SEO and Web Design

seo and web design sydney

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels


Apart from the fact that there are seemingly random words in the image above, they symbolise something: that words are important.

They are important when spoken, when in print, and of course when they appear on a website.

This page introduces the union of two powerful pillars of a website: website design and SEO. And within the field of SEO I include, of course, the words, the content.

Web design defines how the client interacts with the site – is it hard to understand, to navigate, to get appropriate information?

Or does the site flow, is it easy on the eye, does it inform the reader and help them to make a choice of supplier?

There are pieces of the SEO puzzle which are hidden to the user, such as heading and alt tags, but the writing is open to be seen. So when you are selecting a web designer, read their own website. Or if English is not your first language enlist someone else.

how google works

Why does Google exist – why, to make money of course. Its driving force is to render a user’s search experience as efficient and pleasurable as possible. Then you’ll usually lock in Google as your search engine and some of you will use pay per click Google Adwords (it’s primary source of revenue).

When you search the Internet on Google, your’e not searching the web. You’re exploring Google’s index of the web, which it creates by crawling as much of the Internet as it can with software called the Googlebot. There are over 4 billion web pages on the internet.

When you search, Google – like you might in a book’s index – checks its index and discloses to you its matches. But what is a ‘match’? It uses 200 factors (see ) to make that match as effective as possible. Nobody knows for sure what’s in Google’s algorithms, but there are two outstanding criteria – relevance (usefulness) and popularity (trust). [i]

On-page SEO is the content of your website (constitutes the relevance). Off-page (site) SEO is anything outside of your website – that the search engine is able to measure. Moz says “Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively “vouching” for the quality of your content. [ii]

Building backlinks (links from other websites to yours) is a very important off-page factor. They show that you are trustworthy in the eyes of those sites.

The feedback loop

When searching, users’ behaviour and ways of interaction with the SERP (search engine results page) are monitored by Google. Say a website is in third place, but a pattern emerges where most people stay for a very short time on the site. This site will be pushed down the ranking.

on-page SEO

The following list contains the most significant factors for on-page SEO (see earlier for the link to the “200 factors”):

  • Content must supply the demand for the topic and people must be able to link to it. This is top priority.
  • A Title Tag must be written for each page. This is second in importance to content.
  • A hierarchy within the site URLs provides information to both Google and a human reader on the structure and scope of the site
  • Image alt texts supply to the search engine more information about the web page
  • Internal links tell Google your website’s more important pages or sections
  • External links indicate to the search engine other websites which you find supportive or otherwise important

The over-arching point about Google’s SEO rules is that they are there to ensure that when a person does a search, they will get the result they are expecting.

local SEO

In case you haven’t heard of Google My Business, here’s an introduction.

In case you don’t know what I’m referring to, this is what the display looks like:

local seo

This is called the Google Map Listing and we are talking about local SEO. To register Google My Business (GMB) is free.

When the 3 local map business results are displayed on the page as above, click-through-rates (the proportion of people clicking on a listing) for these websites are significant.

mixing seo and web design

There is a discussion now and then along the lines of should SEO tasks (including content writing) be done first, or should design come first?

Content-first design is an approach where the content for your project determines the design of the site. The answer is they should be done together. If the copywriter and the designer work separately there could be problems and rework.

In terms of optimizing copy for search, the designer would want to work with a copywriter who will do the following:

  • Create calls to action
  • Weave target keywords into the copy
  • Write for user intent
  • Create copy that’s both readable and scannable (people usually scan the web)
  • Write internal links from page to page
  • Create meta tags and optimize URLs for search
  • Write alt tags for images.

In fact one opinion I read on the web was that design is unimportant if the content is of good quality.

If you have a beautiful advertising hoarding in the desert, it’s almost useless…no one can see it. SEO takes it from the desert and places it along an arterial road in the city.

webThemes: seo and web design

webThemes will design a website which goes hand in hand with compelling SEO and content writing.

Increase your business profits with a simple, functional web design that focuses on your customers’ needs.

See also SEO services and website design.

[1] Coombe, Will. 3 Months to No.1: The 2021 “No-Nonsense” SEO Playbook for Getting Your Website Found on Google (p. 44). Kindle Edition.