There is a big debate as to whether good website design and layout can really help search engine optimisation, with many branding it as a trick to convince businesses to get a new website. However, I am going to present the argument that a well thought-out, error-free and well coded website, is easier to rank, than a site that is outdated, slow and poorly structured.
My first piece of evidence is taken from Google AdWords. Quality Score in Google AdWords is worked out partly through click-through rate and keyword relevance but also page relevance. This shows that Google does look at landing pages to determine the quality of a listing in their search network. So why should Google not think to take a look at landing pages in their natural search listings, where competition to appear here is far higher?
Next, the Google Webmaster Central blog continually hands out advice on optimising your site for search – including canonical URLs, duplicate content and redirects. Why would Google give these tips out if it wasn’t looking for sites to be updated with the information?
As competition gets higher and higher to appear on the coveted first page of Google for selected search terms, Google must be looking to always improve the quality of the sites shown. Once all pages on page one have on-page SEO sorted, and a similar number of links built with appropriate anchor text, it will need something else to look at to determine which site should be shown where. Quality websites will most definitely have a lower bounce rate and a better page/view rating. With all that access to Google Analytics data, is it too far-fetched to consider that Google wouldn’t consider these elements in its rankings?
At the end of the day, it is in your interest to have a well-designed site. It will attract more website visitors, and most likely convert more visitors into sales or enquiries. As more and more people visit your site, they are more likely to share it using social media if they have enjoyed using it. People might write reviews, blog posts or simply just social bookmark your site. All of these actions lead to a ‘natural link portfolio’ that hasn’t been ascertained using spam methods, and are therefore likely to help your site rank higher and stay higher.
If you’ve had any experience in ranking high quality sites over poorly designed ones, feel free to let us know by commenting below.
This article has been written on behalf of Bigfork Ltd, a Norwich web design agency.