For online businesses, surviving in a competitive internet-based industry takes a comprehensive approach, which involves two critical steps: • Earning top rankings in search results to attract leads • Retaining leads with a visually appealing and usable web design If you ignore the first step you will lose your search rankings. Compromise on the second step and you will end up losing your visitors. So both are vital to stay afloat. Although it may look pleasant, an attractive web design alone cannot help you get higher rankings than your competitors. So, with this in mind here are 6 mistakes that aren’t good for your SEO.
Replacing your text with design elements
Not many designers realise the important fact that replacing text content with images or java applets hurts your visibility in search results. Search engine crawlers only search for textual information meaning it neither reads images nor takes any information from java applets.
Adding too much of this non textual information also makes it harder for search engines to understand what your website is about. So to avoid poor rankings in search results it’s vital that you cram your site with a plethora of text and relevant keywords to assure that the search crawler knows exactly what information is on your web pages.
Not optimising your design for mobile devices
In this day and age it is becoming more and more common for people to migrate to mobile devices. There are a growing number of consumers who prefer portable devices to make a purchase. Recent reports show that people spend 69% of their time on mobile and 78% of mobile searches convert into sales.
With the ferocious rise of mobile consumers, lacking a responsive design is digital suicide and could mean a significant loss to your company. With Google already downgrading non-responsive websites, it goes without saying, that a non-responsive design will have effects on your SEO results.
Lacking a properly designed 404 page
A creatively designed 404 page provides a way for visitors to browse other important pages of your website instead of just being a dead end like it is for many. By not optimising it with proper navigation, you not only deprive your visitors from utilising other resources of your website but also lose credibility in the eyes of search crawlers due to broken links.
Perhaps the best way to reduce the bad effects of broken links is by integrating the page with your home page or other relevant pages of your website. By doing this you will not only compensate for the inconvenience of your visitors but will also gain better visibility on search results.
When focusing on making web designs unique and appealing, designers can sometimes mess up the navigation of a website. This leads to the web crawler being clueless about the links and to your rankings being repositioned from higher to lower.
If your site is in need of a makeover, the transition needs to be made without hurting the basic structure of your design. Changing your menu design is one thing, while removing it from the page is another. It’s confusing for loyal visitors to see such drastic changes in the hierarchical system of your navigation and could also lead to a loss in rankings on search engines.
Poor page speed
Your page speed is a huge factor when it comes to the bounce rate of your website. The higher the speed time of a page the lower the bounce rate. The primary factor behind slow page speed is the use of excessive visual elements, that includes frames and flash files. Now although these elements catch the eyes of your audience, there may be those who won’t even get to see it due to the poor page speed.
Search crawler’s regards page speed as very important for the user experience and has been repeatedly notified by major search engines as a factor in page ranking. Load time is particularly critical for retaining mobile users. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it will take more time to load, frustrating users and leading to them bouncing to a competitor website. Recently, Google has also listed websites with their load time for mobile users. Summing up this section with two main points:
Not providing Alt text to images
It’s a tactical move for designers to use images to draw the visitor’s attention to important sections of the website. The bad thing about these visual elements is that they are not crawled or indexed unless if they are optimised with an alt text. Unfortunately, many designers ignore this basic fact, which can lead to a demotion in your websites rankings.
By providing Alt Text to images, you make it easier for web crawlers to read images in a web design which in turn, helps in promoting rankings of your website. To assure that the search crawler can read the description of your image, make sure that your images are formatted in jpeg, gif or png and use alt attribute in HTML.