Design Your Way to Better SEO

analysis of the top 50 ecommerce sites

A quality, professional design can do wonders for building your brand, lending credibility to your site and, perhaps most importantly, increasing your sales. However, even the most effective design won’t matter much if your customers can’t find your website, which is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. In fact, your website design can actually have a pretty big impact on maximizing your SEO.

To help get your store started off right, follow these techniques to use design to enhance your SEO:

Have Clear Calls to Action

Clearly telling your customers what you want them to do is a usability best practice and great for SEO. Whether your customers need to click to call, request a quote, shop your product collection or add items to a cart, once they land on a page, their next steps should be visually defined and easy to locate.

A clear call to action is important for SEO because success is measured by how well your traffic converts into sales, leads or any other action you’re measuring – once it reaches your site.  Although your store functions may seem intuitive to you, that may not always be the case for your customers. Your best bet is to tell them exactly what you want them to do with an effective call to action.

Make Your Text Scannable

Text that’s flattened in an image can’t be read by search engines, meaning the keywords and content won’t be indexed. A better practice is to design your site to include an HTML textbox that responsively changes according to how large or small your content block is. To have the biggest impact, the textbox should be high on your page if possible (above the fold). It’s generally a good idea to use HTML whenever possible and use Flash or JavaScript sparingly.

Keep Displayed Products in Check

Featuring products or high level categories on your homepage is a great way to encourage direct click-throughs to the product without the customer having to click through several menus, but the amount of products you display should be kept to a reasonable number. Pages that have to display hundreds of products will slow down your page load times, which can negatively impact SEO. A good number of products to display on your homepage or category pages is between 9 and 12.

Make Your Pictures Seen and Small

Search engines can’t “see” pictures, meaning you need to give all images alt text attributes with keyword-rich phrases so they can be indexed. This also gives your images an added boost in image-based searches.

It’s also best to keep images to a reasonable size. Massive images will take forever to load, slowing down page speed which can impact SEO performance and the user experience on both desktop and mobile devices.

Make Your Main Navigation Menu Action Focused

Think about how your customers might like to shop and how quickly they can navigate to the products they are looking for. Your main navigation menu should point customers right to your revenue-producing pages, so keep it simple and clear. Links to your about us page and shipping policies can go in your footer.

Having a focused, thought-out navigation structure is going to make it easier for your users to get around your website, which means search engines are going to rank you higher. A good navigation menu is all about making your website more usable, which is not only good for your customers and your sales, but search engines love it too.

Visual & Aural Content Needs Verbal Context

Similar to images, search engines can’t read audio or videos files. One solution is to include a descriptive and unique summary alongside this content to give search engines something to index. This allows them to understand the file’s purpose and what it’s about. You could also transcribe the video or audio file in full if it makes sense for your landing page.

Conclusion

Focusing time on improving the usability of your site will not only make your customers happy, but it will help search engines rank you higher, thus sending more qualified traffic your way. Thinking about design from both a user experience and SEO perspective can do wonders for getting customers to your site and getting them to purchase once they arrive.

 

Want a little help with your SEO or web design? Volusion offers custom design and SEO services to help your business attract visitors and boost sales.

2 Responses to “Design Your Way to Better SEO”

  1. Chris Pontine

    Hi Jacob,

    Totally agree when you state “Make Your Text Scannable”

    With the patience in this world we sit lower than a goldfish.

    Great post!!

    Thanks,

    Chris Pontine

    Reply

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