The Ugly Truth! 14 Signs Your Web Design Company is Clueless About SEO!

Having a visually appealing website is essential to attract and engage visitors. Your web design company can play a crucial role in creating eye-catching designs. However, amidst the focus on aesthetics, some critical aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are often overlooked. I often look at other web design company websites in Stroud in dismay.

I’m often shocked to discover that many web design companies claim to offer SEO services when, in reality, they clearly lack any real understanding. In this article, I’ll explore the impact of poor web design on SEO.

Table of Contents

Understanding What Makes a Bad Website Design

Before we dive into the relationship between web design and SEO, it’s essential to identify the characteristics of a poorly designed website. A bad website often suffers from slow loading times, cluttered layouts, and confusing navigation. Such issues can lead to a frustrating user experience, which negatively affects a website’s search engine rankings.

The Negative Impact of Poor Web Design SEO

Common Website Design Mistakes

One of the most common web design mistakes is the excessive use of images and multimedia without proper optimisation. Large image files can slow down page loading times, leading to a higher bounce rate and reduced organic traffic.

Content Creativity Always Comes First

While creativity is essential in web design, it should not overshadow the importance of SEO-friendly content. Search engines rely on relevant and engaging content to rank websites. Web design companies must collaborate with content creators to strike the right balance between aesthetics and search engine visibility.

Functionality at the Cost of Usability

Some web designers focus heavily on adding advanced functionalities to websites, overlooking the significance of user-friendliness. If users find it difficult to navigate a site or access its features, they are likely to leave quickly, negatively impacting SEO performance.

An Antiquated Layout: Fixed-width Design

Using fixed-width design was common in the early days of the internet, but it’s outdated now. Websites with fixed-width layouts may not display correctly on various devices, affecting their mobile-friendliness and SEO ranking.

The Shocking Truth About Your Web Design Company: Your Designer’s Role

Are They Forgetting SEO-friendly Design?

Many web design companies are more concerned with visual appeal than optimising the site for search engines. This lack of SEO consideration can result in beautifully designed websites that fail to attract organic traffic.

Striking the Balance Between Creativity & SEO

Web design companies should understand that creativity and SEO don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A well-designed website can still incorporate SEO best practices, driving both traffic and aesthetic appeal.

The True Cost of a Poor Web Design Company

Low Rankings in Search Results

When a website’s design overlooks SEO principles, it’s likely to rank poorly in search engine results. This can lead to decreased visibility and reduced organic traffic.

Unattractive User Experience

A poorly designed website can deter users from exploring its content, leading to a negative user experience. This, in turn, can increase the bounce rate and signal search engines that the site is not relevant or valuable, further impacting its ranking.

14 Critical SEO Tasks Your Web Design Company May Overlook

If your web design company doesn’t complete the following tasks, it’s a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to SEO!

1. Keyword Research: Laying the Foundation for SEO Success

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. They are the words and phrases that users type into search engines when looking for information. Web design companies often neglect keyword research, leading to missed opportunities for optimisation. By identifying the right keywords that align with the website’s content and target audience, SEO’s can enhance the website’s visibility and attract relevant organic traffic.

2. On-Page Optimisation: Enhancing Technical SEO

WARNING! It’s not enough to instal Yoast SEO or another SEO plugin, SEO is more than just installing a plugin.

On-page optimisation involves fine-tuning elements within a website to make it more search-engine-friendly. Web designers need to pay attention to technical aspects such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. By strategically incorporating relevant keywords in these elements, designers can improve a website’s chances of ranking higher in search results, thereby increasing its organic visibility.

Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links from other websites to a particular website. They act as votes of confidence, indicating the website’s credibility and relevance to search engines. Many web designers overlook the importance of building a strong backlink profile, which can hinder a website’s SEO performance. By actively pursuing quality backlinks, designers can improve their website’s authority and domain reputation, leading to better search engine rankings.

4. Content: The Cornerstone of Effective SEO

Content is undeniably king in the realm of SEO. It is not only essential for engaging visitors but also plays a pivotal role in search engine rankings. Unfortunately, web designers often prioritise design over content creation. This results in websites with attractive visuals but lacking substantial and valuable information. By investing time and effort into crafting high-quality, informative, and engaging content, designers can significantly boost a website’s SEO success.

5. Mobile-Friendly Design: Navigating the Mobile-First Era

With the increasing use of mobile devices, search engines now prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their rankings. Web designers must adapt to this mobile-first era and create responsive designs that provide a seamless user experience across various devices. By optimising websites for mobile users, designers can not only improve SEO rankings but also cater to a broader audience.

