In terms of SEO, one common misconception is that success is based solely on keywords, with little to no consideration for great design.

While keyword optimization, paired with quality content, may push an article’s visibility to the top, it is important to consider that the design itself also plays a significant factor in the ranking of your company’s website. Digital strategists, web designers, and SEO experts agree that bad design hinders SEO performance, regardless of how great the content, products, or services presented online are. In order to boost your company’s SEO performance, it is key to consider and avoid the following user experience errors:

Large Multimedia Files

Studies have shown that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. While interactive, multimedia-rich websites may drive engagement online, it is important to consider that larger photo and video files may dramatically slow down the load speed of your web pages. Unless compressed and implemented properly, large multimedia files can negatively affect your company website’s SEO ranking. To boost SEO visibility while maintaining dynamic visuals, understand the necessary steps to reducing the file sizes on your website.

Despite today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, it is important to consider that not everyone has the luxury of high-speed internet. When building a new website, especially one that leverages rich, dynamic content, it is highly recommended to test the platform across multiple browsers, devices, and if possible, at different internet speeds. By doing this prior to launch, you can identify any opportunities to reformat your files for streamlined performance.

Unreadable Text

Poor design can also negatively affect your SEO performance if unreadable text is present throughout the website. If you have chosen a font that is too small or too difficult to read, or demonstrates a jarring or distracting color scheme, your users are unlikely to stay on the page to digest the content. It is highly recommended to use a digital readability tool, which ensures that your content is visually easy to comprehend, increasing your chances of engaging and converting visitors online.

Overuse of Pop-Ups

Great web designers understand how to purposefully leverage pop-ups on a website to capture leads. However, it can cause your site to rank lower in search engines if a pop-up is deployed too early in the online experience. If a first-time user visits your web page and a pop-up suddenly interrupts their landing experience, that visitor may quickly exit your page before engaging with any of the content.

To ensure that your website ranks higher by reducing bounce rates, avoid unnecessary pop-up windows so that content on the page loads quicker, making the site easier and more enjoyable to navigate. Use pop-ups sparingly and test the optimal timing to deploy them throughout the site. It is vital that you establish a meaningful connection with your audience online before leveraging pop-ups to collect information or drive call-to-actions.

Sound Autoplay

While adding a unique element to the online experience, audio that automatically plays upon user landing is more likely to negatively affect website performance by causing high bounce rates. Users who are not expecting a sound-supported experience or are in a noise-sensitive environment are highly likely to leave your website in an instant. Digital experts advise against having audio or video autoplay since it often catches users off-guard, causing a negative impression of your brand. However, with the rise in experimental websites and engaging microsites, sound is becoming a more prominent element in driving the overall experience. To avoid any negative impressions that may hurt your brand or hinder overall site performance, it is important to understand the context and purpose of your website as well as the objectives and expectations of your audience online.

A Balanced Approach

Great web design is not just a combination of the latest visual or development trends. Prior to executing the design or development phase, it is essential to identify the specific objectives and expectations of your users online. Paired with best practices in SEO, purposeful design can help boost your overall website ranking. With a fundamental understanding of your users as well as the context of your company’s website, you are more likely to implement design techniques that support your SEO efforts.

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