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SEO Pros Reveal The Most Frustrating Practices In Web Design

Gary Green
Gary Green
December 23, 2021

SEO professionals often find practices in web design frustrating since they can interfere with their SEO efforts.

Yet in this day and age, both search engine optimisation pros and skilled web designers are necessary to ensure that a company’s website is up to scratch and performing at the highest level.

Since it requires a talented team to construct a high-performing website, it’s important for web designers today to understand what they should avoid in order to make the efforts of the SEO team easier and more efficient.

Usability And Holistic SEO

At one time, there were two separate camps when it came to creating websites – web designers who created creative and visually appealing webpages and search engine marketers who optimised pages so that they could rank highly in the search engines.

However, there was a missing piece – user experience and usability. A more holistic approach needed to be taken to marketing and website design so that the results could be effectively tested and tracked and this approach required the focus to be on causes, not symptoms.

Instead of limiting perspective to just promotion and website management, the whole process needs to be considered. It’s a process that changes and grows all the time, and this is the reason why SEO and web design need to work together. It can take a long time to gain an understanding of why rankings are fluctuating, why bounce rates are increasing, why web pages are being abandoned and why pages are performing poorly.

When companies look at their data, they often discover that there are trends without any clear story lying behind them. Why is one page performing better than the next one? Why has a spike occurred in the referral traffic? Who is visiting the website and why did they arrive there? Does the data reveal anything that changes the assumptions about the visitors to the website?

When proper attention is paid to these factors, it becomes clear how web design needs to be adjusted and where and when this needs to be done.

Human Behaviour, SEO And Web Design Working Together

Studies into human-computer behaviour have revealed that landing web pages have five seconds or less to persuade users to remain on them. However, this is where many website designs fall at the first hurdle since their layout often does all it can to encourage visitors to leave quickly.

SEO professionals know that there are many subtle improvements that they can make to websites to boost conversions but they can’t do any of them if the landing pages aren’t properly designed. This is why marketers and web designers must work in tandem to create user interfaces that enhance user experiences.

Essentially, marketers can’t make a website successful if that site is poorly performing and badly designed. These days, accessibility lawsuits are a real thing and savvy marketers know that they need to prevent websites and brands from becoming entangled in legal battles, so this too indicates that SEO pros and web designers must work in collaboration to prevent problems from arising.

Which Practices Can Interfere With Marketing Strategies?

SEO professionals need the websites that they work with to be crawlable, usable, readable, accessible and visible. If those websites aren’t any of those things, their job becomes more difficult and even impossible. So, here are a few of the issues that SEO pros find that web designers are guilty of creating that impact negatively on their work:

Poorly Designed Navigation

There are many aspects of website navigation that are unintuitive and prevent users from having the best experience. These include:

  • Hamburger and accordion navigation menus
  • Dropdown navigation elements which fail to link with the main category those forcing users to choose one of the sub-categories
  • Mega menus
  • Using search rather than filters to build categories

Uninspiring Design Features

There are many different design elements that are also unappealing to users and which may deter them from remaining on the site. These include:

  • Oversized images located at the page top
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Using font-awesome rather than SVG fonts
  • Failing to include an alt text option when images are uploading
  • Lazy redirects
  • URLs session ids
  • If decisions about site redesigns have been made without taking analytics on board and by making decisions based on feelings or opinions rather than data
  • Sliders which slow the page down and which carry no title, alt-text or filename
  • Having the site’s logo as an H1 heading
  • Using H-hierarchy as a design element
  • Using slow client-side delivery
  • Automatically assuming responsive design will be the best mobile user interface
  • Failing to allow editorial or admin control of the page level search engine optimisation including canons, robots, and image alignment
  • Using robots.txt for indexation control

Investing In A Talented Web Team

It’s clear that the above issues are problematic and hamper the efforts of SEO professionals to get their job done properly. The solution is simple, though. To take a holistic approach, everybody linked to the website must be involved.

Any disagreement or conflict about a website’s development may end up causing unwanted problems later, and this is why it’s so important to get it right from the very beginning. Teams must be unified and this will ensure that the final result benefits the website.

Choosing website developers who have a good understanding of technical SEO is the best course of action. This means that, even when there are disagreements over implementation specifics based on scalability, reward and cost, the arguments will be well worth the time and the end result will be far better than it otherwise would have been.

Although SEO techniques are usually precise and can be measured, it’s not simple to predict the ways in which users will respond to a web page due to the large number of variables at play.

However, it’s clear that users must trust that a website can provide what they want and need and they’ll experience no obstacles to get in their way. This is something that web designers and SEO pros can both agree on and work together to resolve.

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