How Web Design Influences SEO: Trends and Insights Learned from 2023

To cut right to the chase: a well-designed website not only enhances a user’s experience but also plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) – the art and science that goes into ensuring that your website is found and ranked high enough by search engines to appear at the top of a potential customer’s search results.

With Google still basically the only game in town, how they choose to rank a webpage is gospel for website owners and developers providing SEO website design services. Trends may come and go, but to Google, their Northstar is and always has been the end user. By ensuring that your website pages load quickly, work properly, are visually appealing, intuitive, helpful, and a few other characteristics detailed below, you put your business in an optimal position for success. A + B = C. The higher your website ranks, the more people will visit, increasing your potential sales.

Understanding SEO and Web Design

A quick refresher on SEO, web design, and their interplay can provide much-needed context to help us better understand how website design trends in 2023 addressed SEO.

How you design your website and how you optimize it for higher search engine rankings are interconnected, fundamental aspects of a successful online presence. Both website design and SEO play a crucial role in how your website is perceived by both users and search engines.

Google and other search engines consider several factors when deciding how to rank a webpage that potentially contains the information a searcher intends to find, not just whether the search matches the website content.

By addressing those other factors, you can increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website, which in turn improves your website’s visibility and search rankings.

At a high level, SEO web design, ensuring your website performs well in search engine ranking factors, can be broken down into two main categories: the technical nuts and bolts on the back end and user-facing content. In reality, both go hand-in-hand, and there are technical aspects to website content, just as there are content considerations that influence the programming and how a website is built. But thinking of them in this way can help you organize the information in your head and help you gain a deeper understanding of SEO – something a proper Toronto SEO agency will prioritize during a consultation.

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The technical side of web design for SEO involves analyzing and improving aspects like website architecture, page load speed, mobile-friendliness, and working links, among others. In essence, ensuring your website provides a seamless user experience is a signal to Google and other search engines that your site, at least technically, is worth sending a searcher to, which, everything else being equal, should maximize your website rank on these factors.

Scrabble tiles spelling out SEO

SEO & Your Website Content

On the other hand, best web design practices for SEO also dictate that your website content is relevant, helpful, aesthetically pleasing, and interactive.

The foundation of effective, search-engine-optimized content is informed by SEO keyword research. Keywords, specifically popular ones, are words and phrases most commonly used by people searching the internet, social media sites, online marketplaces, or any time someone performs a digital search. Website SEO specifically targets keywords used in Google and other internet search engines.

The goal with content is to ensure that popular keywords that are relevant to your business are used with enough frequency to be identified by search engines. This, however, does not mean “keyword stuffing” – simply inserting a keyword as much as you possibly can in your website copy, making it unreadable and valueless to people looking for answers.

Google’s guidelines for what constitutes ‘good’ content can be summarized by their acronym EEAT, which stands for:

  • Expertise. Blogs and website copy should be written by a subject matter expert (SME.) This can be someone with educational or work credentials, or a professional content writer who has extensively researched a particular field or topic using (and crediting) reputable sources.
  • Experience. Whether it’s a product review or a how-to guide, it should be clear that your website content was written by someone with first-hand knowledge of the topic.
  • Authoritativeness. This refers to your website’s reputation for being an authority on a subject/ in a particular field. Authoritativeness is measured by the number of links from other authoritative websites to yours when they cite your website as a source of reliable information. This can also be achieved using professional SEO copywriting services deployed in a link-building campaign.
  • Trustworthiness. Information on your website must be accurate and up-to-date. Also, having a physical address listed somewhere on your site, linking to credible websites as sources, and using a secured HTTPS domain are a few of the ways to build trust with your audience and search engines.

In addition to the content of your… content, search engines consider how the information is presented. This includes the layout of website content, colour scheme, typography, and the inclusion of multimedia such as images, video, infographics, and audio.

Prioritizing these factors in your website design results in a site that is easy to navigate, encourages users to stay longer, and reduces your bounce rate, all positive signals to search engines.

