Does your web design influence your search engine optimization? If you selected a different or custom web design, could you rank better?
These are good questions and require a little bit of analysis to arrive at the right answer. First, consider the different types of website designs available:
Personally, I think an originally designed website is always best, but not necessarily from an SEO perspective. After all, your web designer may design great sites that do a horrible job at on site optimization.
Nevertheless, if you can swing an original design, for branding purposes, that’s a big plus. But what are the issues you need to look out for from an SEO perspective?
- Code Bloat – This can happen with an original design or template. Does your site’s design incorporate too much code? If so it could hurt your rankings. Keep your code lean and mean.
Permalink Structure – CMS systems like to rely on dynamic permalink structures that somehow don’t do well for SEO. If you can influence those to a more SEO-palatable structure then you’ll fare a lot better in the search engines.
CSS Blues – Sometimes your CSS files can work against you. You could have too many or the ones you have just may not be well optimized. Keep them lean and don’t rely too much on extemporaneous code.
Internal Navigation – This one gets a lot of webmasters. Make sure your internal navigation menu is crawlable and that your pages get indexed.
Tables – Tables have their place, but it’s an old way off doing things. Get up to date and don’t build a site with too many tables. When possible, use CSS, but keep it light.
Your web design will be judged by your human visitors, but the search engines judge it too. Make sure you keep it light and that all things work for the good of your site’s rankings.