15 Deadly Web Design Mistakes That Will Harm Your SEO | OOm Singapore

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A proper web design of a website can help you make a positive first impression on potential customers and rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), To guarantee you will note make web design mistakes that will harm your SEO strategies, take note of these fifteen deadly web design mistakes: 1) Failing To 2) Optimise Your On-Page SEO; 3) Poorly-Designed 404 Page; 4) Using Irrelevant Pop-Ups; 5) Posting Duplicate Content; 6) Cluttered Web Page; 7) Little Content On The Product Pages; 7) Not Mobile-Friendly; 8) Ignoring Website Security; 9) Missing Heading And Metadata Tags; 10) Forgets To Add The Contact Page; 11) Improper Use Of Fonts; 12) Wrong Colour Schemes; 13) Slow Loading Speed; 14) Overuse Of Animations And Flash, and 15) Using Auto-Play Audios Or Videos.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is not exclusive to keywords and backlinks. When it comes to SEO, you have to consider all the factors that will affect your rankings, including web design.


ALSO READ: The Relationship Between Web Design & SEO


Most people sometimes forget that web design is a crucial part of SEO. The fact is, web design affects SEO, same with keywords, backlinks, content, and many more. Without a proper web design strategy, you may not achieve the desired results for your SEO.


It is important to avoid the common web design mistakes that would harm your SEO. By monitoring your website and enhancing its performance, you can guarantee your search engine rankings will see improvements.

To ensure that you will not commit web design mistakes, let us look at some deadly web design mistakes that will harm your SEO!


15 Web Design Mistakes That Will Harm Your SEO



1. Failing To Optimise Your On-Page SEO

Web design consists of several elements, such as images, videos, animations, plugins and most importantly, texts. Visitors and search engines will appreciate your website’s design and layout if it is easy to navigate and browse web pages. 


Search engines use spiders, also known as web crawlers, to navigate through websites and analyse their quality of content. Since these crawlers are not human, they cannot judge a website based on its visual appearance. Instead, web crawlers rely on texts to evaluate a site’s SEO.


KNOW MORE: 6 Essential Elements Of Modern Web Design


Optimise your website’s on-page SEO to ensure it will get recognised by search engines. One good example is adding alt text when placing images on a web page. Use relevant keywords in the alt text to improve your images and  website’s visibility on search engines. 


2. Poorly-Designed 404 Page

The chances of a visitor visiting a 404 page on your website are high. Someone could type a wrong URL or visit a broken web page on your site. Sometimes, 404 pages can also happen if your website is receiving tons of traffic at once, like the City University Of New York, due to the hundreds of thousands of students they have.


Poorly Design 404 Page From City University Of New York


If your 404 page is poorly designed like the image shown above, you can expect your visitors to feel lost, frustrated and have no idea what they should do next.


Avoid making the same issue by creating a stylish 404 page with links to other pages on your website to reduce bounce rate. Here is a good example from MAC Cosmetics.


A Good Example Of 404 Error Page From Mac Cosmetic


At a glance, visitors will know that the web page they are trying to visit does not exist. To ensure that the customer purchase journey will not be interrupted, MAC Cosmetics decided to redirect them to their most popular web pages: SHOP BEST SELLING, SPECIAL OFFERS, and CONTACT US.


To find out which web page to direct visitors to on your 404 page, analyse your website to see which page is most visited by users to improve its search engine ranking and earn more clicks.


3. Using Irrelevant Pop-Ups

Pop-ups on websites have been frustrating users since they become tools for digital marketing. As soon as a pop-up appears on a person’s screen, they will most likely click on the close button immediately.


It is not the use of pop-ups that is problematic, but rather how most website owners use them. The problem arises when you use pointless pop-ups that do not improve your web design or SEO like this one below.


Example Of Irrelevant Popups


In reality, pop-ups can help you drive conversions and increase your customer base, but to improve web design and SEO with pop-ups, a suitable one has to be utilised for your website. Since buyers are more interested in shopping and checking out new products and not the latest application update, pop-up like the ones shown above will be deemed irrelevant.


