With advancements in web browsers, bandwidth, and mobile computing power, developers have gained quite a bit of freedom. What wasn’t quite possible before due to resource limitations are now non-issues. As a result, the usage of oversized, high-quality media and highly interactive elements have become trends in web design. While websites are looking better and more interactive than ever, we must not forget the importance of SEO. In this article, we go over some of the most widely used design elements we’ve seen and explain why they may negatively affect a website’s visibility in search engines.
Slider & Carousel
One of the most popular web design trends in the last few years is the usage of sliders and carousels. A slider is basically a set of slides, consist of images and overlaying texts, displaying one slide at a time. Chances are you’ve seen it used by online stores to showcase their current and upcoming promotions. A carousel, on the other hand, is similar but displayed in a film strip format. Although both of these modules usually have controls for switching between slides, they can run automatically on a timer; hence they are also known as rotating banners. While sliders and carousels maximize the use of limited page space, they may not be optimized for search engines. Google, for example, gives less weight to contents that are hidden initially.
This is a slider showcasing our portfolio.
Video Background & Embedded Videos
This web design trend is likely to stay as the Internet continues to get faster with fibre and 4G networks. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be more. What’s more convincing than showing your products or services in action with videos? More and more websites are now featuring full-page background videos and embedded videos on their sites. We’ve done it, too, to showcase our clients’ fleet of heavy machinery and fine-dining restaurant. That being said, the potential drawback is increased page load time. The reason being, background videos load and play automatically, and embedded videos often pre-load to prevent pauses. Search engines such as Google penalizes slow websites and rank them lower than competitors. We can get away with it because we know how to optimize for speed, and we use premium hosting.
Tabs, Accordions & Flip Boxes
Tabs and accordions are also a very efficient way of utilizing limited page spaces. For example, in web stores, you’ll often see tabs and accordions used to separate product information such as specifications and reviews. On the other hand, Flip boxes allow users to interact with web pages to reveal certain information, such as pricing. They are usually animated to catch people’s attention. It’s not hard to see why these became trends in web design, but they have their drawbacks. Even though Google can index them, just as previously mentioned, contents that are hidden initially are likely discounted for ranking purposes.
This is a tab. Information in tab #1 is considered to be more important by search engines because it’s displayed when the page is loaded.
This is an example of tabs. Accordions are similar to tabs, but displayed vertically.
This is an example of a flip box.
Using parallax scrolling in web design is another trend taken over the Internet in the last few years. It’s a technique that scrolls a webpage and its background at different speeds, creating the illusion of depth. Imagine looking out a window; what you see outside of the window changes as you move your position relative to it. It looks cool because it adds another dimension to 2-dimensional web pages, but here’s the problem. In almost all cases, the parallax effect is implemented as background images but not as HTML elements. Since background images don’t have descriptive tags and captions attached to them, they have little SEO value, if at all. This is not to say parallax effect shouldn’t be used, it can be, as long as you are aware of its lack of SEO benefits.
One-Page Web Design
One-page web design is starting to disappear but used to be a trend a few years ago. Since one-pager sites lack structure and contents, they naturally don’t rank well in search engines unless external factors signal their importance.
Animated Loading Screen & Pop-up
An animated loading screen delays the rendering of actual content because it, too, needs to be loaded. A pop-up is an interruptive way of displaying information because it covers relevant content. Some of them will even hide or blur areas of web pages not overlaid by pop-ups. If a pop-up is displayed when search engine robots crawl through the page, it may be penalized.
Full Screen Banner
Another popular web design trend is the usage of full screen banners, sometimes also called hero headers. It basically involves using oversized images or videos as banner background, usually overlaid with texts. A hero image on a webpage is like a cover page for a magazine, and it draws readers in. However, search engines prioritize information that’s “above the fold,” which is content loaded in the initial viewport without scrolling. So by having a full screen banner pushes important contents down and, therefore not optimized for search engines.
Web Design Trends or Fads?
We’re not saying don’t use these design elements on your website because we use them, too. They took over the Internet because they’re visually pleasing, add interactivity or maximize space usage. It doesn’t make sense to avoid them completely. However, as SEO experts, we know what we can get away with without too much impact, and we compensate with other techniques. At the end of the day, we build websites for human beings, not for robots to crawl. Therefore, we shouldn’t sacrifice user-friendliness or aesthetics for the sake of satisfying search engines. Remember, search visibility will get you leads, but your website still needs to be attractive enough to convert them. If you’re looking for a web design company that builds quality, search engine optimized websites, and we’d love to help. Click the button below to get in touch with us.