Our good friend Mr. John Mueller has suggested during the Search Central SEO meeting that the presentation, or appearance, of a website, has the potential to influence search visibility if the website is unable to meet Google’s expectations for quality.

This came about when Mueller was responding to a question regarding how to fix a gradual traffic decline. He advised that designers look at the different website elements which may affect the visitor’s perception. There may be an issue with the website’s quality if there is a decrease in traffic. 

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What is the importance of website presentation?

A website owner asked Mueller why his traffic continued to drop over an extended period. Mueller responded that it may be worth going over details that matter to visitors but seem unimportant to the website owner. 

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“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 that is visible in search as well.”

– John Mueller

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As recommended by the man himself, Mueller suggests seeking independent opinions from unbiased sources on ways to improve a website’s presentation. He goes on to mention that Google published a blog post back in 2019 with a list of questions website owners can ask themselves on how to improve their website quality. 

This blog post listed the following questions:

  • 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 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?

Most people cannot handle criticism which is why website owners may use these questions as a guideline, however, they need to be prepared to take the feedback they receive objectively. 

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“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.” – John Mueller 

– John Mueller

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Why should you care?

For website owners to have consistent traffic to their website, performing a website presentation-quality check every so often will assist in keeping consistent traffic. Visitors are extremely judgemental about a business based on the presentation of its website, regardless of whether a business can do the job or not. The old saying first impressions make last impressions is true, especially for websites. It is important to note that any changes made to improve the quality of a website may take some time to reflect in the search engine results. However, like weight loss, it is a long-term effort and not something where you will see changes instantly. Read these website tips and tricks for inspiration. 

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