Search Engine Optimization versus Web Design

To stay relevant in the world of Web Design, website developers need to accept additional duties such as SEO.

SEO versus Web Design

Truth be told, most web designers do not know much about search engine optimization (SEO). As long as the site looks great and the code works, SEO is a second thought. However, a professional search engine optimizer can take a beautiful website and make it findable to new viewers and potential customers.

So, what is SEO?

90 percent of all internet users will conduct a search at least once in a month. They will go to Google, Bing, or another major search engine and type in a product or brand name, like “Nike” or “running shoes”, and a results page will be generated.

Seventy-five percent of all searchers will click on one of the top five results returned on that search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, it should be the goal of all website owners to be in the top five on the SERP.

When a website’s design and the SEO goals are not in harmony, organic search results will suffer. A professional SEO knows and plans for the following factors of SEO:  

On-page SEO factors include:

  • Title Tag
  • URL
  • Content
  • Image, file titles, alt text, and surrounding text
  • Site architecture

Off-page SEO factors include:


All the factors of SEO must work together in order to be efficient. Although load time is not listed as a factor, it is important to consider regarding both website optimization and SEO. Even when a site is among the top five results, if the site does not load promptly (the average wait time is 3 seconds) the searcher will simply choose the next site on the list. Not only does this cost a company potential customers, it can also cost SERP rank.

In addition, SEO includes both on-page and off-page factors coupled with quality content. A minimum of 300 words are required to rank, but the average is 975 words for websites ranked in the top five.

The conflict

Problems between web design and SEO must be resolved to ensure prompt load times and SEO rank. Many designers fail to realize there is even a problem. They look at the code then look at what the client asked for, and if there is correlation, they see no problem.

Design vs. function is a challenge for website designer/developers. For instance, the Parallax continuous scrolling web design provides 3-D illusions that can be mind-blowing and amazing to look at, but the design does not work well with SEO. Parallax rarely allows for rich, keyword-intense content with relevant surrounding text. It is often image heavy which can increase load times significantly. There are several other issues with this design which are described with possible solutions in the Course Vector article, The Parallax Scrolling Dilemma.


Most small business owners do not feel they have the funds available in their budget to hire a website designer, an SEO expert, plus a quality content writer. Therefore, they attempt to learn SEO, try write blogs and articles filled with quality content while optimizing pages for SEO. Subpar SEO attempts can lead to penalty, not gains, in the SERPS. Instead, select a web design company that not only employs designers, but writers, SEO experts, and even hosting all in one package.

The important thing to remember is to resolve web design functions that conflict with SEO efforts, or hire a web design and/or SEO company that knows the functions of both.

CourseVector has been delivering quality web design solutions for over 25 years. For more details about how to combine design with function, contact CourseVector today.

Relevant articles to help understand SEO:

Web Design: What’s Unfolding Above the Fold Matters

“The Seven Deadly Sins” of SEO

Quality Content has its own Reward

How to Structure URLs for SEO

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