Website design on paper

Top SEO-Influenced Website Design Trends in 2023

2023 was all about embracing the revolutionary tech that went mainstream between 2020 and 2022 and making bold choices to get your voice heard in an increasingly content-saturated world, whilst adhering to the above, people-first web design parameters. Here’s a quick summary of the innovative web design trends deployed in 2023 that prioritize SEO:


Minimalism in web design is all about embracing simplicity and functionality. It’s about stripping away all unnecessary elements and leaving only what matters. This design philosophy prioritizes ease of use, with a strong emphasis on soothing white space and clean lines. The result is a website that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also content-focused and easy to navigate. This can significantly enhance the user experience, leading to increased time spent on your site and potentially higher search engine rankings. In 2023, we saw a resurgence of minimalism in web design, with more and more designers opting for simple, clear, and concise designs.


Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have been making waves in the tech world for some time now, and their impact on web design was inevitable. These technologies offer a whole new way to interact with digital content, allowing users to immerse themselves in a virtual world of your creation. Interior design firms, for example, have been using VR on their websites to provide clients and potential clients with a realistic preview of how their spaces will look when a project is complete.

Providing these interactive experiences and turning your website into a valuable tool or resource can go a long way in enhancing your website’s visibility.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is all about creating websites that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. This involves considering a wide range of users during the design process and ensuring that your website is usable by as many people as possible.

In 2023, the inclusive design trend that began in the late 2010s continued, as features like alternative text for images, keyboard navigation, captions, integrated screen readers, and high contrast modes have influenced how websites are currently designed.

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Website Animation

Website animation is a powerful tool that can make a site more engaging and interactive. It involves the use of motion and transformation of graphical elements to bring a page to life.

SEO website designers in 2023 started to incorporate more animated elements into their designs, from subtle micro-interactions like product reveals and page wipes to full-screen animations. Motion adds a new level of storytelling to your website, keeping users entertained and engaged, making them less likely to bounce away from your website until after they’ve heard what you have to say –  a positive signal to search engines that can help boost your site rankings.


The massive rollout of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has disrupted various industries, and web design is no exception. In 2023, websites started to incorporate AI technologies to analyze user behaviour and provide personalized website interactions. AI has also resulted in exponentially more helpful chatbots that can effectively handle routine customer queries, allowing businesses to manage resources more efficiently.


The use of 3D elements in website design saw a resurgence in 2023. They add depth and realism to a website, allowing for creative graphics and transitions that take users on a journey. When used correctly, this can lead visitors to the desired behaviour your website’s design is meant to elicit – without the programming or resources required to run animation.

Gamified Design

Gamified website design involves the use of video game elements to engage website visitors and encourage them to interact with your site. Using progress bars and rewards for desired behaviours are powerful tools that not only help a webpage achieve its goals but also keep users on your website longer. Using this strategy can also result in a higher rate of return visits, which bodes well for your search engine optimization efforts.

Bold Colour Schemes

While many website designers in 2023 opted for minimalist designs, others chose to go in the opposite direction, using bold, vibrant colour schemes and unconventional colour combinations to create visually striking designs that demand attention. The caveat here is that you must be absolutely certain that this type of design will resonate with your target audience in order to pull it off and not tank your SEO rankings.

Unique Typography

Typography plays a subtle but significant role in web design for SEO. It’s not just about choosing a font; it’s about creating a visual hierarchy, conveying a mood, and guiding the user’s attention. In 2023, designers continued to experiment with unique, custom typefaces, sizes, and styles, using them to help tell their brand’s story and create eye-catching visuals.

Content Boxes

Content boxes are a great way to organize information on a website and break it up into smaller, more digestible chunks. In 2023, we saw a rise in the use of content boxes that highlight important information and make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Content boxes also have the added SEO bonus of translating well on a smartphone’s smaller screen size and providing better site speed optimization on mobile devices.

Looking Ahead: Web Design and SEO in 2024

While the word trend is often used to describe what can be more accurately called a fad, in the context of professional SEO website design, current trends, which evolved from past trends, can provide direction on where things are headed if you understand the how and the why of their popularity.

Ironically, the principles that shape how a website is viewed by search engines like Google haven’t changed. Their goal has always been to prioritize sites that provide the most value to their users.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see that website design elements like AI that can generate tailor-made content and interactions, virtual reality that allows others to step into your imagination, website designs that provide accessibility tools, and content made with the intention to inform, entertain, or inspire are the building blocks future optimized websites will be built on. In other words, expect these trends to flourish in 2024 and beyond.

Do you want more traffic to your website? Better leads? Consider professional SEO keyword research services that will identify the right keywords your business should be targeting and help you rank higher for them using a holistic SEO strategy. 

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