Web Design Trends that Can Hurt Your Search Rankings

Web Design Trends that Can Hurt Your Search Rankings

Web design plays a crucial role in search rankings as it affects both user experience and the technical aspects of SEO. A well-designed website can improve site speed, enhance usability, and ensure mobile responsiveness, all of which are factors that search engines like Google consider when ranking sites. 


Thankfully, you can do that by investing in well-rounded SEO software. These software solutions come with website audit tools that help detect SEO issues often introduced during a website redesign or due to following specific web design trends.


Similarly, you can use these platforms to check on-page SEO, which helps highlight problems with page experience and usability. However, finding the best tool requires some effort, and you can always begin by analyzing and comparing SEO software and tools at https://top10seosoftware.com/reviews/. Remember, designers can create websites that look great and perform well in search engine results by balancing aesthetics with functionality and SEO considerations.


That said, having a better idea of what design trends should be avoided when focusing on improving your rankings is essential. For instance:

Web design from Pixabay


1. Flashy but Slow Design Elements

Going with a flashy page is among the website design mistakes to avoid at all costs.


Full HD produces glorious images that would be the perfect welcome on a homepage. However, it would be at the expense of performance. It is the poor performance that negatively impacts ranking in several ways.

The Impact of Heavy Graphics and Animations on Page Load Speed

Flashy design elements like large images, as well as animations, carousels, videos, and sliders, significantly affect load speed. The less-than-ideal user experience is revealed in increased bounced rates (BR) as users don’t wait for pages to load and move on.


Search engines, particularly Google, prioritize fast-loading sites, positioning them higher on their SERPs. On average, websites take about 3.21 seconds to load, but those on the first page of SERPs take only 1.65 seconds. Their lower BR and fast load times signal the likelihood of a better user experience.


Meanwhile, those who follow the flashy but slow web design trends see their visibility quickly reduced, hurting their SEO and negatively impacting organic traffic flow.  

Balancing Aesthetics with Performance for Improved User Experience and SEO

Although flashy design elements have visual appeal, they are pointless if they affect the good running of the site. But it doesn’t mean you end up with a dull, boring site.


Good SEO web design works on maintaining a sensible balance between aesthetics and functionality, always prioritizing the best user experience.

A site can still use complex animations, large images, and elaborate graphics by


  • Optimizing images and graphics by compressing file sizes
  • Using efficient coding
  • Minimizing resource-heavy animations


2. Overuse of Non-SEO-Friendly Technologies

While you can sometimes get away with using some non-SEO-friendly technologies, going overboard is a sure way to kill your rankings. For instance:

Relying on JavaScript for Critical Content

Java script from Pixabay

JavaScript has been a favorite among designers for a while, but it has downsides.


It is perfect for dynamic script loading, interactive features, and animations. However, overused, it impacts search engines’ crawlability and indexing capacity. Crawlers struggle with parsing its content, leaving the indexing incomplete or missing. Embedded keywords get missed, lowering visibility and rankings.

Balancing Modern Design with Search Engine Crawlability and Indexing

You have to look for the right balance when going for modern design. The overreliance on non-SEO technologies, such as JavaScript or Flash, hurts SEO. With their overuse, although a site looks good, it neglects its positions. These non-SEO-friendly technologies present far fewer opportunities for optimization to attract search engine crawlers.


3. Excessive Reliance on Images and Minimal Text

Images may attract users, but search engines rely on text. Search engines understand sites by examining their textual content. This makes the quality of textual content a critical ranking factor.

The Importance of Textual Content for Search Engine Understanding

Search engines use the textual content of sites to help them understand a page’s topic and assess its relevance to a search inquiry. Consequently, image-heavy pages don’t tend to rank well. The search engine isn’t given vital information about the content, and since the images have no context, it can’t index or rank them.

Balancing Visual Appeal with SEO-friendly Content Structure

Website design for SEO includes visual elements that enhance its appeal but work to balance it against the requirements of SEO. To ensure search engines have a higher chance of discovering their sites, designers reduce file sizes, keeping load speed rates high. They also take an SEO-friendly approach to how they structure content. This includes,


  • naming images descriptively
  • using alt text to make the site more accessible
  • signaling content hierarchy with scaled headings


4. Poorly Designed Navigation and Site Structure

Bad navigation significantly impacts the user experience. More than 60% of users cite issues with navigation as their reason for leaving a site. If left unchecked, confusing navigation is an issue that will raise BR so that, it impacts ranking.

The Impact of Confusing Navigation on User Experience and SEO.

Poorly designed navigation quickly increases the bounce rate, a key ranking indicator for search engines. To them, a high BR signals that users are dissatisfied with the site. It may be a content issue, but if the navigation is off, they can’t find what they are looking for.


Either way, if a user needs help navigating a site, the search engine crawlers will struggle, too. It leads to poor indexing and lower search positions, further frustrating SEO efforts.

Balancing Creative Design with an Intuitive and SEO-friendly Site Structure

Once again, it is about balancing innovative design visuals and effective SEO. Easy, clear navigation has to be a priority. It’s essential to the user experience and includes:


  • Organizing content into logical categories and sub-categories
  • Using descriptive headers
  • Providing clear and easy-to-use navigation menus

5. Infinite Scroll and Pagination Issues

Infinite scroll and pagination are two ways to add content. Each has an impact on SEO.


Infinite scroll works automatically to load new content as a user scrolls down. It saves on clicks. However, crawlers rely on these links and follow them to discover the site’s content. Since they don’t scroll, content not on the initial page gets missed.


The pagination uses discreet pages. Each one has its URL. The method creates a structure search engines find easier. Although pagination is better for the crawlers, it presents problems if the links are not labeled clearly or there is no way to go from page to page.

6. Inadequate Attention to Accessibility

Your website should be accessible to all, so accessibility is a critical element of good design. Websites that ignore user needs risk excluding significant numbers of people, limiting their reach and engagement. Without an inclusive design, a website can fall behind in the rankings.

Ensuring an Inclusive Design Approach for Better Search Rankings

Inclusive design makes a site accessible to anyone. Search engines give these sites priority. The sites benefit from increased engagement and, indirectly, from improved SEO.


By meeting user needs, websites can

  • Attract larger audiences
  • Increase engagement
  • Enjoy better indexing
  • Send positive signals to achieve a higher ranking


7. Lack of Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness is crucial for SEO performance. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its rankings, and over 63% of organic search visits now come from mobile devices. A lack of mobile responsiveness can lead to high bounce rates and missed opportunities.  


To implement a mobile-friendly design, consider the following steps:

  • Ensure your website adjusts to different screen sizes, providing a consistent user experience.
  • Improve your site’s load time, as it’s a crucial part of the mobile experience.
  • Design your website with mobile devices in mind, then scale up to larger screens.
  • Consider accessibility needs from the beginning, ensuring an inclusive experience for all users.
  • Maintain a consistent theme across different devices to provide a familiar user experience.


Remember, a mobile-friendly website enhances user experience and improves search engine rankings, increasing online visibility.


Final Thoughts

Creativity is essential in establishing a unique and memorable brand identity, and it plays a crucial role in capturing users’ attention and providing an engaging experience. However, without considering SEO best practices, even the most creative and visually appealing website may not be discovered by people. That is why it makes sense to invest in an SEO software solution to be on top of all SEO trends and know what may or may not help your search rankings improve.


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Web Trends that Can Hurt Your Search Rankings

If you found this post useful you might like to read these post about Graphic Design Inspiration.


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