29 Website Design Elements That Kill Your SEO And Conversions

Everyone hopes to choose the right website design elements for creating a visually appealing website that’s easy to use. It’s common knowledge that good web design can boost sales and help with optimization. Yet, there are certain website design elements that could hurt your site. Using any of these negative elements could hinder your website’s ranking or conversion results. In this article, I’ve highlighted 29 of these website design elements that could harm your SEO and Conversion.

  1. Little to no content
    Having fresh, quality content is one of the most essential website design elements for SEO. Search engines always prefer sites that have a lot of original content they can index and crawl. This was proven in a study conducted by serpIQ that examined the top 10 search results for more than 20,000 keywords. Researchers found that pages showing up in the top 10 list for any keyword on Google had an average content length of 2,000 words.
  1. Excessive use of CSS and JavaScript
    Sure, you can spice up your website using scripts and third party add-ons. However, they’ll take too much precious time loading. Having a slow load time will drag down your search engine rankings and discourage users from converting.
  1. Tiny font size
    Nobody wants to squint while reading your page. Having smaller font size can reduce readability and result in low conversions. This was clearly seen in the case of Numara Software. The company received a 133 percent improvement in their conversions by increasing their font from 10 pt to 13 pt. 
  1. Dynamic websites
    Dynamic websites may be a great way to create an interactive interface for users, but they aren’t the best choice for SEO. It’s challenging to optimize these pages for search engines. Certain website design elements can cause problems with crawling. For instance, the long, non-keyword rich, constantly changing URLs are difficult to index.
  1. Wrong color choicecolor_choice_design
    Which colors you select can significantly affect your conversion rates. A simple color scheme change can draw in more traffic. Orange, yellow, and brown are usually the least desirable colors. The healthcare app CareLogger changed the button color from green to red. This quick makeover resulted in a 34 percent increase in landing page conversions.
  1. Flash elements
    Although Flash can be visually pleasing, too much of these complex website design elements can be bad for your SEO. Avoid making Flash an essential part of site usability because this can negatively affect usability. As a result, the page ranking could seriously flounder in Google. 
  1. Overused stock images
    You’ve probably come across stock images that are used in thousands of different websites. Although stock images are convenient, they don’t necessarily help your site. According to a study conducted by Visual Website Optimizer, real images outperform stock images with a 161 percent increase in conversions.
  1. “Hidden” contact information
    Of course, everyone knows you must have contact information on the website, but leaving hidden will spell trouble. Your address, phone number, email, and other contact information should be easy for users to locate. This helps with building customer trust. Making certain your website contacts are easily available can bring up your search engine rankings too.
  1. Slow-loading page

    Page speed plays a pivotal role in site usability and search engine optimizationCLICK TO TWEET

    If your website loads slowly, users may simply click to a different site. Then, they’ll miss out on your excellent content and products or services. A delay of one second can reduce your conversions by seven percent!

  1. Excessive image use
    Images certainly draw in attention, but they must be chosen sparingly enough to not confuse website visitors. In relation to the previous point, too many images and visual website design elements can also slow your website down. Pages that are heavily filled with pictures and graphics usually have lower rankings.
  1. Large header image
    You might mistakenly feel that a prominent header image is attractive and builds better site design. However, this isn’t really the case. Very large header images detract from content and slow down page loads. This can cause higher bounce rates that negatively affect your SEO.
  1. Improper error page
    404 errors are bad for your conversions. It can be even worse for SEO if you fail to take action on these pages. I recommend that you improve user experience by coming up with a fun, humorous 404 error page. Always include a link to the homepage and the previous page because this can save your conversion rate.
  1. HTML frames
    Although HTML frames are useful for dividing content on a page, they can damage your SEO too. These frames prevent search engines from indexing and crawling the website properly. Try to avoid using them if possible. Otherwise, switch to alternative website design elements like CSS and PHP. 
  1. Infinite scrollinfinite scroll
    Infinite scroll may work for sites like Facebook for delivering linear information in a never-ending story. Yet, this type of website design elements isn’t the best choice for most sites. In addition to overloading users with information, infinite scroll is a heavy element that makes page loads lag. 
  1. Auto-play features
    Letting videos, audio, or animation play automatically on your website can be distracting for visitors. How would you feel if you have to scramble to find the source of blaring audio that starts playing when you open a website. Auto-play features result in bad user experiences and thus lower conversion rates.
  1. Auto-sliders
    Along the same lines, auto-sliders likely aren’t the best addition to your site. Internet users like being in control, so using this feature could easily kill your conversions. According to a test on the Notre Dame University website, autostart image sliders or carousels aren’t effective for conversions. In fact, only the first slide received some interaction (approximately one percent).
  1. Banner ads and promo boxes

