How to Find Balance Between Web Design Trends and SEO

Taking a cursory glance at SERPs for the keywords ‘SEO’ and ‘web design’ will make something abundantly clear: these two aspects of digital marketing are as often aligned in their goals as they are opposed. Certain SEO tactics, when taken to their extreme, necessitate design compromises which can be detrimental to the look and feel, as well as the functionality of a web-page. Conversely, prioritizing design at all costs can nullify even the most dedicated SEO efforts. To make matters worse, both SEO and web design are susceptible to passing trends, and chasing them blindly is a dangerous game. An SEO strategy or a design principle that was all the rage one year can quickly and unexpectedly become obsolete the next, potentially setting a website back without any hope for recovery. Focusing too much on either SEO or web design is the textbook definition of putting all your eggs in one basket.

The solution to the problem seems obvious enough: don’t focus on either SEO or web design at the expense of the other. This is easier said than done, however. As we have mentioned, the web is full of articles which glorify the two as the be-all end-all solution to all your digital marketing needs. This brings us to the main point of this article. Namely, we have attempted to provide a more balanced view of how SEO and web design should be implemented for the best possible results. To find out more about the pitfalls of focusing too much on either SEO or web-design, as well as how to adopt a more measured approach to digital marketing which includes both in equal measure, please keep on reading.

Focusing Too Much On SEO

Common wisdom (and some websites as well) dictates that you can never have too much SEO. After all, the goal of optimization is to have the best possible search engine rankings, so why would you ever stop trying to do it? In reality, it is quite easy to go overboard with your optimization efforts. The prime example would be the usage of so-called ‘black-hat’ SEO. These tactics work by exploiting known loopholes in search-engine behavior to acquire an unfair advantage. Unfortunately for would-be black-hat operatives, search engine providers such as Google severely penalize this kind of exploitative practices.

SEO, search engine optimization, seo scrabble pieces

Another way in which optimization can go too far is through the neglect of quality content. A web-page can be optimized to the point of perfection, but without quality content to keep the user engaged, it will be something like a blank canvas hoisted at the Louvre. Everyone will be drawn to it, but that hardly matters if they bounce immediately afterward.

Focusing Too Much On Web Design

Some readers might remember what the web looked back in the days of Web 2.0. Basically, you had blocks of text, a navigation menu, some pictures, and that was it. Needless to say, the majority of websites weren’t much too look at; a lot of them never attracted an audience besides the friends and family of the developer. With the adoption of web-based technologies such as CSS and JavaScript, it became possible to create state-of-the-art websites with comparatively little effort. The downside to this was a kind of race as to who could create a better-looking website, a tendency which became more extreme over the years. This lead to the creation of websites which were all style and no substance, i.e. pretty to browse around for a while, but ultimately useless to the consumer.

This newfound focus on aesthetics also incurred a price in functionality. The prime offenders here are websites which have so many embedded images, video, complex scripts, etc. that they take forever to load. Design for design’s sake is ultimately a dead-end in development, at least until speed and functionality remain a concern.

A Balanced Approach To Digital Marketing

We have seen how going too far in either direction can have negative consequences for the online performance of a website. A more balanced approach is what is needed to reap the benefits of both SEO and web design. A good starting point for approaching a website development strategy is to start the core functionality of a website, and the then find a way to enhance it through effective design and optimization. The alternative would be to hire professional digital marketers to find and implement a balanced strategy for you. That way you won’t get distracted by the myriad of available tactics and practices which are constantly being promoted.

Let’s take an example of an e-commerce website for online courses. In terms of SEO, the site can be optimized for numerous related keywords (both regular and long-tail), but in practice, it would be better to focus on just a few relevant ones. As for design, there is the option to develop for both mobile and desktop platforms, but in actuality, the service being offered is much more likely to be used from the comfort of a home PC. In other words, instead of targeting every platform and keyword, a balanced digital marketing approach would dictate to leverage only those which provide the most benefit for the least investment in resources. This saves both time and effort and ensures that neither SEO nor web design are taken to the extreme.

 

Author Bio: Chloe Smith is a business consultant for GWM, a cycling enthusiast, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).

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