This article is a guest post written by Adam Rowles, an online marketing and SEO.
In the initial stages of search engine optimization (SEO), website owners used directories, keyword stuffing and article distribution services to climb the search engine result pages (SERPs) in Google, Bing and Yahoo. Instead, SEO is about creating a website that engages users, keeps them on your pages, and naturally gaining backlinks for search engine visibility.
Website Design Trends
What some website owners don’t realize is that SEO and digital marketing are closely related to web design trends. For instance, if your site isn’t responsive to smaller devices, such as tablets and smartphones, you’re losing a big portion of traffic. You will find more people are using their mobile devices to find local businesses and places, so it’s very important small business have a mobile marketing strategy.
Another trendy web design pattern is parallax design. Parallax design uses a concept of multiple superimposed layers that move across the screen at different speeds. But what does parallax design do for SEO? Website designers use these creative outlets to grab user attention. The new, trendy interactive designs may have a “sticky” effect with users because they stay on the page instead of bounce to a competitor. However, it is worth noting, that parallax design, doesn’t always result in higher conversions, so it’s important A / B test your web design changes.
Infinite scroll is often compared to parallax web design, but it’s a different design methodology. Infinite scroll uses a concept of a “bottomless” web page. Instead of clicking a link to load the next page, the user scrolls the page using a mouse wheel. Facebook has recently adopted this approach and it keeps its users engaged. Infinite scroll uses Ajax to silently load the next page as the user scrolls down the site. The result is an immediate view of the next page without waiting for the server to return content. Faster pages are shown to engage users more quickly and reduce bounce rate.
Another way to create interactive and animated sites is through HTML5. HTML5 is replacing Flash designs. Flash is difficult for search engines to index because there is no content for them to crawl. Search engines are still contextual even after decades of algorithm design and redesigns. HTML5 is the better choice for SEO, and it offers several media tags that help facilitate better indexing and crawling. You still get the animated features without using older Flash technology.
Website Architecture and Structure
For successful web design, most teams consist of designers, developers and marketers. Website developers must work directly with marketing departments, because what is technically correct may not be the right decision for SEO. One example of this disparate functionality is friendly URLs.
Most website coding languages allow designers to add a parameter to the end of a URL and use this query string value to display dynamic results to the user. While this is technically a standard way to code a site and search engines can crawl the results, these URLs make it difficult for users to recognize pages when they want to return to your site. Friendly URLs replace the “?product=10” in a URL with “/red-widget-product/”. The result is a friendlier URL for users.
Website architecture is another hot topic in web design. Decades ago, a standard website might consist of only a few HTML pages. Website structure helps users find product, and it helps facilitate better crawling across all pages on your site. Sites should have a clear sub-folder structure that’s clear to users and particularly helpful for search engines to understand the silo architecture.
Web design trends, architecture, and structure should work together to enhance user experience and search engine friendliness. It’s important that web developers don’t neglect SEO and vice versa. The primary goal should be to increase conversions and turn visitors into customers.