Imagine someone goes online and looks for a dentist in your local area, eventually coming across your website. After a few seconds, they leave your website and return to the search results.
This might be happening to your website more than you think. A recent study has shown that it takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. How does design affect this, and what can be done to keep someone on your site?
Bounce Rates and Rankings
The act of leaving a website quickly is called bouncing. And the number of times your website is left quickly like this (versus the number of people who visit your website) is called your ‘bounce rate’. The act of bouncing from your website tells search engines that a search engine user’s needs were not satisfied with your website.
Bouncing has longer-lasting repercussions than this quick moment with a user. These user signals are also picked up by the search engine algorithms so that it can be continuously optimized to rank the best results. In turn, if your website continuously fails to deliver what your users need, your rankings will drop.
You can’t fault search engines for doing this. After all, they are also businesses themselves and are keen to provide the best service to their customers. This means providing the best search results for their customer’s queries.
In addition to the bounce rate, search engines also look at the time that your users are spending on your site. It’s no surprise that the more time they spend on your website, the better.
How can you make sure your website visitors will stay on your website? On this blog, we have already written about the importance of good content. Now let’s talk about your website’s design.
Reducing the bounce rate and increasing on-site requires your website to easily guide the visitor to where they want to go. And when they get there, they must be satisfied that they got what they were looking for. These two aims can be achieved with design and User Experience (UX) improvements.
Here are some key website design elements to consider when trying to improve your SEO.
Users will notice your design immediately as soon as they visit your website. It is therefore crucial to spend time building your website’s look and feel.
Your website should also be designed to make it easy to use. Visitors should be able to easily find what they want. Make sure your website is user friendly and easy to navigate and your visitors will stay longer.
A good analogy might be a clothes store. When you walk into one, think about how you find out where the clothes for your gender are located. You probably look at the signs! Your website works on the same principle. Your website visitors need cues to guide them to the right service. All this needs to be achieved without the user having to think too much about it.
Search engines also have website navigation standards. Poorly structured websites are harder for search engine bots to read, which makes them less attractive.
The images and videos on your website play an important role in improving the performance of your search engine in three ways:
- Optimized images. Faster loading images will always be welcome on websites.
- High resolution images. They should also be easy on the eye. A balance therefore needs to be reached between beauty and file size.
- Alt text. The bots scouring your website for keywords do not know how to “read” photographs visually like our human brains can. You can however help these bots find your images by adding appropriate alt text to all your website images.
Mobile has become the most popular means of accessing the internet over the past couple of years. This means that your potential users are likely to be on their smartphone when they are viewing your website for the first time.
You need to look at the requirements of mobile users to develop a truly mobile design and maximize the benefits of mobile search. Work hard to optimize your mobile user experience and you will be rewarded with increased traffic and user engagement.
Traditionally, web design and SEO were two disparate parts of an online business. But now they are more overlapping disciplines. We must understand that these two aspects are now interlinked and both of them play a key role in ensuring that your website continues to rank highly.
Are you looking for a well-designed website for your dental practice? Our web designers have you covered. Contact us today for more information about how we can make you a design that drives traffic and conversions.