Improve your SEO with an inspiring web design in 2017

Web design and SEO are often seen as separate entities under which SEO experts focus on keyword research, metatags, content writing and building quality backlinks. Even if these are elements that are indisputably essential to any SEO campaign (Google says content and links are the first elements that determine the positioning of websites), having an inspiring web design will also allow you to improve your SEO; in the best case, your SEO and your web design will complement each other.

Google RankBrain In 2015, Google introduced a new algorithm named Google RankBrain, designed to manage the 15% unique searches that the search engine receives. RankBrain has rapidly gained prominence and is now the third largest positioning factor in Google. RankBrain, an artificial intelligence algorithm, alters the weight of other algorithms over time to give more importance to others than to others. It also identifies important keywords for longer questions or search terms to “understand” the questions and answer them as accurately as possible. From 2011 to January 2017, Google bought 12 companies specialized in artificial intelligence, including DeepMind in 2014 for a sum of about $ 400 million. Given the speed with which RankBrain, from its introduction, has become the third most important factor in Google’s search engine ranking, as well as the amount invested by Google in artificial intelligence, the trend in the use of AI can only be continue in 2017.

How will artificial intelligence affect how Google measures web design?

At present, Google directly measures several components of web design (detailed later in this article) but can not directly measure the overall quality. Simply put, Google can not tell if a site is superb or awful. To judge, it relies on feedback from users. For example, if too many visitors to your site quickly press the "back" button and then go to a competitor site in search results, the positioning of your site will fall.

A website with an inspiring design will hold your visitors' attention, encourage them to stay on your site longer, generate more sharing and reduce the bounce rate. The indirect measurement of these factors by Google will cause the gradual ascent of your site in the search results.

When looking at an image (or a website) one immediately judges the visual attractiveness, probably without knowing exactly the factors involved. Artificial intelligence is very similar to this unconscious decision-making process. RankBrain analyzes at least 2000 factors to decide which site to submit first. Google is also investing heavily in image recognition technologies and may already know what most images represent.

It's only a matter of time before Google merges its RankBrain technology with its image recognition technology and starts making SEO-related judgments about the visual appeal of websites and the relevance of the images , rather than relying solely on feedback from users. This could change the following aspects of SEO:
The sites that present a quality design will be immediately favored when put on line. The presence of images deemed relevant, based on the image itself rather than the ALT tag, will be a positioning factor. ALT tags should describe the images more precisely (in line with their original purpose), rather than just for SEO purposes. Google could introduce a penalty for misleading images (for example, if you use an image from an image bank that appears on other sites with different names for an author profile, it is possible , Google already does). Google could add features like "Buy by Image", allowing you to upload an image of the product you want to buy (the "Search by Image" feature is already available). Adaptive web design in 2017 Google is already able to determine whether a website is suitable for mobile devices or not and favors those that present a user-friendly mobile design to visitors from mobile devices. Google recently announced the division of the index between mobile users and desktop users in 2017, suggesting that adaptive websites will be even more popular in the future, and that the user experience ( via time spent on site, bounce rate, etc.) will be measured separately for visitors from mobile devices and visitors who use a desktop computer. Having an adaptive website will be even more important in the future. Users of mobile devices account for more than 50% of web traffic on average, and it is unclear whether Google will divide the results or use only the mobile version of the sites for their global indexing. This means that if you are not currently showing parts of your site to mobile users, you may need to reconsider your approach, otherwise your site will not be indexed by search engines.
In the same vein, since January 10, 2017, Google penalizes sites for the use of pop-up or "interstitial" windows. This also affects sites where the top half of the page is dominated by the equivalent of an interstitial, even if it is not a pop-up. This does not affect pop-ups that display legal information about cookies, age restrictions, and so on. Currently, many sites use a pop-up to request the e-mail address of visitors for their subscription to the newsletter. If this is the case for your site, replace the pop-up with a smaller subscription request option to even the site in order to comply with the best SEO practices of 2017. What are the other measures directly done by Google? Google SEO Analysis In addition to the indirect measurement of bounce rate and duration of visits, Google measures several aspects of web design that have a direct impact on your SEO. Using images and videos A study carried out by Backlinko shows that web pages that present at least one image or videos tend to be better positioned than those from which these obvious visual elements are absent.
Site Speed

If your site is slow, Google is likely to penalize it. The quicker your site, the better the user experience and the better your SEO will be.

