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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