You might be perfectly satisfied with how your website is looking, but what does Google think about it?
A well-designed website will help emphasize your brand’s strengths and overcome certain shortcomings, such as bad user experience or low conversion rate. Good web design entails both effective functionality and presentation, and when done right, it creates an overall image that exudes professionalism and trustworthiness.
That being said, you might think your site is done just right and able to live up to the role of the virtual face of your brand. But at the end of the day, what constitutes good web design is not a matter of aesthetic preferences.
In order to reap any of the powerful benefits your website can bring – from strengthening your brand image to boosting conversion rates – it needs to appease to Google’s demands.
Why Google’s Love Matters the Most
Well, to put it shortly, ensuring that your website ticks the boxes Google specified is absolutely necessary in the pursuit of higher search engine rankings – which mean more traffic, more visibility, and ultimately more conversions. At the same time, the standards Google has set are there to work in your favour and improve the quality of your site.
Google’s algorithm, which grows increasingly sophisticated, utilizes a set of established principles to rank your website. These factors were established in order to improve the quality of sites across the web and help Google maintain trustworthiness as a search engine.
Ultimately, that means that a conversion-optimized website is also a user-friendly website and website built with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.
Keeping up with evolving trends and algorithm changes can be demanding, but in this article we’ll bring you the 5 key ingredients of a website Google will love.
The average netizen uses multiple devices to browse websites and perform different task. This includes smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs, and no matter which device is at hand, your website is expected to perform equally well on all of them.
Responsive design refers to a set of principles which help ensure your website is able to conform to different devices and screen sizes. Browsers such as Chrome and Firefox offer built-in developer tools to aid the implementation of these design principles.
Responsiveness is a key ranking factor and something your website absolutely cannot overlook in this day and age. Without it, not only will your ranking be miserably low, but you’ll face potential customers scampering off your site one after the other once they render it dysfunctional on their phones and tablets.
Google has long been stressing the necessity of mobile optimization, but in 2018, they made it official by rolling out mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first indexing is just what it sounds like: Google now regards the mobile version of your site as its primary version. It’s the first thing the search engine looks at for indexing and ranking, while the desktop version falls in second place.
In other words, it isn’t enough for your site to just function normally on mobile – put this version above desktop and pour all your efforts into improving the mobile browsing experience.
Mobile browsing is different from browsing on desktop; for example, you’ll need to take into account things such as the “thumb zone”. Reliable professionals will take all the intricacies of mobile browsing into account when providing design solutions.
No Tolerance for Slow Loading
It’s no secret: slow website speed hurts your business. Period.
From hampered rankings to high bounce rates and even diminished customer loyalty, lack of loading speed has a devastating effect on your entire online operation.
Moreover, the standards are high: statistics show that visitors expect a web page to load within 3 seconds. Anything longer than that, and the large majority of your visitors will render your site too slow and bounce away in frustration.
The bottom line: visitors have no tolerance for lagging sites, and neither does Google. The need for speed has thus influenced certain web design practices and trends – most notably, the popularity of minimalistic, clutter-free layouts and flat design. A clean, clutter-free website with compressed images is guaranteed to load faster and more likely to provide an unburdened user experience.
A seamless user experience lies at the heart of a good website – and that’s what Google seeks to encourage and improve through its ranking factors. You’ll notice that all the factors we’ve talked about thus far – responsiveness, mobile optimization, and site speed – are also factors that revolve around providing the best user experience possible.
Every design and development decision needs to be structured around UX, starting with your navigation system. A simplified and logical navigation system ensures an effortless user experience, free of confusion, frustration, and various friction points.
Google tracks your site structure and navigation system, examining your overall site hierarchy to determine rankings.
Content Done Right
Integrating a blog into your website has pretty much become a necessity for successful SEO. But you don’t want to be blogging just for the sake of it – without a sound content marketing strategy, your efforts could in fact be counterproductive.
Always think quality rather than quantity. Google doesn’t want you to write for its algorithm – it wants websites to truly provide value to its visitors. The demand for unique, high-quality, organic content is bigger than ever. So, no matter what you do, develop a clear content marketing strategy and seek to provide value in your posts. Everything else comes after that.
Optimize your content for the relevant keywords you want to rank for, but once again, make sure you don’t compromise on value in doing so. Avoid black-hat practices such as keyword stuffing, which the search engine will inevitably punish you for, and try to create posts that are easily digestible and engaging.
Both web design and SEO practices are in a state of constant change and evolution – as is everything else web-related. However, enhancing the user experience lies at the core of it all, and currently, these 5 points are the most relevant factors Google deeply cares about. Whether you’re making a brand new website for your business or improving upon an existing one, make sure you go over them thoroughly to get all the Google love you need.
Author Credit: Vanessa Davis is 32 years old, lives in New York and is currently a full-time technical writer at designrush.com. Her areas of expertise are content marketing and design and in her free time she enjoys yoga, skiing and having a day in the park with her kids.