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Does My Website’s Design & Development Impact Search Rankings?

Woman using phone for web searchIn the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you may hear the old adage, “Content is King” from time to time. While the words on the page are still an important aspect of ranking in search, the look of your site (design) and function (web development) also play a significant role in how Google ranks your site.

Bounce Rates

You might have seen bounce rates on your SEO reports or when reviewing your performance as part of Google Ads or another paid advertising campaign. This number tells you how often people leave your website after visiting just one page. In some cases, this may be a natural result of the page they reach on click. For instance, if you create a landing page with a contact form for a paid ad, it makes sense that new clients are unlikely to click to other pages on the site. In other cases, bounce rates indicate that your site did not provide content that engaged the user or gave them the information they needed. Google considers a high bounce rate to be indicative that your site doesn’t offer authoritative content on the user’s search term. For this reason, it’s important to design unique pages that offer excellent information, opportunities to navigate to other areas of the site, and encourage users to take an action (make a purchase, schedule an appointment, etc.).

Frustrated UsersWeb designer working on design

If your site design or function are unappealing, this leads to frustrated users who spend less time on your page. In addition to bounce rates, the amount of time a user spends on the site can also impact your search ranking. If Google notes that users spend less than 30 seconds on a particular page, especially if they do not visit other pages on the site, this can negatively impact future search rankings. However, if Google sees that people spent longer than 30 seconds on one page, this can help to counteract the negative impact of high bounce rates, so you want to provide enough compelling information on each page without overloading users. Images, videos, and other design elements can help to break up text blocks and keep people scrolling down the page.

Load Times

We all want our websites to look great with images, videos, and interactive elements that draw users in, but these same design elements can really weigh down your website leading to slow load speeds. Good design combined with good development can deliver a site that looks great and loads quickly, which is the ideal user experience. Ten years or even five years ago, a website could take as much as 20 seconds to load, but today, people are likely to navigate away if your site doesn’t load very quickly. According to a 2020 report, a load time under three seconds is the best practice for mobile and desktop. Google itself claims their load speed is half a second, and they encourage sites to optimize for fast load speeds as this is a ranking factor for search.

Man writing notes from his web searchInconsistency in Design Across Screen Sizes & Devices

So, your website is flawlessly designed and works perfectly…if you’re using a desktop computer, the right browser, and you’re zoomed in to 74.7%. Hopefully, this doesn’t describe anyone’s current website. Consistency and responsiveness across screen sizes, zoom levels, devices, and other user environments is an essential aspect of modern web design and development. When websites don’t work well on all devices, users are more likely to leave, spending less time on the page and increasing bounce rates. Both outcomes negatively impact search rankings.

Lack of Brand Recognition

A user is likely to visit your website after seeing a business card, online ad, or other marketing resource, and they will expect to see similar logos, color schemes, fonts, and other branding on your website. If your website isn’t designed with branding in mind, you run the risk of confusing users, leading them to spend less time on your site and decreasing your chances that they will make a purchase, schedule a visit, or complete any other action.

Let’s Revamp Your Business Website to Improve Your Online Presence

Whether you’re unhappy with your current website or ready to create something new, the iKonix Studios team can help. Contact us to get started today.