Why Amazing Design is Great For SEO

Aug 6, 2012   //   by Matt Beswick   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  38 Comments

Innovative and creative design is a terrific way to increase user engagement and attract backlinks in the process. All too often, SEO practitioners get caught up in the more technical aspects of link building and forget about the aesthetic appeal of the pages they’re promoting. Though substance will always inevitably trump style, attractive web design can go a long way towards generating organic backlinks. Here a few of the more popular ways to leverage web design for greater link juice.

Parallax Design

The famous Nike Better World website from a few years back was largely responsible for popularising the use of parallax design. For the uninitiated, parallax scrolling entails varying the speed at which web page elements fly by as a visitor browses a page. Belting out a solid parallax scrolling web layout is quite easy and such designs can be customised quickly to add your own personal flair. You can vary the scroll speed and implement multiple CSS backgrounds to stand out.

Stellar 1-Page Websites

Modern websites have become so complex that a CMS is usually a must nowadays to keep everything straight. However, 1-page sites for portfolios, announcements and AJAX-dependent interactive web apps still have their place. While crafting a standalone 1-page website that leaves a lasting impression is a challenge, it’s well worth the effort. Minimalist web design is always tricky to pull off, but it has the advantage of focusing the reader’s attention on one specific topic. You can only cram so much information onto one page, so a quality 1-page site will have to be judicious when it comes to selecting the right images and information to present.

Infographics

As a longtime Web 2.0 favourite, the versatile infographic has been a powerful way to build backlinks. Everybody loves an infographic – I know this from personal experience – and it’s never been easier to slap together a quality composition. The best infographics tell a story with a few statistics and some subtle graphics that can be digested at a glance. Much like a collage, an infographic that’s successful relies heavily on choosing the right constituent elements. Best of all, there are tons of free tools available online such as Visual.ly and Piktochart for building infographics that’ll truly impress readers.

Interactive Infographics

Static infographics are all well and good, but interactive infographics are an even better way to draw in viewers and get backlinks. More and more, interactive elements are being incorporated into infographics for greater user interaction and value. Web apps like Vizify and Infogr.am make crafting an interactive infographic a cakewalk. Interactive data visualisation is going to be the wave of the future, so you might as well hop on the bandwagon now and get a leg up on the competition.

Competition Breeds Excellence and Backlinks

Flexing your design muscles and showing off your skills in a non-commercial venue is a great way to raise your profile and get some link love from your peers. Publishing guest posts on design sites like Noupe, Smashing Magazine and Tuts+ is the smart way to boost web design “street cred” and gain backlinks to your work. CSS competitions are another fantastic avenue for establishing yourself as an expert and obtaining links naturally for SEO purposes.

Putting It In Perspective

It should be stressed that even the most amazing web design won’t disguise lame content that’s devoid of value. Make your infographics accurate, helpful and gorgeous at the same time. When entering competitions and writing blog posts, don’t be overly promotional and transparent about your ulterior backlink-building motives. Give your time, effort and expertise freely, and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. More often than not, eye-catching web design can end up being one of the most effective link building techniques at your disposal.

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Matt Beswick

Matt Beswick is UK based SEO Consultant and founder of Pet365. Find him on Twitter - @mattbeswick.

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  • David
    Twitter:
    says:

    Well, I agree that “substance will always inevitably trump style”, so I don’t worry about fancy design. However, if design is crap, that will scare people away. Design and SEO is a lot like money and happiness. It does take some money to be happy, but there comes a point where amassing more money won’t make a big difference in happiness. It does take some good design to be credible, but (unless you are offering design services) there comes a point where getting even fancier won’t make a big difference in SEO.

  • Matt Beswick says:

    Hi David,

    That’s very true, but we are now at the point where you need to do something outstanding for it to be effective as a marketing tool. ‘Good enough’ web design doesn’t win awards, and average infographics pick up a few links but are generally disregarded. Investing the extra time (and cash) into doing something great makes a huge difference to how well received these kinds of things are…

    Matt

  • Tom Shivers says:

    I agree that user experience impacts SEO today, Google’s algo measures overall site usability; I’ve seen old sites that get a cool new design jump in the rankings.

    One thing I wish more designers would focus on is conversion based design… very few even know what it is.

  • Kelly Evans says:

    The web design is very important for the success of the website. The design must be fresh and pleasing. Although there are several others points that go a long way in making a website more successful, you will always have to start by paying attention to its visual appearance.

  • reese says:

    A great design doesn’t necessarily mean a fancy and grandiose design. It just means that it is fairly eye-catching, pleasant to look at, easy to read and easy to navigate. If you have great content, a cheap-looking, hastily done website is going to make people balk. Your message will be lost.

  • Nicole says:

    I agree, good design is really imporant to SEO. It’s also important to keeping the readers that stumble across your site. I’ve left plenty of sites with great content because they had that horrible white text on black background, or because I just couldn’t navigate through all the clutter. I’ve stayed on so-so sites simply because it was so well designed that it was a pleasure to read.

  • Hi David,

    True enough that content is king for SEO – but it will be more effective with great and jaw-dropping web designs. These two should compliment each other to attract more traffic and increase the number of return customers.

    I do hope some false knowledge about web design techniques (like Parallax Scrolling) are hindering SEO fruition are put to a rest…

  • D. Maak
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Matt,

    You’re absolutely right. I love great design and graphics. I also agree that great design will never trump great content, but I think a lot of people don’t take advantage of combining great content with great design. Instead, it seems like graphics get a bad rap for slowing your site and stuff like that. I think attractive design is becoming more and more important if you really want to stand out and it’s an easy way to attract a viewer’s attention instantly.

