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What should I prioritize between web design and search engine optimization?

Google philosophy states as follows, “you should think over user’s good experience with your site, prosperity will follow.” However, a lot of website owners and search engine optimization specialists do not take this statement seriously, creating a web page designed primarily for search bots, not for average users. By doing so, they lower their rankings and raise bounce rate.

 Nowadays, Google states that developing for user experience is much more valuable than designing just for search engine optimization. The notions of SEO and enjoyable user experience become complementary and interrelated, and quality websites that designed for users rather than for search engines result in website SEO improvement and higher rankings. Experienced web designers take into account both aspects SEO and UX to make a website efficient for both search engines and users. In this article, I will enumerate some UX essentials which can affect website rankings and improve your site SEO.

Web design and search engine optimization essentials

  • Mobile responsive design

In the 2015 Google made a rankings update making a mobile-friendliness of websites as the essential ranking factor. According to this update, all sites should be legible and functional on all mobile devices and tablets. So nowadays if you would like to rank on the first Google page, you should obviously design your site not only for desktops but also for mobile screens.

There are three favorite ways to design for mobile devices - website responsive design, dynamic serving and separate URLs. However, the responsive design is the best way to enhance website SEO. With the responsive design, you give your potential customers an opportunity to use the same version of your site on their mobile devices. Other ways of website mobile-friendliness improvement are less useful as they separate mobile website version from the main desktop version and make mobile version rank for itself. Search engine optimization and user perfect experience are blending when it comes to mobile sites. Make sure your mobile version design enables users to navigate your site easily. So to improve their mobile experience with your site, leave a space between buttons and avoid using too large or too tiny element as well as pop-ups.

  • Infinite scroll should be used wisely  

You can improve your website visitors experience by implementing infinite scrolls in which more content continues to load as the user scroll to the bottom of the web page. However, in this case, Google bots can not imitate user behavior, and the content which is visible for users remains unparsed by search bots. If you think your site is required such design feature as an infinite scroll, create a paginated series alongside many scrolls. It will help you to improve user experience by letting them easily find what they need.

search engine optimization

  • Avoid using click-to-expand

Click-to-expand or tabbed content also make sense when it comes to a combination of search engine optimization and user experience. Most designers tend to use active tabs users may click on for more content. This technique is widely used on blogs and e-commerce sites which are overloaded by information. As well as with infinite scroll, click-to-expand design element may not be acknowledged by Google. There is a belief that Google bots cannot parse this kind of hidden content. So, you can implement click-to-expand element if you use the practice sparingly. Click-to-expand content can contribute to your minimalistic web design, but appealing to user experience, in this case, could hurt your site rankings.  

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