Demystifying the True Influence of Web Design on SEO

If you still think of web design as having nothing to do with how you carry out marketing, you’re in for a surprise. Many business owners believe that web design has nothing to do with internet marketing, even though they understand its aesthetic significance. In truth, web design contributes more than just aesthetic appeal to a website.

Getting Back To The Important Stuff

Powerful Web Design Color Scheme

Web design contributes to SEO and improvement of traffic to a website since it directly influences user experience. Business owners and other professional know that web design is essential, but few can explain exactly why this is so. It’s not enough to know it matters, why does it matter?

Many web design professionals have found themselves in a fix at one time or another when a client asks why web design is so important. If you have been one of them, below are a few solid answers that you can offer your client next time you are put on the spot and are at a loss for what to say.

Research conducted to find out whether different content factors and design elements on a site could contribute to the increase/decrease of mistrust among certain users visiting health-related websites. Contrary to popular opinion, the study found that design elements made a greater contribution to trust/mistrust, much more than actual content.

In the study, about 94% of those who mistrusted a site pointed to issues directly related to design, while only 6% referred to content. Now, even though this study targeted health websites, the basic principles are applicable throughout the online world.

A few elements pointed out as increasing mistrust by respondents include:

  • Flamboyant pop-up advertisements
  • Overly complex or busy layouts
  • Hard-to-read small print in places
  • Slow website load times and dull intros
  • Lack of color/generally boring web design

Content Is Still Important

While web design is all-important, content still plays an essential and irreplaceable role in search engine optimization and branding, especially regarding enhancement of trust. Participants from the study cited content-related reasons for the increase in trust in 83% of cases.

They liked sites because they were impartial, clear, relevant, informative and fresh. Specifically, respondents lauded sites that offered age-appropriate information and effectively addressed FAQs.

Essentially, web design and content play the same role in providing a wholesome user experience on a site. Without attractive web design, users will not dedicate the time to read through content in the site. An attractive web design without high-quality content will leave users feeling cheated.

The Relationship Between Web Design And SEO

For effective web design, consider the bigger picture – approach of web design should be with a holistic view of the business, or it may not succeed. The design should aim to satisfy users’ eyes, but it must also further other business objectives/goals, branding, SEO and overall conversion rates to be specific.

By approaching web design with SEO in mind, you should take a long-term view. Trends in web design are fleeting, in today and out tomorrow. However, the brand and online presence is there to stay. Rightly focusing on the more permanent aspect can help a web designer to create something impactful. On the other hand, you should bear in mind what is currently effective/catchy/trendy.

For instance, parallax design is one of the most recent trends in web design. In parallax design, the creation of the website is as a single page, which goes on and on and on. Users appreciate it since they can scroll through content continuously, while webmasters love it since it keeps users engaged.

However, search engines are not huge fans of parallax design since you eliminate completely some aspects search engines used to understand content on a website. Also, you eliminate the chance to spread out your keywords through multiple pages – you have to use them all in a single URL. Hence, while aesthetically pleasing, it could have a detrimental effect for SEO in a site.

On the other hand, there is responsive web design. Now that the mobile age began, officially rubber-stamped by Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm released on April 21st, search engines love websites that have invested in responsive web design.

Site owners love it because it eliminates the need to have two different websites – desktop and mobile – and the problems that come with it: content duplication, link juice dilution etc. Responsive design has also been shown to contribute to lower bounce rates, and it solves the SEO problems created by parallax design – you still have multiple pages to spread out your keywords.

Users love it because they can experience the site the same way regardless of the device on which they are on. From an optimization perspective, the responsive design offers better returns for website owners.


Web design should never be in terms of aesthetics only. It is hardly a matter of choice, preference or what looks good. Indeed, the impact of web design reaches deep into the matters most important to a business: driving conversions and effectively communicating with the audience.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Michael Bentos. Michael an experienced digital marketer and part of the team at – the powerful platform that makes SEO simple. Through his articles, he offers useful SEO tips that businesses can benefit from. You can connect him via linked-in.

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