For example, pop-ups are perfect for online stores. You could show a pop-up to first time-visitors and encourage them to sign up for a subscription. Doing so should help you grow an email list, allowing you to send updates and ads to subscribers. Here is a good example from Sephora.




Your pop-up should be pleasing to the eyes and straight to the point. You could also offer an incentive or reward to motivate your customers with a call to action (CTA). In the case of Sephora, they use a red rectangular box in their CTA to capture the visitors’ attention.


4. Posting Duplicate Content Creates Cannibalisation

Part of web design is creating original and unique content for your website. If you do the opposite and copy from other web pages, you will only put your SEO at risk since posting duplicate content creates cannibalisation.


Cannibalisation refers to duplicate content. That means there are two or more web pages that have been competing with one another in drawing traffic, leads, and conversions. If this happens, search engines cannot discern which one between the duplicate content to rank on SERPs. 


KNOW MORE: Web Design & Development: Tips, Tricks, And Mistakes


Moreover, copying content from other websites violates SEO guidelines, and it will only hurt your search engine rankings in the long run if you continue to do so. Instead, you should create original content to avoid cannibalisation and getting penalised by search engines for plagiarism.


5. Cluttered Web Page To Little Content On The Product Pages

Showing off everything you have seems like a fantastic plan, but everyone might find it confusing at a glance. Visitors to websites may become disoriented and become unable to identify specific information due to the abundance of information presented in front of them. 


Look at this image as an example. Even if it contains every detail that a potential customer needs to know about their products or services, navigating the entire website can be challenging and overwhelming due to cluttered web design.


Cluttered Web Page From Cruise


Instead of browsing through the web pages, visitors might not think twice about leaving and looking for a similar website that offers the same thing but with a simple web design and easy-to-navigate website. 


Cruise.co.uk probably learned that, so they revamped the web design of their company and became like this.


Simpler Web Design


On the other hand, having little content on the product pages means they lack information about the products. If you were a potential customer, would you consider purchasing from an ecommerce website that has this kind of product page?


Little Content On The Product Pages

This image is a screenshot from Penny Juice’s Product Page


Without enough product details, it is hard to weigh the pros and cons, let alone make a purchase decision. Remember that you cannot persuade your potential customers to make a purchase when you have this kind of lazy copy. 


When writing product information, you should include all the details from size, materials, quantity available, and colours. Consider adding product images from different angles so the buyers can visualise it before purchasing.


6. Not Mobile-Friendly

Another web design mistake that will harm your SEO is not considering its mobile friendliness. After all, most website traffic nowadays comes from mobile devices. If your web design is not mobile-friendly, people visiting your website will become frustrated by the inability to view the content of a web page. 


Prevent that from happening by making the web design of your website responsive. Ensure that whatever mobile devices your potential customers are using to browse through your web pages, they can see everything as clear and readable as possible. 


ALSO READ: Mobile SEO: A Guide To Optimising Your Website For Mobile Phones


Here is how a mobile-friendly website looks on different screen sizes.


Mobile Friendly Web Design

Online shop concept on laptop, tablet and smartphone screen over gray table. All screen content is designed by me. Flat lay


7. Ignoring Website Security

Website security is crucial, much like web design. Potential customers would not feel comfortable visiting your e-commerce website, no matter how aesthetically appealing it is if it has little to no security. 


After all, online buyers will share personal information such as their names, addresses, and contact numbers when shopping online. They will not share any of these if they have deemed an e-commerce website where they plan to purchase does not guarantee data security.


Here are some tips to strengthen the security of your website.


  • Add privacy policy
    Privacy Policy Page Of Levis
  • Invest in an SSL certificate
    UNIQLO SSL Certificate
  • Include a two-factor authentication process
    two-factor authentication process


8. Missing Heading And Metadata Tags

When creating a web design for your website, you should never miss adding the heading and metadata tags. Given that these two factors help search engines like Google understand the content structure of a website better so they can index the web pages properly and rank them on search engine results pages (SERPs), 


Heading Hierarchy

This image shows how to add heading and show hierarchy.


