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Everything you need to learn about SEO for web design to create a high-ranking website

SEO,web design,ranking,build a website,SEO and web design,everything you need to know,website that ranks,design with SEO,SEO-friendly web design,website design,website design with SEO,search engine,SEO in mind,need to know about SEO,UX and SEO
Are you working on your site’s SEO? Your web design plays an important role too!

Imagine you’re hosting a party at your house, and you want to make sure everything is perfect for your guests.

You wouldn’t just throw things together without any care, would you?

You’d plan the menu carefully, making sure to cater to different dietary needs and preferences of your guests.

From savory to sweet, from vegan to gluten-free, you’ll have something for everyone to enjoy.

Next, the ambiance. You’d arrange the furniture in a way that allows for everyone to chat and have a good time.

And of course, you’ll make sure your home is spick-and-span, with every surface gleaming and every corner bathed in a warm, welcoming glow.

(Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit.)

But when your guests arrive, you want them to feel instantly at ease, like they’ve stepped into a cozy oasis.

Just like planning the perfect party, designing a website that draws the attention of your visitors requires the same level of attention to detail.

Just as you want your guests to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves, you want website users to have a seamless, engaging experience that keeps them coming back for more.

But here’s something that often gets overlooked: web design plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO)—the secret sauce that helps your site rank higher in search results.

However, something that they don’t usually talk about is how web design plays a role in this optimization as well.

You see, web design isn’t just about creating an attractive website that represents your brand.

When we design websites for clients, our designers ensure that every element—from fast loading speeds to organized structure to intuitive navigation to accessibility—is optimized for search engines and users alike.

When you focus on SEO during the design and building process, you can improve website rankings, increase traffic, and enhance the user experience.

It’s like giving your online presence a virtual facelift, so it not only looks stunning but also performs without issues.

While we don’t build websites at Deer Designer, we have helped clients organize their websites and give them designs that make sense for their needs.

In this guide, we’ll talk about how SEO and web design work together to optimize your site’s performance.

These practical tips and tools will help you create websites that not only look great but also perform well, attracting and retaining visitors just like a successful party draws in happy guests.

How we design with SEO in mind

When designing websites, we always have search engine optimization in mind.

This means we design sites in an organized way that make it easier for search engines to crawl and index them.

We make sure that our designs allow the websites to perform well both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.

Here are some ways we do that:

SEO-friendly web design always thinks of image optimization

Images bring websites to life.

After all, nobody wants to read huge chunks of text.

Images are added to your site as banners, illustrations, galleries, etc. that break the monotony of the text content.

However, they can also slow down your site’s loading times if not properly optimized.

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Massive and unoptimized images load for longer and use more of your site’s bandwidth.

When you have too many photos or photos that are too large, they can load very slowly, which can make your site look broken.

If your site takes longer than 10 seconds to load, people might just click away and look for the information they need somewhere else.

Here are some strategies we use for optimizing images in design:

  • Compress Images

Large image files can significantly impact page load times.

Compressing images without sacrificing quality can help you maintain fast load speeds without compromising on experience.

  • Grouping elements together

Having multiple large images that overlap each other can take up your site’s bandwidth and make your site load slower.

Instead, design elements can be grouped together into a single compressed image.

  • Use the right file formats

Choosing the appropriate file format can make a big difference in image load times.

JPEGs are great for photographs, while PNGs are better for graphics with transparent backgrounds.

For high-quality images with small file sizes, consider using the WebP format, which offers superior compression.

Implementing a website design structure that search engines understand

Search engines like Google and Bing have crawlers that browse through your website’s data to see what your content is about.

From this data, they will judge whether your content is relevant to what people are searching for.

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Search engine crawlers inspect the data and content on your site to recommend you to their users.

This is why the structure of your website is important.

While we cannot create and edit your web content and its keywords for you, we can help you organize it.

Everything from your navigation to the headings and body text in your blog posts should be organized so these crawlers can understand your site better.

Clear navigation helps both users and search engines understand the site’s structure.

Here are some ways you can improve your site’s structure:

  • Create a sitemap

A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website, helping search engines find and index them.

Submitting a sitemap to search engines like Google can improve your site’s visibility.

As designers, we can’t build the sitemap for you, but content management systems (CMS) like WordPress can generate and submit these sitemaps automatically.

  • Create a breadcrumb navigation system

Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that show users their current location within the site’s hierarchy.

For the Deer Designer website, we have a simple navigation system.

When you are browsing through our blogs in the Deer Insights section, you know you are in one section of the website and that there are other sections you can browse, like our pricing, testimonials, sample works, and home page.

For more complicated sites with multiple sections and categories within these sections, a breadcumb navigation lets the user know where they are and what sections and categories this part of the site falls under.

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These breadcrumb navigations help users understand where they are on your page.

While these breadcrumbs can enhance the user experience, they also help search engines understand the structure of your site better.

Adding alternative (alt) text as part of your SEO strategy

You have to remember that search engine crawlers are bots, not actual people looking at your site.

