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In design, we find it not best to work under constraints just one of the design practices that is overlooked.

The industry has shaped and crafted the image of the design profession being of a freelancer. It’s believed that only without boundaries can a designer’s work provides an immense creative possibility.

With the web design that has undergone significant transitions in recent years, the first websites were identified by being exclusively text-based marking a digital revolution. Some of these design trends, such as minimalism, have practical and help boost a website’s SEO score.

However, other trends, such as image-heavy layouts, can have the opposite effect, although there is a remedy for that.

Website design and marketing for your business isn’t about adding aesthetically pleasing sliders or completely reformatting your website. Rather, the focus is placed on obtaining a balance between elegance with search engine requirements.

Having a website design is a crucial aspect of helping you close on more sales. Therefore, your SEO effort must focus on the optimal user experience across all devices.

But, there’s no point in designing a website that isn’t search-engine friendly needed to serve your consumers. Having a mind-blowingly stunning design, the aesthetic won’t deliver strong business results, this is with respect to design.


Download this cheat sheet of How design mistakes could hurt your SEO and learn how to rectify them.


There are several common mistakes that may ruin your website’s search performance. While you are designing a new website or redesigning an existing one, you can?t afford to commit these.

Avoiding these design mistakes will provide your website perform well in reaching your customers and you will get noticed in the search rankings.

The value that you’re providing on your website needs to reach your audience because you must serve them.

Let’s get started with the common design mistake.


1. Failing to have your mobile visitors in mind

In the environment of the digital era, mobile responsiveness has been regarded as a standard component of any SEO plan, regardless of the industry.

Not just to take my word.


Here are some statistics you need to check out.

  • 67 per cent of users are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website, companies that rely on SEO with responsive web design.
  • 78 per cent of local mobile searches lead to offline sales.
  • While consumers spend 69 per cent of their time on mobile.

In the recent year, Google rolled out an update to their algorithmic, to demote websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.

On the upper hand, mobile-friendly websites had an average of a 12% increase in visibility on Google Mobile.

The most contentious question now would be, do you need to build a dedicated mobile website?

The fact to take note is, a responsive design will offer a consistent user experience to your visitors across all devices.

As the user’s devices vary, the display can respond alongside its dimensions.

Other benefits that come with responsive design include increased website engagement and a reduction in bounce rates.

I guess you are convinced that you need to shift to a mobile-friendly website to meet all your customers.

However, it is important to mark that a responsive website isn’t an official ranking factor. It is Google’s recommendation to webmasters in ensuring that websites are mobile-friendly.


How to get started with making your website mobile-friendly

One of the most recommended and preferred content management systems like WordPress has proven over time to be SEO friendly alternative and convenient.

In statistics, according to, more than 26.4% of the website is powered by WordPress, while the sites built with WordPress are capable of ranking higher in search results because of their response to 80-90% of Google’s crawling issues.


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2. Having important content in images and not using on-page elements

As the search engine spiders crawl media content for keywords among all the other content, a text used in a website it is still the most easily comprehended by search engines.

Yes, having images, videos and podcasts are better tools for improving engagement.

But, when it comes to your website’s most important content to the search engine, it is important to note that some of these elements are not factored in by search engines including images, flash files, and Java applets.

Having images in place of your text headers may make your website look appealing to your visitors. However, utilizing on-page elements help search engines understand your content and the keywords in the content.


Optimizing Your On-page Elements, Text And Media Content

Have text instead of images to display important content or links. When Google crawls it does not recognize the text contained in images.

Try to have your SEO title (50-60 characters), meta description (150-160 characters) and keyword density remain important elements for your web pages.

Also, a compelling meta description and SEO title will help you in gaining better CTR in search results.

As optimizing the on-page elements is important, so are the visuals. A website that’s well-optimized for graphics can see anywhere between 20 to 60% of all traffic¬†from Google.

Therefore, by using images, if it is a must to have the textual content on the image, consider the ALT attribute (alternative image tag) ?- include a few words of descriptive text.

This helps to describe your visual elements accurately. Also, a search engine can understand what’s inside the image.


3. An elegant 404 page

The most frustrating thing to your website visitors is landing on a broken link that might result from a wrong entered URL or a broken link.

This might provoke you to create a great experience on the 404 page in order not to lose the visitor especially if it’s a first time visitor.

Despite the effort to have an elegant 404 page, It is easy to forget an essential element.

Such as a link back to your website pages.

It might be tempting to have a well-designed and memorable 404 page but redirecting the visitor by having either a call to action or a link is the best alternative.

You wouldn’t want to leave the visitor confused. However, you could convert a ‘not pleased’ visitor after visiting a 404 page by focusing on the user experience into an email subscriber if you offer a free eBook.

Therefore, for a relaunch of a website, you might need to cross-check carefully to avoid 404 pages.


4. Loading your webpage with irrelevant elements

The question is to juggle your mind. How many images are there on your homepage? And how many social media sharing icons do you use?

As much as slow pages don’t equate to a bad user experience, adding fancy graphics elements, animations and redundant code can lead to slower loading time.

They are a critical search engine ranking factor besides degrading your conversions.


How to fix the loading speed on your website with four simple steps.

#1. Test the website using the Pingdom speed test tool

Slower loading time is usually a major factor that emerges from the huge number of HTTP requests up to 80% of response time for the end user is tied to them.
With Pingdom, you’ll have a summary of your page size and loading time along with a grade.
Also, you’ll get a detailed breakdown of the specific files with their size and their contribution to page loading time.


#2. Clean your website’s code

As images result in visual improvement and enhancement of your communication. It’s also a huge factor in determining your website speed.

Hiring a cheap developer or web designer, there are possibilities that they might have messy codes that may kill your loading time.

Remove the on-page elements such as the HTML tags that lower page load time.


#3. Reduce The Size of your images and objects

From the summary on Pingdom, you’ll find a summary of your page size and loading time along with a grade.
Alongside, you’ll also get a detailed breakdown of specific files with their size and their result to page loading time.

Work on resizing your images and removing the heavy object to having a better result on the page loading speed. In case you need high-resolution images and HD videos, then you can work on making the other elements on your page light.

You could resize images on your website using WP, ShortPixel Plugin
and EWWW Image Optimizer.



Collaborating in a web development project requires that there be a synergy in user experience in working with developers, web designers and SEO experts.

To beat the deadline, have a cross-check on the links, the web loading time, the mobile response and the content that might be forgotten. However, the aim needs to be on the balance in having a well-developed user experience important so is the SEO effort.

Share with us your experience with the above design mistakes on your website. Do you have in mind any other critical SEO factor affected by design elements?


Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.