Why Web Designers Need to Understand SEO

We covered a lot of topics on web design and user experience here on The Design Mag. User experience is the primary focus of web and app design today, mainly because users’ experience has a big impact on conversion rate and other important metrics.


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Aside from UX, however, there are other fields that a good web designer must also understand in order to be more effective. SEO or search engine optimization is one of those fields. Knowing the basics of SEO – even on a surface level – is a great thing for several reasons.

SEO-Optimized Design

Search engines now take so many more factors into consideration when crawling and analyzing a site. Stuffing a page with keywords is no longer working; this, in fact, will get the site penalized for bad SEO practice. As a result, every element needs to be tailored for maximum SEO performance, including the design of the site.

An SEO-optimized design needs to be well-structured. You can’t expect the site to be crawled properly when content is not structured accordingly. Unfortunately, many designs still rely on elements such as <div> and <section> being forcibly placed instead of structured effectively.

By understanding how a site is crawled, you can develop a site that performs well SEO-wise. As a designer, you can also tailor the design to meet the clients’ specific needs and requirements without sacrificing the site’s SEO performance.

Attention to Performance

Another big factor in today’s SEO scene is site performance. If you’re already familiar with UX, you will know that a site needs to load quickly and correctly. Content is the priority while design and visual elements can be set to load after the primary elements have loaded.

SEO takes performance seriously too. A site that loads quickly will be able to retain its visitors more effectively. The higher time-on-site metric is a signal of good user experience and crawlers will pick this signal up as a sign of a good site. As a result, the site will also perform better SEO-wise.

According to web design and SEO experts at SnapAgency, the goal is to find that sweet spot that gives you a nice balance between visual elements and site performance. This isn’t an easy task to accomplish, but it is a challenge any web designer will find interesting.

Good Content Delivery

One last reason why a good understanding of SEO can really help web designers is the improved content delivery that comes with the understanding. Crawlers don’t really see your visual elements and the gorgeous animations you add to the site. They focus more on crawling the content of the site.

To maintain a high level of SEO performance, you must make sure that the design you create also works well in delivering the content. A good way to test this is by using Google Search Console and checking how the site looks through the ‘eyes’ of the crawlers. You will see a stripped-down version of the site and you can ask one very important question: does the content of the page still make sense?

Good understanding of search engine optimization will not only make you a better designer but also a better service provider for your clients. Take the time to learn the basics of SEO and find out how the knowledge can help you become a more effective web designer today.

Allen Ray

is a graphic designer. The Design Mag was founded in 2008, and since then she is constantly looking for new ways to serve the Design community both online and offline. It is her ultimate goal to make The Design Mag the best source for Design related Tutorial and Resources. Follow on Twitter@thedesignmag

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1 Response

  1. Dusan Vukadinovic says:

    Great points Allen! Every web-related discipline is closely connected but because of constant changes on Internet, we need to keep up with trends in our discipline of choice, it is hard to get a broader picture how the whole system actually works…

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