    Splattering your website with banner ads and promo boxes isn’t a smart moveCLICK TO TWEET

    These website design elements take up valuable real estate and could put you at risk for Google penalties. Your aim should be to focus visitors on your content so that they stay awhile and make conversions.

  1. Intrusive pop-ups
    Any kind of pop-up can kill your search engine ranking and conversion rates. Visitors don’t like ads and offers shoved in their faces. Instead, opt for light-box pop-ups to get users to subscribe or register. In the case of food craft blogger Nikki McGonigal, this improved conversions. She received over 7,000 additional subscribers over eight months with this method.
  1. Site redirects
    Site redirects help in retaining extra online traffic, but they can do more harm than good if they’re set up incorrectly. For example, the page you’re redirecting to may skip the indexing process, which will negative impact search engine rankings. Opt for 301 redirects for SEO-friendly results.
  1. Content management systems
    Content management systems can be useful tools for managing the content on your site. But, many of them aren’t equipped with the website design elements necessary for SEO mark-up. This can be bad for rankings. 
  1. Large files/long download times
    If files on your website are too large, they’ll take longer to download. Having to wait endlessly for downloads will end up frustrating users. Smaller file sizes not only improve user experience, but also help in the indexing and crawling process for good SEO.
  1. Replacing important elements with images
    Images, when used properly, can optimize your page. However, avoid replacing important website design elements and content with images. If visuals are used as a primary form of navigation, search engines may treat them without realizing their functional meaning. This can significantly damage your ranking.
  1. Forgetting about breadcrumbs
    Don’t ignore the importance of leaving behind an easy-to-follow trail of breadcrumbs. It’s crucial for making your site more user-friendly. Also, breadcrumbs help search engines determine your site’s navigational structure for better indexing. 
  1. Improper video embedding
    You’ll only be able to engage your audience using video content if it’s properly embedded. Excessive video content won’t be the best way to optimize your website for search engines. This is especially true when you use custom Java media players, which Google can’t read.
  1. Geo-redirection
    Automatic geo-redirection is usually implemented by multi-language sites catering to different countries or regions. It can actually hurt your SEO though because it redirects away from the homepage. Try to get users to manually pick their locations instead.
  1. Ignoring heading tags

    A heading tag is an excellent way to visually emphasize your contentCLICK TO TWEET

    Did you know that heading tags also impact your SEO? Properly using H tags optimizes your content for search engines.

  1. Building an all-javascript site
    You’ve read earlier about how too much JavaScript can cause poor SEO and conversions. Some people take it even further by building an all-Javascript website. This will be next to impossible for search engines to index and crawl. Steer clear of too much JavaScript for keeping your rankings intact.
  1. Boring design

    Nobody likes going through a page that’s dull and lifelessCLICK TO TWEET

    Whether it’s in your usage of color, font, or content, always try to engage users by opting for lively website design elements. Pulse Agency helped improve the search engine ranking for a local upholsterer that previously had an all-Java site. The client’s domain authority increased from one to 16.

  1. New windows for outbound links
    Most users find pop-ups annoying, so it’s only natural that users will be turned off when new windows open for every outbound link on your website. Tabs exist for a good reason. Make use of them to create better user experience and conversions

Do you have more suggestions for website design elements that should be avoided to protect good SEO? Please share them with us below!


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