When SEO and web design are worked on in silos, it can lead to the duplication of work and potential development issues that may negatively impact the SEO performance of the website. Both SEO and web design need to work in collaboration like two peas in a pod. If one is to compare a synergised SEO & web design strategy to formula one racing, web designers would be the engineers and the SEO team would be in the driving seat aiming to get pole position.
Experienced SEO companies work closely with web design teams to ensure that the process continues to develop value with the company’s long-term SEO strategy, while aiming to reduce any potential SEO threats during the build and any additional work that could duplicate costs. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind when synergising both SEO and web design activities.
Transparency. Always keep each other in the loop.
One of the biggest challenges is the communication between the SEO and web design teams. The changes that the web design team makes can impact the SEO performance. Changes to the website’s HTML and CSS can impact the search engine spider’s ability to crawl the website and index the web page content correctly. Web design and SEO teams can overcome these challenges by putting in place SEO friendly guidelines for web design teams to follow during the concept pre-website and web page launch phases.
Enhancing the user experience (UX optimization)
Ultimately, Google and the other search engines want to provide a user experience that will see their search listing recommendation serve a valuable experience to the web user. This is both from the information that they are seeking, as well as the trust elements of the website. SEO teams will optimise the content to enhance the content for ‘search relevancy’ so the content will be exposed to more keywords. Web design teams will develop the ‘visual appeal’ of the web page and site to encourage trust, appeal and branding.
Additionally, the improvement in the user experience on the site will see a reduction in the bounce rate with web visitors and may even encourage web users to share the web content.
Reducing web page loading speeds.
Web designers will focus on the visual element of the site. However, the web page loading speed is something that needs to be considered both for web users and for search engines. Web designers may be tempted to use large files that are slow to load over the Internet connection. Google has also said that the page loading time is factored into their algorithm. Web page loading speeds become more important when the website is on page one and it needs to get into the top tier positions. Web designers will need to work closely with SEOs for options that will reduce the web page loading speed, but still maintain the professional impression and user experience that the web page needs to offer.
Improving the technical markup of the website.
SEO teams will consistently monitor the technical performance of the website. With their SEO tools, they will monitor the website for the common issues that arise from web design changes. These include:
- Broken links – which occur when a URL is deleted or changed. The previous URL address leads to no files on the website and needs to be permanently redirected to a relevant web page or to the URL location of the missing file.
- 302 (temporary redirects) – These are often implemented by web designers and depending on the page that is redirected, the impact could affect the SEO performance of the web page and the organic search traffic.
Enhancing the website with CSS, HTML5 and Flash assets.
It is important that both the SEO and web design strategies are worked on in tandem. Synergy is the key to succeeding on both fronts. Should both teams maintain transparency and educate each other on the best practice guidelines and solutions that will compliment both strategies, they will both be successful over the long term.
What are your SEO practices? Do share with us.