There are numerous factors Google looks at when determining where to rank a page. According to SEO expert Brian Dean, there are more than 200 different factors.
Domain name, backlinks and keywords are some of the more commonly known ranking signals. But it goes much deeper than that.
In fact, web design affects SEO in many ways. For this post, I’m going to highlight some specific elements of web design and how they impact SEO.
Page Load Speed
Page load speed is perhaps the most obvious. If you have a bulky design with a ton of images, videos, graphics and other media, it’s going to slow you down. Your site will take longer to load, which not only hurts the user experience but adversely affects your SEO as well.
Brian Dean ranks page speed as number 22 on his list of ranking factors, making it fairly significant. Google even announced its “Speed Update” in mid-2018 that penalized slow loading mobile sites.
According to Google, this update will “only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries.” But this shows firsthand the emphasis they’re placing on fast loading sites. Anything you can do from a web design standpoint to speed things up should be beneficial.
Bounce rate is defined as “the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.” Having a high bounce rate tells Google that people are quickly leaving your site without fully exploring its content, meaning that it likely lacks value.
In turn, you’ll probably notice a drop in rankings.
If your legal site is poorly designed with unappealing aesthetics, an unintuitive layout, bad navigation, etc., it can increase your bounce rate. Therefore, it’s important to place an emphasis on professional design.
Time Spent on Site
“Time on Page” is a common metric lawyers measure to determine how long visitors are staying on their site. Generally speaking, the longer, the better. The longer you can get people to hang around and explore your content, the more likely they are to engage and inevitably reach out to you.
And the longer the “Time on Page” is, the more love you should get from Google. Why?
When people spend a good chunk of time on your legal site, it means it’s likely providing value. Visitors are legitimately getting something out of it and aren’t leaving prematurely.
Investing in proper web design is a big part of increasing “Time on Page.” While it’s obviously important to have great content, things like aesthetics and layout will definitely influence how long people choose to hang around.
Understanding How Web Design Affects SEO
Google’s algorithm is incredibly complex and sophisticated. Even top experts can’t completely figure it out. But having a general understanding of what it values should aid in your law firm’s SEO efforts.
While design isn’t a massive ranking factor, it impacts multiple aspects of SEO, which shows that it’s important and should never be overlooked.