  • linda says:

    ya you are right , the first impression is the best impression and that comes only when the site/blog looks attractive so Design is really needed in the field of SEO and i don’t say only Design is needed , it is needed along with the useful content and your article states the real importance of design ….nice write up

  • Raj
    Twitter:
    says:

    I agree with your point in -to- to that for the successful business a very nice built and presentable web site .I also have a web site and know that now a days max no. of seo using spam for getting huge traffic like black hat technique and forgetting the quality of site design.

  • Ray says:

    Every now and then I still come across a fancy flash programmed web site. It does look nice aside from a little slow loading, but I thought most people abandoned flash sites years ago. I like a well designed web site with nice images and graphics providing it’s not super slow.

  • Kristine says:

    Thanks for this concise yet comprehensive post, I agree that you can never go wrong with quality content plus a remarkable design. I specifically enjoy infographics and sites that are streamlined and easy to navigate.

  • Joy says:

    The aesthetic appeal of a website is also an important factor I consider as a reader. Thanks for sharing!

  • biobank says:

    I agree, good design is really imporant to SEO. It’s also important to keeping the readers that stumble across your websites. I’ve left plenty of sites with utterly totally great content because they had that gross white text on black background, or because I just couldn’t navigate through all the clutter. I’ve stayed on so-so sites simply because it was so well designed that it was a pleasure to read.

  • mohit rajwani
    Twitter:
    says:

    when i started my blog, then my blog design was not such good and it was not helping me after 1 month i purchased a template for my blog and now my blog is growing..you are right you require a good design..:) :) :)

  • Adam C. says:

    That’s so true. I think a well designed site creates a feel of authority, which in turn makes people to come back to the site. It also adds trustworthiness to the resource, and so people are more inclined to link to it.

  • Leif Lynch says:

    The great benefit of having a website designed professionally is that you can find new customers and improve your business an impressive way. Since professional web designers build sites while paying attention to SEO rules, you see your site doing well in search engine results pages. This in turn helps you enjoy better ranking and greater visibility.

  • The web design is vital for the rank and success of the web presence. The craftmanship must be fresh and pleasing. Although there are several others points that go a long way in making a web portal more successful, you will always have to get going by paying attention to its visual appearance.

  • Since professional web designers build sites while paying attention to SEO rules, you see your site doing well in search engine results pages. This in turn helps you enjoy better ranking and greater visibility. This improvement in ranking and visibility allows you to enjoy more traffic, which can be converted into regular buyers.

  • Laura Parker says:

    JavaScript is one of the first tools required in SEO web designing basics. Treading carefully is very important as anytime this technology is touched and used in the web designing.

  • your article is very much effective and informative.

  • ronny says:

    These SEO designs are really good and i love it so much . Charity Ft. Lauderdale Feeding the Homeless Broward County

  • Mohammad
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey,

    I agree with you that the beautiful design of site will obviously increase the rank of the site.

    Thanks,
    Mohammad

  • Hi Matt,

    This post is great. I like it a lot because I love and respect creativity. If adding some designs make your blogs look different from the ones of your competitors, you should go for it. The cartoon about trained dogs is interesting though it made me have a hearty laugh. Creativity adds to your efforts in the form of designs and the likes.

    Regards,

    Rajkumar

  • Sanjib Saha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Matt,

    This post is very interesting. Being creative is an added advantage which can help in making your blog look special. The cartoon on Canines is really intriguing. Designs are obviously a flavour added to our work. Your blogs will have an advantage over others with these animations.
    Love this post.

    Regards,
    Sanjib

  • Mark Brook
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice post yes design have there impressions on every costumer or visitor and its also help in optimizing of web site as in web designing we use term to make a web site design SEO friendly.
    As I have experienced with design changes and there effects and some time changes help you and some time its not but always try my best.
    In the end I have to say I have learn and get many advices from this article thank you for sharing.

  • I guess interactive infographics are the best way to get every viewer’s attention. In this case, you could convince them to participate in each activity that could benefit you at present or maybe in the future.

  • Priya Roy says:

    The aesthetic appeal of a website is also an important factor I consider as a reader. Thanks for sharing!

  • biobank says:

    I agree, good design is really imporant to SEO. It’s also important to keeping the readers that stumble across your web portals. I’ve left plenty of sites with totally classy content because they had that grim white text on black background, or because I just couldn’t navigate through all of the clutter. I’ve stayed on so-so sites simply because it was so well designed that it was a pleasure to read.

  • Cannon says:

    This post is very interesting. Being creative is an added advantage which can help in making your blog look special. And the pics are amazing looking

  • Abhishek says:

    A attractive and well designed website surely goes a long way and there are a number of case studies which confirms this. I agree many of us compromise with the look and feel of the website just to ensure SEO aspects are in place without even realizing that it can prove to be negative….thanks for this wonderful article.

  • This post is great. I like it a lot because i adore and respect creativity. If adding some designs make your blogs look alternative from the ones of your competitors, you should go for it. The cartoon about trained dogs is interesting though it made me have a hearty laugh. Creativity adds to your efforts in the form of designs and the likes.

  • a superb design doesn’t necessarily mean a fancy and grandiose design. It just means that it is fairly eye-catching, pleasant to look at, easy to read and easy to navigate. If you have exceptionally posh content, a affordable-looking, hastily done web presence is gonna make people balk. Your message will be lost.

  • Emilia says:

    You couldn’t have said it better– A remarkably designed blog is a critical element in ensuring its success. It definitely needs to be streamlined, organized and easy on the eyes. Including an infographic whenever possible is also a great way to capture the interest of readers. Thanks.

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