Understanding the relationship between web design and SEO

People from web design and SEO teams working together in the office.

When we first look at websites, it’s obvious that web design focuses on all the visual aspects. While search engine optimization (SEO) is responsible for visibility and rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). However, their roles are not so separated as they may seem at first. Although they are each in charge of their own tasks, web design and SEO work together on making websites functional and successful as a whole. For many businesses, understanding the relationship between the two can mean a difference between a success and a failure.

The connection between web design and SEO

One of the most fundamental goals of both web design and SEO is to ensure a great user experience. While SEO may focus on online visibility, traffic, content, keywords, and other elements, web design is there to ensure the right structure and captivating visual appeal. Mixed up in the right way they will ensure website visitors have no problems finding the right information.

When you understand the concepts and connections, you will be able to adjust them both to work hand in hand with each other. Below, professionals from johnschuster.net will explain the connection between web design and SEO, and the impact they can have on websites.

What is SEO?

Basically, the main goal of SEO is to increase the online visibility of websites. Whether we are talking about Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines, SEO is what helps websites rank higher in results. However, in order to complete the goals, SEO has to deal with numerous tasks. Which are, usually, separated into two major groups:

  • On-page search engine optimization
  • Off-page search engine optimization

On-page SEO deals with technical optimization on the website itself. Including, but not limited to, metadata, content, keywords, internal links, and others. Off-page SEO focuses on elements outside of the website, like backlinks, citations, reviews, social media posts, and similar.

What is web design?

As we said, web design focuses on websites’ aesthetical aspects. From the first concepts to the final development, it aims to give website visitors an outstanding browsing experience. Something you may refer to as the visual and functional part of user experience. Everything from choosing the right font to a combination of colors to the general layout of all the elements on every page. Basically, it aims for practical simplicity while maintaining a high level of functionality. Something that will look appealing to the eye and still ensure easy navigation, for example. All of which is essential to help users find the right information without any confusion.

Why are both web design and SEO important?

As SEO experts from Movers Development advise, both web design and SEO should be considered before creating a website. Especially for businesses where the mere success of the company may depend on the quality of a website. For the best results, you will need both professional web designers and SEO specialists to work together. This collaboration is essential so the website can provide the right functionality and visual appeal to visitors. And, at the same time, ensure rather important online visibility for your business. Of course, you can technically have one without another. But, no matter how good your website design is, without SEO, a website will never reach its full potential. And vice versa. Even if you manage to optimize your website properly, rankings will quickly deteriorate if you don’t design it to provide a consistent, quality user experience.

The stylized “web development” term repeating on the blue-webbed background.
Both web design and SEO are important parts of the development process.

How do web design and SEO work together?

Although at first glance, their duties seem totally different, web design and SEO have a lot in common. In order to provide a much-desired quality user experience, they both deal with increasing the usability of a website. Let’s take an eCommerce website for example. SEO will use effective strategies to attract prospective visitors to a website. Once you have the visitors’ attention, it’s up to web design to keep them on the pages. With an increased number of satisfied visitors will come the greater number of potential customers.

However, to be able to achieve this, it’s necessary to focus on a variety of elements where web design and SEO work together. Here are a few aspects of a website affected by both optimization and design.


Creating good content is also important if you want to offer something of value on your website pages. But, focusing only on the text is not enough anymore. Today, if you want your website to rank well, have decent traffic, and attract a great audience, it needs to look “richer” than competitors’ websites. For this, various SEO strategies can be combined with designing solutions to format and enhance the content on your pages. Using and optimizing high-quality images or adding videos within the content are just some examples.


While content might be good, if it has strange fonts on weird backgrounds, it will be difficult to read. Designers are there to ensure the information is displayed correctly by using the right palette of colors and elements. For example, there is not much point if your CTA has a great copy if it’s rather challenging to read.

Different color palettes on the table.
It takes a keen eye to make the right combination of colors.


In connection with previous, not all visitors experience the content the same way. This is where it’s crucial to take variously challenged visitors who might need alternative ways to consume your content. For example, alt tags on images are crucial so visually impaired people can understand what’s on the pictures.


The right internal structure of a website is quite important for both visitors and search engines. Web design will take care of the organization and look of the pages, so visitors won’t have a hard time finding the right information. SEO will ensure search engines can easily crawl the pages when looking for links to evaluate their relevance and value.


Both web design and SEO are there to ensure clear and easy navigation. No one is going to stay on a website that makes it difficult for the visitors to find what they need. The design will ensure the user interface looks logical and intuitive, while SEO will handle internal linking.


The overall website performance, with speed as its leader, grows in importance over the last couple of years. First, loading speed is essential if you don’t want to lose visitors. Even one second in the difference per page means losing a lot of potential customers. Second, search engines are monitoring the bounce rates and observe how websites perform and use that data as one of the ranking factors. This is why it’s necessary to pay close attention to everything from large images to host selection when trying to make your website perform better.


To get the best SEO results from your website, today, it’s essential to make it mobile-friendly. Basically, a website has to be designed so it displays correctly on all devices. And not only that, it has to look good and provide a proper user experience as well. Not to mention that Google will penalize websites that are not optimized for mobile devices.

A woman in a park browsing a website on her mobile device.
By all means, websites have to look great on all devices today.

Overall, these are only some of the examples where web design and SEO go hand in hand to create a quality website experience. Only with proper collaboration between the two, a website will be properly created and optimized. That’s why it’s worth taking time and considering all the benefits of quality development in advance. However, even if you didn’t properly utilize SEO with web design from the start, it’s never too late to make modifications.


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