Most people do not know this, but the page layout of a website can have just as much impact on SEO as the content itself. While marketers and website owners are focusing their time on creating valuable content for their followers, they might be overlooking the importance of their website layout, which can negatively impact on the success of their efforts. Having a strategically designed page layout for SEO is thus important.
How does page layout affect SEO? Google awards websites that genuinely enhance the user experience, with good search engine rankings. A clean layout that engages with the user and provides quick and easy access to answers and information, is considered a user experience enhancer. As such, a strategic layout paired with thorough, decent content will boost your SEO efforts exponentially.
What is the function of page layout? The faster your website provides answers to browsers, the better it appears to a search engine, such as Google. Design a logical website that is easy on the eye. Reduce your bounce rate, improve your content and design a website that keeps browsers reading and scrolling. If you can do that, you will have a winning combination.
Page layout definition: “Page layout refers to the arrangement of text, images and other objects on a page.” - techterms.com
Towards the end of 2018, Ecommerce News Europe released stats that showed a whopping 87% of UK retail purchases are done online. When you consider this, it’s obvious that your website needs to find its way into the frontline of the consumers carrying out these purchases. The only way to do that online is to get your SEO strategy working for you.
Read on to learn more about creating a good page layout for SEO.
Once Upon a Time There Was a Bad Website Design
Once upon a time, there was a bad website design and it completely ruined a very good business’ chances of ranking well in search engine results. It is a sad story really…and one that many online marketers and website owners can relate to.
The general story goes a little something like this…A potential customer uses Google to search for a product. You have been working tirelessly on your content over the past few months. To save on time and effort, you have quickly slapped your content into a template that is dated, but at least your content is top notch, right? Wrong!
Now that your potential customer has clicked on your link and is directed to your website, they encounter a heavy design that takes ages to load. Strike 1. When the pages eventually show, they find it hard to navigate. Strike 2. Where is the products page? Is there more information on this product? Is there a picture? Where is the actual product I came here to see? Your customer has questions that aren’t being answered. Strike 3. And before you know, said potential customer’s initial delight at encountering your website has dried up and annoyance has taken its place. The result, they return to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and continue searching for another supplier! Worst of all, the next time they are chatting online or talking to friends and colleagues, also looking for the same product, they find themselves warning them with sage advice, “Do not go to that website. It was confusing and frustrating. Go to this website instead.”
And so, as more and more online users show the same reaction to your website, the Google page layout algorithm will very quickly determine that your website is not providing a valuable user experience. And the next time you check on your rankings, poof, your website is nowhere to be seen.
It is almost comforting to think that you have 3 strikes before you are out. In reality, very few modern online users nowadays stick around or give websites chances to prove themselves. We live in a digital age where instant gratification is the norm and because of this, you simply cannot slack when it comes to your website’s layout and design. Read on to learn how you can safeguard your search engine ranking results from the negative impact of a poor-quality design and layout.
Page Layout No-Nos | What Not to Do | How to Appease the Google Page Layout Algorithm
What is the function of page layout? The function is to provide browser with quick and easy access to information. That being said, you probably already know that. Knowing what you can do is one thing, but if you pair a few good page layout features with a variety of bad ones, the result will be the same. Take the time to do a “spring cleaning” on your website so that you can create a great page layout for SEO. Get ready to rid your page of all the things that put browsers off and send them to your competitors. Below are a few things you should avoid:
Go Easy on the Pop-ups
Who ever came up with the idea of pop-ups anyway? Not only are they inconvenient and get in the way of the browsing process, they are completely annoying. It is almost the same as trying to have a deep conversation with someone while having a third party constantly interrupt and butt-in. That being said, a pop-up can be useful. You can use to gather contact information from a customer (sign up for our newsletter for instance), but you should never present it the moment someone arrives on your website, and you should never do it more than once. Build trust with your customer first. Ensure your popups only present a little further down the line – perhaps just before they leave the site.
Avoid Hefty Videos and Images
Videos and images haven proven themselves in the world of digital marketing. As consumers, we love them. What we do not love, is when they jam up our devices when trying to load. A good page layout for SEO can include images and videos – you just have to do it right. Make sure that all of your videos and images are optimised for mobile. If it takes more than 2 or 3 seconds for the video or image to load, you are taking a risk of losing that customer. Think about it…how long do you wait for videos and images to load before you simply close the screen and head back to SERP?
Forget About Fancy Fonts
Be responsible with your fonts. It is easy to get carried away with creative or arty texts and fonts, but if it is creative to the point of browsers not being able to quickly and easily see what is on the page, you will be scaring customers away. Make your text easy-to-read and legible if you want to keep your target audience interested.
Avoid Jam-Packed Pages – Get Ready to De-Clutter
When it comes to a layout that is SEO friendly, include a lot of white space. No doubt you want to get as much information to your customer as possible, but the more cluttered and crowded your pages are, the more overwhelmed your customer will be. A good page layout for SEO is not cluttered. Consider how your eye naturally scans a page. Now consider what happens if that page has content, images, links, buttons, videos, and bits and bobs in every available space. The eye tends to dart around, the browser gets overwhelmed and potentially puts off the research process for another time. Alternative, he/she directs attention to another website where there is an element of calm (white space).
Disable Auto-Play Functions on Videos and Music
Keep the element of surprise to a minimum on your website. If someone opens a page and suddenly music starts playing or a video loudly rambles on, chances are you going to lose your customer promptly. You never know where your target customer is when they access your website and nobody really likes that sudden shocked feeling they get when a sound takes them by surprise. Include videos and music, but do not set them to auto-play. Allow your browser to choose whether to listen or watch.
Solve the Problem of Hard-to-Find Content
Finding your content should not turn into a massive investigation or game of hide and seek for your browsers. You basically want to spoon feed them immediately with what ever content and information they most desire. Position the most important content at the very top of the page. This makes sure that the moment they land on your page, they know that they have made it to the right place and will stay a while longer. Also make sure that there is a very easy and obvious way to search for more content on your website. Include a search box and place it in a very obvious, easy-to-see spot. This provides the browser with more opportunity to find more information and content with a few clicks. No need to return to the search engine results page – now, that is a win for your website.
When You Get Layout & Content Just Right, SEO Soars
It is important to remember that neither content or design/layout can do it alone. A good page layout for SEO goes hand in hand with excellent content. You need to get this right if you want to impress the Google page layout algorithm. Design your layout to ensure a great user experience for your particular customer. Then go about creating the type of content that really puts the cherry on the top of a design that consumers just can’t look away from.
PCR did a feature article last year that indicated the UK experienced record online spending in 2018. Of course, all online shoppers turn to the likes of Google to find the products they are looking for, and if your website isn’t nestled among the top search engine results, you are most certainly going to miss out on your share of the market. You can handle your own website design, layout, and content creation, of course, but if you want to boost your SEO results quickly and effectively, hiring a digital marketing team to assist you will not be a decision you regret.