Making SEO and Web Design Work Together

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If you want your business website to be successful as a tool for generating sales and contributing to the bottom line, SEO and web design are equally important. Paying too much attention to one while neglecting the other can be detrimental and severely limit the ability of your website to contribute to the growth of your business.

It’s important to understand exactly how design and SEO play a role in the effectiveness of your website, and why you need to invest in both equally.

SEO web design

Why Web Design Is Important

The design of your website has a large effect on the first impressions visitors get when they land on the site for the first time – and when it comes to selling or establishing business relationships online, first impressions are crucial. There is no need for web visitors to politely excuse themselves from a website they dislike or distrust based on the first impression – they’ll simply click the ‘Back’ button on their browser.

So the first and most important goal of good web design is to convey that you are a trusted entity which they can feel comfortable carrying out transactions with, even over the web.

But beyond this pragmatic aspect of design as a credibility point, your website’s look and feel should be in keeping with the brand you’re trying to create and what you want that brand to stand for. Your web design will convey a lot about the personality of your business in a matter of seconds – that personality better be one which resonates with the customers you’re trying to attract.

Why SEO Is Important

Now, with all that said, many business owners and marketing managers have a tendency to put far more emphasis on design than optimising their sites to be found on search engines. But what is the point of pouring thousands of dollars into professional design for a website no one ever sees?


SEO is important for the obvious reason that in order to sell, you need to actually connect with the people who are willing to buy from you – you need to be found. And the most effective way to do that, hands down, is via the search engines.

Unfortunately, many web designers who claim to know how to do SEO correctly have knowledge that is already well out of date. SEO is a game which changes literally every month, so there is no room for amateur attempts – having your SEO done by a design agency with out of date knowledge could end up hurting more than it helps.

Blending SEO and Web Design

It can be tempting to contemplate design and SEO separately, but the reality is they need to be considered together. This is because the structure of the site and the way it is coded can have big effects on how easy it is to optimise – and these are decisions that will be made in the initial design phase. That’s why it’s important to be discussing your goals with both a designer and a website marketing professional right from the beginning.

Common Web Design Mistakes That Kill SEO

Here are a couple of problems that we commonly see where businesses pursue web design options that later hamper their SEO efforts:

  • Designing websites where the written content is part of an image file – this means the words can’t be picked up by Google.
  • Heavily relying on Flash or other SEO-unfriendly coding options – these can make a site look very ‘flashy’, but make it very difficult to optimise. Simplicity is almost always the most effective option.
  • Creating web page URL structures that use strings of letters and numbers, rather than keywords, and which are difficult to change later without re-structuring the whole site.

Those are just a handful of possible pitfalls. Again, it’s good practice to have SEO professionals consulting with your design team right from the get-go to make sure you don’t accidentally set up a website which is difficult to effectively optimise for search engines.

If you’d like to discuss how best to combine great web design with SEO for excellent online marketing results, give Tom a call on 0221330298 or contact us today.

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Tom McSherry is the founder and chief strategist of Premium SEO NZ. Tom has been in the digital marketing industry for 8 years providing digital copywriting and optimisation services to businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

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