6. Page Load Speed: The Need for Speed in SEO

WARNING! Your site should load as fast as possible preferably in under 2 seconds. Does your designer know this? To find out, you can easily test their site on Google PageSpeed Insights

In today’s fast-paced world, users demand instant gratification. Slow-loading websites frustrate visitors and negatively impact SEO rankings. Web designers should optimise images, minify CSS and JavaScript, and leverage caching mechanisms to enhance page load speed. This can result in better user experiences, lower bounce rates, and improved search engine rankings.

7. URL Structure: Simplicity and Clarity Matters

A clear and concise URL structure is not only user-friendly but also helps search engines understand the website’s content better. Web designers should create descriptive and keyword-rich URLs that reflect the page’s topic. This practice can contribute to higher click-through rates from search results and positively impact SEO performance.

8. Image Optimisation: Unleashing the Power of Visuals

Images are vital for captivating users and conveying information effectively. However, web designers often overlook image optimisation for SEO. By using descriptive alt text and compressing images, designers can improve website accessibility, enhance user experience, and boost SEO rankings.

9. Social Media Integration: Expanding Online Reach

In today’s interconnected world, social media plays a crucial role in driving website traffic and increasing brand awareness.

To encourage users to share content across various platforms, web designers should integrate social media sharing buttons on their websites. This integration leads to increased visibility, more backlinks, and improved search engine rankings.

10. User-Generated Content: Harnessing the Power of Community

User-generated content, like reviews and testimonials, can significantly impact SEO rankings.

To leverage this potential, web designers should incorporate elements that prompt users to leave feedback and share their experiences. Building trust with potential customers and adding fresh, relevant content to the website further boosts its SEO performance.

11. Schema Markup: Structuring Data for Search Engines

Schema markup is a powerful tool that helps search engines better understand the content and structure of a website. Unfortunately, web designers often overlook its implementation. By incorporating schema markup, designers can enhance search engine visibility and potentially achieve rich snippets in search results, making the website stand out among competitors.

12. Meta Tags: Crafting Compelling Snippets

Meta tags, such as meta titles and meta descriptions, are vital elements for SEO. They provide concise summaries of a webpage’s content in search results. Web design companies should focus on creating compelling and relevant meta tags, as they can significantly impact click-through rates and user engagement.

13. Site Architecture: Navigating the Digital Landscape

A well-structured website with intuitive navigation is not only beneficial for users but also for search engines. Web designers should pay attention to site architecture and organise content logically. This improves user experience, reduces bounce rates, and signals search engines that the website offers valuable information, ultimately boosting SEO rankings.

14. Ongoing SEO Audits: Continuously Improving Performance

Conducting regular SEO audits is essential for identifying areas of improvement and optimising a website for better search engine rankings.

An SEO must perform these audits to assess the website’s performance, detect issues, and implement necessary changes to stay ahead in the highly competitive digital landscape.


Web designers play a vital role in creating visually appealing and functional websites.

However, they often overlook the significance of SEO in driving organic traffic and enhancing online visibility.

By considering crucial aspects of SEO, such as keyword research, on-page optimisation, backlinks, and content creation, designers can craft websites that not only dazzle visitors with their aesthetics but also excel in search engine rankings.


How does keyword research impact SEO?

Keyword research helps identify the right words and phrases to target on a website, enhancing its visibility and attracting relevant organic traffic.

Why are backlinks important in SEO?

Backlinks signal a website’s credibility and relevance to search engines, positively influencing its rankings.

What role does content play in SEO?

Content is crucial for engaging visitors and significantly impacts search engine rankings.

How can user-generated content benefit SEO?

User-generated content adds fresh, relevant material to a website, potentially boosting its SEO performance and building trust with users.

Can a visually stunning website rank well on Google?

Yes, a visually stunning website can rank well on Google if it also incorporates SEO best practices, relevant content, and a user-friendly interface.

What are the key elements of SEO-friendly web design?

Key elements of SEO-friendly web design include fast loading times, mobile responsiveness, keyword optimisation, and user-friendly navigation.

Is mobile responsiveness essential for SEO?

Yes, mobile responsiveness is crucial for SEO, as search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their rankings.

Can poor web design negatively impact website conversions?

Absolutely. Poor web design can lead to a negative user experience, resulting in lower conversions and lost opportunities for business growth.

Justin March - Owner Stroud Valley SEO
Owner Stroud Valley SEO
Justin March is a highly skilled freelance SEO and web designer with human-computer and user interface design expertise. He has achieved position 1 rankings in Google for tricky key phrases like "Survey Software" and "Water Coolers". Justin has worked as a marketing director and shareholder at Quench Water Systems Ltd. and WaterCoolers Ltd. Justin now designs, markets and maintains websites for numerous Startups and SMEs in the Stroud and Bristol areas.