Humans are a seriously judgmental bunch. We judge people by their hairstyles, their alma mater, their knowledge of Game of Thrones trivia… you name it, and someone’s making a decision about your character based on it. The fact that prospective customers will judge your business by its website is the main reason we lovingly lecture our clients on the importance of having a kick-ass website design.
Search engines make assumptions about your business based on their first impression of your website, too, and a bad site design equals a bad search engine ranking. How can you make sure your website knocks Google’s socks right off?
Keeping Up Appearances
Aesthetics are a big deal when it comes to website design. No one wants to do business with a company whose site has cheap-looking graphics, clashing colors or illegible text. How on top of things can a company really be if their website looks like it was designed by some nerdy middle schooler?
An outdated site design not only makes your business look totally out of touch with today’s consumers, but the fact that people avoid it just reinforces to Google that visitors don’t consider your website a valuable resource.
You wouldn’t keep avocado-green appliances in your modern-day kitchen, right? Making sure your company website looks contemporary and complements the rest of your branding increases your classiness level by about a million percent—not to mention boosts the value of your entire business.
Beyond Skin Deep
Looks aren’t everything, even when it comes to website design. We’ve seen our share of impressive sites, but wow factor counts for bupkis if the usability isn’t there. We coined the term USEO to describe what we see as the next trend in search engine marketing: usability as the primary factor when ranking websites.
Search engines don’t want to see a traffic pattern that shows visitors consistently confused about where to go when they hit your homepage. On the speed and efficiency ratings scale, a website that lands somewhere around “waiting at the DMV” delivers a sucky user experience, and Google knows it.
As much as we all love visiting a site that forces us to scroll endlessly on our phones in order to see the entire page, most businesses are surprisingly moving away from that model. For websites to be considered truly usable, they need to look just as nice and be just as easily navigable from a mobile device as from a traditional computer.
Responsive site design is the word of the day. Better to shave off a little more form and add a little more function, for the sake of your search engine rankings as well as the sanity of your site visitors.
Why Google Cares
Okay, so search engines can’t exactly “see” your site design in the same way a human visitor can. (At least, we’re fairly confident Google hasn’t gone full AI… yet.) What they do instead is endlessly analyze people’s web traffic habits to determine how usable and attractive your site is to the average joe.
With this in mind, don’t forget to factor in those search engines when planning out your website design, and aim for the perfect marriage of pretty plus practical. If Google judges your website and finds it lacking, you’ll end up so many pages back in the search results that no one will ever find you.