No one needs to be told that the world has almost become fully virtual. Unlike in the past, most organizations, businesses, and brands are now deeply rooted within the internet pages.
From the comfort of their homes, people shop for a lot of things through e-commerce websites, pay utility bills and do a host of other things on designated websites. According to Statista, there are over 4.5 billion internet users in the world at the moment. This means that having your brand in the right place on the internet will increase its visibility.
Setting your brand’s website apart from what others are doing requires a lot of effort. There are numerous ways to make your website stand out, including the design and layout. But then, for your website to get visitors despite its alluring nature, you’ll have to ensure it is rich in search engine optimization (SEO). This is where the connection between SEO and graphic design for websites lies.
Let’s explore the basics of SEO and graphic design and how you can use both skills to increase interaction on your website.
What Is SEO All About?
SEOs involves the process or techniques one employs to make one’s website rank higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and the likes, thereby attracting more visitors. There are numerous ways to achieve this. A website can be search engine optimized by carefully selecting keywords, tags, etc., to use, and even the design and layout matter. The focus of this piece is on the design.
It is no news that most people find new products and services by doing a simple Google search. This means SEO has become a vital part of today’s online marketing world. If you are looking for more visitors to your website to increase your brand’s visibility, SEO is something you cannot ignore. The knowledge of SEO also enables us to be able to communicate with users via graphics.
Graphic Design at a Glance
Graphic design is simply the process of communicating with the aid of visuals. It also encompasses solving problems through photography, typography, and illustration. Graphic design is the translation of text forms into graphic format.
Graphic Design and SEO
Having discussed the basics of SEO and graphic design, let’s briefly look at how these two correlate. The link between SEO and graphic design can be categorized into three key points, which are:
1. User Interface (UX)
Undoubtedly, both SEO and graphic design are aimed at enhancing the user experience. The UX affects factors such as engagement, conversion, and bounce rates, among others, which sum up to give your site the desired results. Seeking to address user experience based on design criteria such as user-friendliness, simplicity, and ease of navigation, while designing a site also benefits SEO.
Assaf Cohen who runs gaming site Solitaire Bliss, explains, “We redesigned and improved the UX of our solitaire games with the goal of getting more users to start and finish them. Doing this not only improved our bounce rate, but we found that our SERP results improved because search engines recognized users wanted to stay on our site.”
2. The Site’s Structure and Accessibility
Similarly, SEO and graphic design are interwoven regarding a site’s structure and accessibility. The site’s structure enhances the user experience. While accessibility, on the other hand, rests on SEO, looking through the lens of design, as it consists of color choices, texts and headers, and keyboard-friendliness.
Both SEO and graphic design are linked together when it comes to how a website is mobile-friendly. Designing a website to be mobile-friendly guarantees its responsiveness and, in turn, benefits its SEO.
Eight SEO Rules All Graphic Designers Must Know
If you are searching for basic SEO rules to help you design and create user-oriented graphics, this piece has got you covered. Below are eight SEO rules to keep in mind as a graphic designer:
1. Design for Humans
The fact that SEO works based on algorithms does not mean that the visitors of your site will be bots and not humans. Most often than not, people are too conscious of these algorithms when designing a site, and one wonders if the site is meant for bots. As important as SEO is, designers should place potential customers first. Use funnel templates to group your audience into different categories to have an idea of the kind of users that visit your website. The site’s graphics should be tailored to meet the visitors’ expectations. One of the ways graphic designers can achieve that is by designing the site in such a way that visitors can easily navigate it.
The graphic design team at SEO proposal understands how important it is to produce engaging content for your business. As such, they’re always on the lookout for new trends in SEO techniques and designs that will help you get ahead online.
2. Include visuals
It is no secret that the brain processes visual information faster than text. If you want a site to be captivating, inserting visuals is your best bet. A few tips to follow when designing and inserting visuals include:
- Avoiding using bright colors
- Using infographics as they’re better than bulky content
- Using a Gantt chart software
- Inserting more arrows and lines to sustain users’ attention
- Inserting photographs
- Ensuring that the visuals communicate the appropriate messages
3. Images Must Be Mobile-Friendly
Over 90 percent of internet users use mobile devices to surf the web. The same study found that mobile internet traffic constitutes not less than 55 percent of the whole web traffic across the globe. According to Statista, about 72.9 percent of the total online sales in 2021 were through mobile channels. That shows people tend to patronize products and services with their mobile devices. These are sufficient reasons why, if you want to grow your brand, you cannot afford not to make your website mobile-friendly.
