Site appearance affects rankings, says Google.

Google on How a Site’s Appearance Can Impact Ranking

Site appearance affects rankings, says Google.
Site Quality greatly impacts Mueller states Google.

The presentation and overall quality of a business’s website may impact a search engine’s visibility and search rankings if it doesn’t meet certain quality expectations. Google John Mueller said this in the Search Central SEO hangout recorded on June 25, 2021.

Mueller suggests examining different site elements that may affect visitor perception to answer a question about how to fix a gradual traffic decline. An overall reduction in traffic, unrelated to any specific algorithm update, may indicate the quality of a website is compromised. If a website’s design does not meet users’ quality expectations, it may not perform well in search rankings, Mueller suggests.

Mueller answers website owner’s concerns:

A site owner whose traffic has been steadily dropping for some time has a question for Mueller. What could be the problem, asks the site owner. It’s important to go over details that may seem unimportant to the site owner, but are important to visitors, says Mueller. “Sometimes those small differences do play a role in regards to how people perceive your website.

If, for example, you have something that is on a financial topic and people come to you and say “well your information is okay but it’s presented in a way that looks very amateurish,” — then that could reflect how your website is perceived. And in the long run, could reflect something visible in search as well.” Mueller recommends that you seek independent opinions from unbiased sources if you are seeking insights on how to improve the presentation of your site.

Important queries for website owners:

Additionally, he cites a Google blog post from 2019 about core updates, which lists several questions site owners can ask themselves to improve site quality. This blog post lists several questions concerning site presentation: Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?,

Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?, Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?, Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?, Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them? Etc.

Mueller’s conclusion:

Additionally, site owners can ask users these questions, but they need to be prepared to take feedback objectively. “Asking users those kinds of tough questions, and trying to take the answers they give you in an objective way, often leads you to find things that you should be working on that might not be what you’re currently working on.

So that’s kind of the approach that I would take there. Try to get actual feedback from people and try to take action based on that. Because sometimes if you’ve been working on a website for so long, it’s like it’s your baby, and you know which parts are good, and you’re very protective when someone comes to you and says it’s ugly, or the colors are bad, or something like that. But sometimes that’s what you need to hear.” 

Any improvements to the quality of a website can take a long time to appear in search results. You cannot see changes on a month-by-month basis since this is a long-term endeavor.

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