How Web Design and Search Rankings Connect

Back when the internet was new, web pages were the epitome of function over form. However, as we’ve progressed into a digital age, the expectations for websites and digital content emphasize the balance between form and function. The digital marketplace grows almost exponentially, which only means that you need to give your brand or business every opportunity for success.

seo ranking

Web design is not simply an attractive lure for potential leads, it’s also an integral factor to your digital performance. Data shows that web design and search rankings have a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few key ways that these two components of your digital marketing strategy intersect.

User Friendliness

Web design isn’t just about selecting a color scheme and typeface for your brand. How your website looks is certainly an element that leaves an impression on customers, but making sure that your pages are actually functional is equally important.


Humans are very visual, even when we as individuals try not to be. Studies by Princeton have shown that people are capable of forming a first impression within a tenth of a second. Considering how quickly we digest and process information, it stands to reason that your website’s visual design should be very high on your list of priorities.

From a purely visual standpoint, a potential customer is going to judge your business and your brand by every element that makes up your site. Is it loading quickly enough? Is the typeface legible? Are the colors distracting? In an even more general sense – does this website look like it’s been updated in the last five years?

Whether or not you realize it, all of these little details are telling potential leads a lot about your business. They’re taking measures of the information they’re processing and comparing it to their needs. If what you have to offer is incongruent with their expectations, you’re going to lose them.


How you layout your website is just as important as the content that’s on it. Ease of navigation is essential to a positive customer experience and is also necessary to optimize your search rankings. If your customers struggle to find what they’re looking for because of poor page mapping, chances are Google is struggling too.

This aspect of web design is critical to closing leads and sales. If a customer is trying to find a specific product, but can’t locate it easily, they’re going to look elsewhere and you’re going to lose a sale. Additionally, customers do not want to be redirected to incorrect pages or have to wade through tons of information. Simplifying your site’s menus and pages will make a huge difference in your conversion rates.

As more customers spend time on your site and make purchases, Google uses this information to legitimize your business behind the scenes. But this is only half the battle. While page hits are going to impact your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs), Google will also need to be able to locate and index your site’s information.

If your website’s design is messy and your navigation is convoluted, Google is not going to get an accurate inventory of your keyword use. Thus, any other search engine optimization techniques you employ will be futile.

Mobile Optimization

The most up-to-date data regarding search volume by device type indicates that mobile usage is continuing to grow. Google has found that nearly 58% of search queries originating on a mobile device. What’s more, BrightEdge reports that 62% of organic search results display different results when using a mobile device versus a desktop.

Realizing that many – if not most – of your potential and returning customers will use their smartphones to look for your business mean that the aforementioned statistics should impact your digital marketing decisions. Optimizing your site for mobile can make or break potential relationships with customers. If your site doesn’t load quick enough – or without displacement – you’re going to lose leads.

Data from Bizrate shows that almost 55% of shoppers read at least four reviews before making a purchase. Knowing this, it’s not surprising that many customers will take the time to assess your products on more than one device. Whether they’re trying to get a better visual on a bigger screen or perhaps using their desktop at work, people take their time to investigate goods and services before completing a sale.

That being said, 58% of customers who use multiple devices to make a decision end up using their mobile device to close the sale. If the majority of sales are completed from mobile devices, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice when you fail to optimize your site for mobile.


The first step to generating new customers and making sales is to appeal to the senses. However, once you’ve convinced customers that your site is worth checking out, you need to give them a reason to stay.

Readability & Keyword Incorporation

In the words of Bill Gates, “content is king.” The best way to improve your overall SERP ranking is to publish and produce content. However, not just any content will do.

Anything you publish on your website or social media should be engaging and readable. While you’re working to make content for SEO purposes, you still need to cater to an audience of human people – not bots. While Google will be looking for instances of keywords on your website, pages of content riddled with keywords and phrases will not be digestible for customers.

Depending on your SEO strategy, your implementation of digital marketing techniques may vary. What doesn’t change is your need to keep shoppers interested, informed, and investing. The more time customers spend on your website, the more clicking and navigating they’re going to generate for your site. While you need Google to register your usage of keywords, you also need to make sure your website is worthy of ranking.

Visual Elements

We already know that customers process visual information with great efficiency. The significance of appearance and visual elements makes it essential for both to be incorporated on your website. This means that not only should you include images and attractive design features, you need to verify they are rendering correctly with some regularity.

A broken image can sometimes be worse than the absence of one. When a potential customer sees that there’s an error with an image loading on your site, they might consider that it’s their device or internet connection. In the event that they don’t – or are willing to give you a second chance and are still disappointed – they could infer a great many things, none of which are positive for you.

Unfortunately, relying on potential customers and clients to not judge a site by its design is going to leave you disappointed. Securing new business and ensuring returning customers rely on a combination of factors. A website’s design can and will impact how customers view your brand. Their impression – for better or for worse – will directly affect your business’ search rankings.

Web design and search rankings are both individually and collectively two of the most powerful tools you have for your business. Close more leads and generate new ones by implementing a well-rounded SEO strategy. If you’re not sure where to begin, working with a white label SEO service is a great place to start!

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