There are different ways to improve the speed of your site, including:

Make sure to resize the images to the correct size before putting them online. Many sites use html and CSS to resize images; this may mean that an image measures 1000px x 1000px but only appears in 300px x 300px. Resizing images will greatly reduce the download speed.
Compress images and CSS files.
Remove any unnecessary code.
Do not use too many advertisements.
Switch to a faster host.
Websites in Flash

Flash is not compatible with Apple's mobile devices and Google struggles to do indexing; so avoid websites in Flash. If you want to create similar effects, use JavaScript, HTML5, or animated GIFs instead.

A user-friendly link structure

In the same way that backlinks from other sites play an important role in SEO, the internal links of your main menu or your footer menu are of great benefit. You should not consider your main landing pages as separate entities that only count for SEO purposes but include them in the overall template of your site so that each page will return to your most important landing pages.

The Google User Guidelines also tell manual reviewers to better mark sites that have clearly visible links to an "About" page and a "Contact Us" page.

Content "above the fold"

Google places more emphasis on content that is immediately visible when a site is loaded (before the page runs), and penalizes excessively loaded websites in advertisements, especially if the ads take precedence over the rest of the content this is also true for sites that use Google AdSense).

When Google starts to process the mobile version of the sites as a primary index, it is likely that the content "above the fold" refers to content on a mobile device, not on a desktop computer: so check mobile display also!
Text hidden or difficult to read

Google expects sites to present their textual content in a clearly visible manner; if you hide links or words from the text by making them too small to be read or by any other means, you may be penalized by Google.

While Google Glass and other devices designed to display moving websites are growing and gaining popularity, having an easy-to-read website will become even more important. To achieve this :

Use a font size of at least 16px
Use good contrast between font color and background
Use lots of white space
Other ways to create an inspiring design

Having an inspiring web design has many advantages over many plans.

So how do we get there?

Choice of colors

Choice of colors for your website

Choose a palette of colors according to the general theme of your site:

Green is a calming and soothing color, adapted to sites focused on nature and health.
Blue is the color of community and trust, often used by banks, insurance companies and social networking sites (it's no coincidence that Facebook and Twitter have a blue logo).
Red are often used with energy and passion and are very popular on lingerie and car sites.
White symbolizes purity and is a good choice for sites rich in images that you want to attract the attention of visitors rather than the background.
It is better to choose a color that will inspire your target audience and complement the overall impression that you want to communicate with your product or service. Avoid using more than one or two dominant colors on your website or logo, unless you mean "We do everything"; which is why the Google logo is multicolored.
International attraction Most sites target an international audience; whether they like it or not, many webmasters realize that a significant percentage of their traffic comes from other countries. When designing a site for an international audience, do your utmost to check if the colors you use and the symbolism of your logo or header are appropriate for different countries (it is also important that your domain name works in several languages, but that's another story!).
Plan Your SEO

There will always be elements of an important web site for SEO; when you create a website, it is important to make sure to include all the essential elements like:

A main menu
A title h1 for each page (the main visible title of the page)
A design that is flexible enough to allow editors to write as much content as they want for each page
Footer links
All other blocks or navigation options you want
The most important keywords on your website should even appear once or twice in the layout. This ensures that visitors know what your site is returning and that your most important keywords appear on each page.

A note on the splash screens

International Cover Page

The cover page is perhaps one of the most widely contested aspects of web design between SEO experts and graphic designers. It is usually composed of a single background image with a "Go to Site" message but no other content. This is detrimental to SEO because:

Search engines need enough information to know what is the subject of a page. The lack of information means that the page has no subject!
If you send only one page back from your cover page (your real home page), you reduce the benefit of the links to your site so that you do not appear as high as if you deleted your cover page and go directly to a standard homepage.
They are not user-friendly. Most people hate the front pages; even if designers adore them, an average of 25% to 30% of visitors to your site will not go beyond the splash screen but will click "back" and go to see elsewhere.
Increase conversion by improving design Having textual content and quality backlinks will always be essential for SEO, but having an inspiring web design will also earn you tremendous benefits: not only to increase conversion among visitors to your site but also to improve your position with Google users and other search engines before they even arrive on your site. As Google's intelligence grows, in 2017 and beyond, the benefits of an inspiring design will be felt more and more; so it's worth making your site's graphic design an essential part of your SEO strategy.