While search engine crawlers can read the text and navigation on your site, they can’t understand images just yet.

If you have important information in your images, such as infographics and banners, these will not be read as part of your site.

This is where alt text comes into play.

Alt text is the description of an image that you add to help search engines understand what it is.

As designers, we can’t add this for you, but we can help you create banners and illustrations that you can describe easily.

It can be any simple phrase that describes the image or the text in it.

While it’s important to include keywords in your alt text, avoid overloading it with too many keywords.

Focus on providing a clear and concise description of the image instead.

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Here is an example of a simple alt text.

Other than improving your site’s crawlability, adding this description also improves accessibility for users with visual impairments.


They often use screen readers and voice assistants to describe what is on the website for them.

Like the search engine crawlers, these screen readers will read the alt text as part of the website.

How UX and SEO work together

Search engines want to give the best and most relevant information to their users.

This is why, other than design, user experience (UX) also affects your site’s SEO.
Search engines have metrics for page experience signals that evaluate the user experience of a webpage.

This considers your site’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.

When search engines like Google see that your site loads slower and does not engage your visitors, they may consider your content irrelevant and not feature you in the search engine results as often as your competitors.

While we cannot directly adjust the user experience, we can create a more engaging experience through design.

Designing an SEO-friendly website by optimizing loading speed

Yes, if your website loads faster and provides a better user experience, search engines will rank you higher in the search results.

This is why it’s important to make sure your images and website aren’t slowing down your loading speed.

Professional web designers know how to compress images and group design elements in images together so they can load more efficiently.

You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix issues affecting your site’s loading speed.

High-ranking websites have the best interactivity

Other than fast loading speeds, the content of your site should also be engaging enough to encourage your users to scroll through.

Instead of having a bulk of unbroken text, you can add dynamic design elements like images, galleries, sliders, and buttons that your users can interact with.

Professional web designers know how to organize content in a way that is more visually appealing and engaging.

Design a website to be mobile-friendly

As of 2024, most users around the world own and use a mobile device like a phone or tablet to browse the internet.

The desktops and laptops that dominated the early 2000s have now been overtaken and are only used for work or sending emails.

With the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it is important to keep your site mobile-friendly and functional.

Web designers now use responsive design that adjusts to any screen size the user is viewing your site on.

Whether that’s a laptop, phone, or tablet, it is going to retain the same functionality.

This process includes making sure that interactive elements like buttons and links are easily tappable on mobile devices.

Design elements shouldn’t be too close together to prevent accidental clicks.

Tips and tools: Everything you need to know about SEO in web design

Now that you know the basic practices to get your website optimized for search, you’ll need to know the tools to help you implement these practices.

Using SEO-friendly CMS platforms

As we mentioned earlier, CMS platforms like WordPress offer numerous plugins and tools to help optimize your site for search engines.

You can submit your sitemap to search engines, optimize your keywords, add alt text to images, and check your site’s performance on all of these platforms.

Conducting regular SEO ranking audits

Perform regular SEO audits to identify and fix any issues that may be affecting your site’s performance.

This includes checking for broken links, optimizing meta tags, and ensuring proper use of header tags.

Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help conduct in-depth SEO audits and track your site’s performance.

Collaborate with designers and developers

Your web designers and developers are your best assets in creating a new website that ranks on the search engine results page.

Work closely with web designers and developers to ensure that SEO best practices are integrated into your site’s design and code.

It is always best to leave the complex optimization processes to the professionals.

They can tweak your site’s code and design to help improve your site’s issues quickly and efficiently.

The best practices that combine website design with SEO

The website design process is more linked to SEO than people may think.

Web design and SEO work hand-in-hand to ensure the best user experience and crawlability for your site.

While you may be using good SEO practices in terms of text content like meta descriptions and keywords, you would still be ranked lower if you had poor web design and user experience.

Do you need help with web design and working with web designers?

We have a couple of guides that you might find useful:

➡️How to write a website design brief to keep your team aligned on your web design project

➡️5 good web design principles and examples for your web design inspo!

➡️Tips to design your website to convert visitors into customers: conversion-focused web design

Are you looking for a web design partner to help you design engaging websites?

Deer Designer has worked with hundreds of brands to boost their site’s visual impact and navigation.

Whether you’re a web developer, a creative agency, or a business looking to improve your online presence, we’re here to help you achieve your goals.

Book a client-fit call today!

Key takeaways

  • Instead of being separate steps in creating a website, SEO and web design actually work together to make your site rank well in search engines.
  • There are various ways that web designers work with SEO in mind, such as optimizing images for load times and organizing your site’s navigation.
  • Alt texts are important descriptions that describe your images and illustrations to search engine bots and website visitors using screen readers.
  • Search engines also rank your site by its user experience. By making your site design more interactive and engaging for your audience, you can potentially boost your SEO.
  • CMS platforms now have plugins that allow you to easily boost your SEO and design on one platform.
  • Your web designers and developers are your best asset to ensuring your site has strong SEO.