Written by Sabrina Dougall Reviewed by Robyn Summers-Emler Updated on 13 June 2022 On this page Improve Engagement Improve UX Stand out amongst competition Next steps Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. Web design without Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is like a pizza without toppings: it looks awful, nobody chooses it and you won't make any money off it. The aim of SEO is to drive visitors to your website; without paying for advertising, SEO strategy makes your website appear higher up on the search engine results pages (SERPs) which leads to more people clicking on it, which leads to more people landing on your website and converting (signing up, buying your products or however your website makes money). It's no wonder just under half of marketers report SEO as the best marketing channel for ROI.In recent years we've learned a lot about how Google decides to rank various websites, and this guide will cut through the noise and set out the main principles of SEO as it relates to web design. In a nutshell, it boils down to this: search engines want high-quality websites to be found more easily – if internet users love your website, so will Google. Web design companies are experts in the field of SEO and can boost your website's profitability by improving its SEO. Read on to tap into the money-making potential of a sharp SEO strategy… Hear From Our Trusted Web Development Agencies Want someone to sort this SEO business out for you? I need SEO help It's totally free and only takes a minuteGoogle ranking factors relating to web designWe'll mostly be talking about Google in this article, as it hogs around 87% of the market share for search engines. Truth be told, the way that Google algorithms rank search results is shrouded in some mystery and results pages can look different to various web users. Nevertheless, there are many things we know for certain that Google needs to see from websites in order to rank them anywhere near the top of SERPs. Here are some key factors:Structured data: content divided clearly into headings: H1, H2, and so on. Lists and bullet points are great.Logical internal linking: pages should link to other relevant pages within the same site.Every page has an SEO title, meta description and URL that is relevant to the page content.Images have alt text: Written description of each image that shows up for users of accessibility technology.Check your site can be indexed by Google bots: use the coverage report from Google Search Console. ▶ Read more: How Much Does a Website Cost? 2023 Definitive Guide Improve EngagementYou already know visitor engagement is vital for conversions, but it’s also a ranking factor. If your website doesn’t keep people hooked, your bounce rates will increase and your rankings will drop. The bounce rate is the number of visitors who land on your website, but return to the SERP without clicking another page. This happens when the user isn’t engaged, or simply lands on the wrong page. Either way, it’s bad for SEO. What’s a good bounce rate, then? Naturally, one-page sites like blogs have high bounce rates (usually around 80%), but online store owners should aim for around 20-30% to maximise profits and maintain high rankings on Google. While a high bounce rate doesn’t have a direct impact on your SEO, it still notifies Google that someone left your website for whatever reason. Each ‘bounce’ tells Google the user wasn’t engaged, and in the eyes of a search engine, that’s a big no-no. Web design companies can make your website more engaging, and ultimately improve your SEO. By understanding the psychology behind web design, they can make your website more exciting, easier to navigate, and quicker to load. What makes an engaging website? It’s all about balance. Say you’re running a subscription business – you want visitors to enjoy your site without pressure, but you also need their contact information. Web designers know everything, from the best times to use pop-ups to the most enticing colours for CTA buttons. Web designers like are like film directors. If you’re watching an engaging film that’s easy to follow, you won’t change the channel. The same goes for websites. And as your website engagement improves, your rankings should follow suit. Improve UX and accessibilityUX stands for user experience. It represents the visitor’s journey on your website, so it’s important to make this as enjoyable as possible. The question is, how does UX affect SEO? Like any business owner, Google wants the best for its users. And because of this, websites that are user-unfriendly will suffer in the search results pages. In psychological terms, it’s negative reinforcement. What we mean by this is that bad design will hurt your SEO more than great design will improve it. Essentially, Google is punishing ‘bad’ behaviour. Either way, when designing a website, just don’t forget about the user – otherwise Google’s algorithms will catch you out! Web designers are UX-perts. They understand the relationship between SEO and user friendliness – namely that if internet users love your website, so will Google. With this knowledge, web design companies bring with them a whole handbook of UX tactics that most website owners don’t possess. So, how can UX help your website become the apple of Google’s eye? And more specifically, how do web designers go about this? The general rule is that search engines like simple layouts. You could have the coolest site on the world wide web, but if users can’t navigate the pages easily, your website will struggle to rank highly in the SERPs. Web designers can also make your website mobile friendly. This is a big ranking factor – with more people using mobiles than desktops these days, it’s vital that your website looks great on screens of all sizes. Web designers can also make it easy for users to find the answers they’re looking for. Using their expertise, they can reshuffle, design, and shape your website to make the user experience as seamless as possible. Stand out amongst competitionStand out online and your rankings will be fine… Easier said than done, considering the internet hosts over 1.8 billion websites. But that’s where web designers come in. Unique and compelling content has long been an important ranking factor, and web designers can help your site stand out from your competition. You already know that high quality content is important for SEO, but let’s explore why your website needs to be unique and exciting. Standing out from the competition comes down to ‘dwell time’ – in other words, how long someone stays on a website. If your website keeps people hooked for longer than your competitors’ websites do, you will rise above them and up the SERPs.This is down to the fact that dwell time is a ranking signal. Search engines know exactly how long users are staying on your website, and in the case of dwell time, the longer the better. As we said, web design companies know how to make your website stand out from the crowd, and ultimately rise up the SERPs. They know what’s hot in the website world, and what’s not – and how to keep users on your site for longer. Sure, anyone can use a website builder to get online these days – but chances are the average Joe can only create something, well, average. Web designers can blend the vision of your business into the latest design trends. They can tell stories using special effects, interactive designs, and quirky fonts. Looking for Web Design Quotes? Click your monthly turnover to get started < £1k £1-5k £5-10k £10-15k £15-20k £20-25k £25-30k £30-35k £35-40k £40-45k £45-50k £55-60k £60-70k £70-80k £80-90k £100k+ Next stepsAs we’ve explained, SEO is more than just keywords. The design of your website can have a huge impact on where it ranks on search engines, and web design companies know the best tactics to achieve this. Keen to know more? For a quick overview on your web design options, click here to easily compare quotes.Think of it like selling real estate. Interior designers make your house look beautiful, which encourages buyers to view it, and in turn reduces the chance of them viewing a competing house. A web designer can do that for your website. Search engines look at the design of your website as a ranking signal. Think of Google like a bouncer – if you want your website to get inside the top tier rankings, it needs to dress up smart. In this case, smart means a great UX. Web designers are just the ticket for getting your website inside the prestigious ‘club’ of high-ranking spots. Not only can they improve your site’s UX, they can increase engagement, and help you stand out amongst competitors. So, for all website owners, we’d say it’s worth spending a few extra pennies on a designer. You’ll be soaring up the SERPs and succeeding online in no time! Written by: Sabrina Dougall Web Marketing Expert Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation. Reviewed by: Robyn Summers-Emler Digital Growth Editor Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.