend more time on your website.

This reduces bounce rates and gives visitors more reasons to visit your website over and over again. Also, it will improve your website’s online presence and boost its visibility and ranking on search engine result pages. Good click-through rates is a signal of quality, can help your SEO in many ways, which is why it is an important ranking factor.

But if navigation is poor, visitors will leave your website in few seconds. This increases your bounce rate and signals Google that your navigation or entire web design and development is poor.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design and development are the spines of mobile friendly websites. Responsive designs allow your website to look great on mobile devices regardless of their screen sizes and shapes.

The number of smart devices users is escalating constantly. According to We are social, The number of mobile phone users in 2018 is 5.135 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year.

So if you have a responsive website, you can deliver better user experience to visitors as they access your website via various devices and platforms. Considering how smart device users search for items on the web, Google ranks mobile friendly websites higher than similar ones that are not. You can learn more about Google’s recommendations on how to implement your mobile website.

Web Page Speed

If you web pages load slowly, it could be an indication that your web design or development is poor. Sometimes, it could be heavy videos or images on your web pages. So optimize your videos and images and compress them if necessary to load faster.

However, compressing your images and videos to make them look poor so your web pages can load faster will cause more SEO harm than good in the long run. It will lower your visibility and ranking on search engine result pages.

You should consider providing various video file types (MP4, Quicktime format, Mpg, 3GP file extension etc.) so visitors can choose the one that matches their internet speed rather than compress your videos to just one format.

Great Content

As the old saying goes “Content is King”. This couldn’t be more relevant and true in 2018. Great content does not rely on keywords, headings alone to rank higher. Rather, great content provides valuable information that visitors want and need, in the most usable or accessible format, and at the right time without being bored.

Your website content should be tailored to appeal to your targeted visitors rather than search engines. Publish new content regularly, such as blog posts, white papers, videos, etc. to acquire links naturally and boost your visibility and ranking on search engine result pages.

Publish reader-friendly content that will spike your readers’ interests and hold them spellbound from the top of the page to the bottom. Tell exciting stories that revolve around their pain points and solutions. Most importantly, avoid sounding like a machine or robot and avoid duplicate content.

Integrate Social Media

Your web design and development should have some room for social media. Social sharing is constantly rising and one of the easiest methods of promoting your great content is via social sharing. So integrate your social media pages into your websites to expand your audience, and increase your visitors.

Once your content gets shared back and forth, Google records the signal that your content is more valuable and your site is likely a good sign of user-friendliness as well.  So never miss the chance to spread the word about your website via social media and to rank higher on search engine result pages.

Bottom Line

It’s easy to overlook website design and development when you intend to boost your SEO ranking and visibility. The focus is always on keywords, Meta descriptions, tags, SEO plugins etc. and too many webmasters misuse these elements. However, if you focus more on website design and development, and do them right, all other elements will fall into place easily and your website will favor engagement. Offering quality content, you will accrue links to your site in a natural way,  which is what Google wants you to do. Combined with sound web design and development fundamentals, you are sure to earn rankings the right way, and for the long term.

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