12 Poor Web Design Elements That Can Hurt Your Google Search Rankings

web design elementsOne of the modern-day requirements for business owners is having a website they can rely on. The challenges in building a website are coming up with a great design and boosting the site’s ranking in web searches.

A site’s design can affect its ranking. A well-designed website helps your business earn a better position in search engine results pages, especially in Google Search.

Still, a lot of business owners make poor decisions when it comes to their sites’ design, which affects the way Google ‘sees’ their website. If you avoid these 12 inadequate web design elements, you’ll naturally and gradually make your way to the top!

1. Low-Quality Content

Web design represents more than your site’s visual appeal. It also concerns several different factors and your site’s content is one of them. A website’s content is crucial as a lot of search engine optimization efforts have something to do with it. No matter how much professionals stress the importance of this aspect, a lot of sites fail to create value through great content. Make sure you regularly post readable and substantial content about topics that are relevant to your business! This is the way to maximize the power of your content.

2. Too many popups

As a general rule, popups have adverse effects on a site’s search rankings. This is especially true for popups that intervene in the smooth navigation of a website. Some sites need the additional income stream and allow this kind of advertisements. Let’s not forget this is a two-edged sword!

To make sure that popups do not pose a significant threat to your ranking, simply limit their use on your site. If you are careful, these ads won’t become too disruptive, especially for your mobile site. Too many popups will make your users leave the website, and it’s not just the visitors that can penalize your online business. Keep in mind that Google is always on the users’ side!

3. No navigational hierarchy

Another web design factor worthy to be taken into consideration is navigation. It’s essential you create a fluid navigation scheme that allows your visitors to effortlessly discover what your site has to offer.

Nonetheless, there are websites out there with navigation schemes so complex and tiring, that even the most loyal users find it difficult to explore the site. In these cases, the user experience is profoundly affected, and visitors end up leaving. This, in turn, ‘tells’ search engines that there is something wrong with the site and your website loses its position on the search results pages. Structure your site with your audience in mind and create an intuitive navigational hierarchy!

4. Skipping heading tags

The heading tags in your website’s code represent the most important text about a specific page. This is also something that web crawlers look into when ‘learning’ what your site’s pages are about. If you do not use headers strategically, you lose your ability to highlight relevant information that can otherwise be used to boost your rankings. Keep in mind that each page should have just one H1 tag, and this is the most important text on your page.

5. Inappropriate typography choices


Typography refers to the visual aspect of the text. It includes the choice of typeface, color, size, style, and how they work together with other visual elements. Some sites use inappropriate typographic elements which diminish the readability of the content.

No matter how rich in information your content us, if it’s unreadable then it’s worthless. Make sure to choose the best typographic elements and before making the changes, always put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

6. Embedded text into an image

Some sites put text as an inlay on images, but this does nothing to boost your site’s ranking. Web crawlers are unable to visualize your images the way humans do, and it’s better to ‘show’ crawlers things they are familiar with.

Instead of embedding text into photos, you could use Alt tags. By doing this, web crawlers will be able to read into the image, and easily assess whether or not this is relevant content. Strategically, make use of Alt tags by including your page’s keyword there. But this trick works only if the image is relevant.

7. Poor color scheme

Colors represent a remarkable visual element. Each color sends a message and learning the psychology behind colors can help you better connect with your visitors. You should also be consistent with your colors – your business’ official color scheme is something you shouldn’t change on a whim.

8. Slow-loading page

There’s no secret that slow-loading pages can negatively affect your ranking. Slow-loading pages lead to a bad user experience that increases your bounce rate. Ultimately, search engines will penalize your site.

A lot of heavy media files combined with low-performance servers are a recipe for disaster. If you keep your site light, and use a powerful hosting service, you are definitely on the right track!

9. Hidden contact info

With localization being an important ranking factor, it’s a bad idea to hide your contact information. Your contact info should appear in your Contact us page, of course. But, it’s recommended to also display this info in your footer. Users should be able to find your contact information with ease. There is no reason to hide your contact info as it helps users trust your business.

10. Auto-playing features

Having your media files automatically play is never a good idea as it could be very distracting and overload your users. As you already know by now, unhappy users leave your site and your ranking drops accordingly. It’s best to let your users choose when they want to listen to your media files.

11. Infinite scrolling pages

Let’s talk about another design blunder that could lead to a navigational nightmare. Having pages that infinitely scroll vertically could create a negative user experience. If you smooth the transition process from one webpage to the next, visitors will thank you by returning again and again to your site.

12. 404 error page

404 error pages are another reason why your ranking might drop. These are usually caused by errors in the URLs or by pages that are down temporarily or permanently. If you decide to keep the link to a page that is temporarily down, make sure you have a creative error page in place.

Avoid these 12 design errors to rank higher

Listed above are some of the most common design errors that can make you rank lower in page results. This article aims to help you avoid the design elements that can hurt your business. Each design error is accompanied by its best practice, so you can take the necessary steps towards online success.

Author Bio

John Vuong is the sole owner of Local SEO Search Inc., SEO Services in Toronto. John’s mission is to help local business owners improve their online influence, so they can dominate their industry. Using his business acumen and innate understanding of the local business landscape, John also writes blogs on customized SEO campaigns that are based on the clients’ needs.

First Photo by Tracy Adams on Unsplash