Example Of Metadata Tags

This image shows the examples of metadata tags.


Here are the exact words that John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has said during the 2019 Google Webmaster Hangout.


This image is a screenshot from Search Engine Journal about what John Mueller


9. Missing Out The Contact Page

You need to add a contact page to get more leads and conversions. Instead of persuading them to take action, your potential customers might visit your competitors as they are unable to find a way to contact you to learn more about your products or services apart from the information you have shared on your website.


When adding a contact page, include your social media channels, phone number, and business email address where they can send you a message. Having more methods to get in touch with you can make you more credible and improve your customer service. 


Contact Page Example From Zalora SG


10. Improper Use Of Fonts

A good web design uses appropriate font size and type. After all, using too many different fonts does more than good, especially for SEO. Try to read the text in the image below.


Improper Use Of Fonts


When you use many types of fonts on the web design of your website, all of them fight for attention. People visiting your website might get confused about which part they should read first. They may even perceive your platform as not reliable due to the improper use of fonts.


To look more credible, try not to use more than two to three fronts when creating the web design of your website. It is highly encouraged to use san serif fonts, such Arial and Helvetica, as they are easier to read on screen.


11. Wrong Colour Schemes

Besides the improper use of fonts, many business owners also choose the wrong colour schemes for their websites. Instead of becoming aesthetically pleasing, their website looks terrible because they choose the wrong colour combination.


If your website has terrible colour schemes, you can expect it will irk your visitors to the point they become triggered to leave. Prevent that from happening by not using more than two to three primary colours on the web design of your website. 


12. Slow Loading Speed

Another thing you need to consider when designing your website is the loading speed. Even if it has all the essential elements that a website needs, If it takes longer than three second to load, you can expect your visitors to leave and find another similar e-commerce website that offers the same thing. 


Slow Loading Speed


Test the performance of your website before it goes live and becomes accessible to the public. Consider checking your website on various devices if the images and text load immediately. You can also use the following tools to check your website’s loading speed.



13. Overuse Of Animations And Flash

Even though using animation and flash was a hit 15 to 20 years ago, this web design strategy is no longer a trend. If you include this on your website, you might even annoy your potential customers instead of making a good impression. 


Using animations or flash on your website can also slow down the loading speed, which is another factor why visitors will consider leaving your website as soon as possible. Remember that the shorter the visit duration of visitors, the higher the bounce rate will become—indirectly hurting your SEO. 


14. Neglecting To Use A Sitemap

To guarantee your visitors will not get lost when navigating through the web pages of your website, you should use a sitemap. It is a directory of websites that provides directions for anyone to their preferred location.


Here is an example of a sitemap from PRADA to give you an idea of what a sitemap should look like on a website. 


Example Of Sitemap From PRADA


When creating a sitemap, you have to organise the products or services you offer by categories and subcategories. It will help visitors know which category or subcategory they should go to for the product they are looking for. Search engine crawlers can easily index the web pages and show them to relevant users on SERPs.


15. Not Optimising Call-To-Actions (CTAs)

Writing persuasive content is not enough to nudge customers to take action. That is where the call to action (CTA) would come in, such as ‘Buy Now’, Start Trial, ‘Work With Us Now’, etc. Despite how brief the words that come after persuasive content, they can motivate the readers to do something. 


However, you should not just place the CTA in plain text like on the left side of the image below. As much as possible, you should highlight it and guarantee it compliments well with the web design to prompt the readers to click on it, similar to the right side of the image below.  


ALSO READ: 4 Tips For Making An Effective Call To Action


Between the two layout web design of CTAs, you can see that the right side is the optimised one as it captures your attention first. 


Comparison Of Optimised And Not Optimised CTAs



A well-planned web design strategy combined with an effective SEO campaign is a recipe for success. Whenever designing a website, consider optimising the web design, its performance, and SEO. Eventually, you will reap more benefits, such as driving traffic and making sales.


Consider partnering with a web design agency in Singapore like OOm! Contact OOm at +65 6391 0930 or leave a message on our website if you are interested in our website design services.

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