With the ever-increasing percentage of people who access the web with mobile devices, focusing on mobile graphics makes your brand’s website stand out among others. But, designing for a smaller screen, such as mobile devices, can be cumbersome as there’s little space to communicate your points accordingly. The task of impressing the users here is no piece of cake as the screen is small.
However, a few trends in mobile-first design that can help you include real photographs, geometric shapes, emotion-filled colors, and light and dark contrast colors. Hand-drawn illustrations, as well as abstract patterns, are also preferred.
4. Readability and Scannability
According to Statista, about 2 billion websites are currently on the internet. This means internet users are bombarded with tons of websites daily. Many designers fail to remember that most internet users have no luxury of time to read the loads of content they come across daily from these websites littered all over the internet.
These busy internet users can’t just afford the time to read the copies on your website word for word. This is where the design comes in. How your site is designed will determine whether the users will decide to sacrifice a couple of minutes to read through the contents to properly understand your business. Pieces of content like images, animations, or videos can be instrumental in this cause.
If your brand’s website must hold visitors’ attention for a long time, it should be scannable. Scannability is simply how the site’s contents are presented to help users effortlessly scan through them. According to one study, 79 percent of users only skim your website.
The same study established that about 84 percent of first-time visitors scan through your brand’s website before reading to ascertain if it’s worth their time or not. Now, you see why you must not joke with scannability, a measure of web usability.
The way to take advantage of this knowledge is to design your site so that users scan the webpage. The patterns include the Z pattern, the Zig-zag pattern and the F pattern, which is the most common. The Z Pattern is a type of user eye scanning pattern on the webpage, which is rarely used unless there’s not a lot of content.
The Zig-zag pattern, on the other hand, gives room for the designer to insert content and visuals while on track with the user’s eye scanning behavior. The F-pattern is widely used because it gives more room for the contents than the other types. The bottom line is, if users can easily scan your site, they will spend more time on it and read up on your brand. This is the simple link between scannability and readability.
5. Looks Aren’t the Most Important
While it is necessary and a good thing for your site to be visually appealing, it’s worthy of note that looks aren’t everything. It is no news that tons of unattractive websites belong to successful businesses. This shows that looks aren’t the main determinant of sales. A website introduces the user to the brand and points out the relevant information to the visitor.
This is no way to say that the design of your site shouldn’t look good, but if you ever have to decide between looks and functionality, it’s best to go for the latter, as users mostly don’t mind the look of a website as long as they can get the necessary information. So, don’t prioritize looks over everything else.
6. You Can’t Cheat the Algorithms
A common mistake many designers make is attempting to cheat SEO algorithms. Little did they know that a company like Google employs capable hands, people who are experts in their various fields, to ensure the SEO algorithms aren’t bypassed. At all costs, avoid taking shortcuts for your benefit. Your focus should be on designing quality websites and writing great copy. And in due time, your site will rank highly. Trying to cheat the process will most likely not get you anywhere.
A favicon is simply an icon peculiar to a particular brand and its website. It can be found in the browser’s address bar or next to the website name. A favicon is important when designing a website because it lets users easily tell the difference between your site and others opened in different tabs of the same browser.
When designing a favicon, there are simple rules one has to adhere to for it to be memorable. These include:
- You don’t necessarily need a complex design; a letter or the brand’s icon will suffice.
- Try to keep it as simple and easily recognizable as possible.
- Make it sharp and clear.
8. Human Psychology
The success of a design is a measure of how the targeted audience reacts to it. This is why it’s necessary to have some basic knowledge about the human psyche when designing that website. If you want to make the right impact, you should try to understand the thought patterns of your target audience. Will the audience like this? This is a basic question you should endeavor to answer. The good news is that human psychology does not even change every now and then like industry trends.
Through time, it has been shown that people will always enjoy captivating stories. However, there’s a paradigm shift as regards the form. These days, people enjoy stories in a visual format more than their written counterparts. Your task as a graphic designer is to figure out the thought patterns of your targeted audience while ensuring that you’re up to date with industry trends and styles. While doing SEO graphics, try as much as possible to connect with the human mind on the other side of your screen. Only then will you achieve the desired results.
Every graphic designer whose focus is to reach the peak of his career and leave footprints in the field must make it necessary for his designs to be laced with the creativity it requires and the right SEO techniques. And, there shouldn’t be any deviation from the brand’s goal while trying to achieve all of that.
More than ever, the need for a brand’s website to be optimized to increase its appearance in relevant search results cannot be overemphasized, owing to the numerous competitors that spring up by the day. The graphic designer’s job remains to design the site in a way that gives it a good SEO ranking and makes it user-friendly, among other vital aspects covered in this piece, if the site must be at its vintage point among its equals.