Flat design is here to stay but does it aid SEO?


Image source: graphicdesignjunction


The recent introduction of the iOS 8 update has been somewhat controversial, but a lot can be said on the design front. Flat design was first introduced by Apple with iOS 7 and it proved to be popular. The design was aesthetically pleasing and lines were sharp and clear. iOS 8 continues the theme but with an added, clear glass effect.

There has been much talk that flat design is a crucial element in drawing visitors to a site and boosting search engine optimisation. However, the trend isn’t by any means new. It has been around for quite some time (take Windows 8 for example) which begs the question; does it actually aid SEO? One thing does remain true; it is becoming increasingly popular with web designers.

Flat design, also known as minimalist design, can be seen everywhere. Websites are adopting the theme and even mobile interfaces and icon designs on the majority of smart phones are flat. Natwest recently updated their website and opted for a minimalist design and there is a reason for this. The pages seem easier to navigate and less confusing to look at. Flat design can be comprised of a number of themes:


  • A clean and simple layout often with a clear background
  • Modern and simple typography
  • The use of bold or block colours
  • Geometric shapes
  • A sense of space between features


There is no denying that the trend is appealing. For any business to do well, it must have a high percentage of sales and a higher return on investment (ROI). There are many marketing strategies that can be applied but a website generally has to rank highly in order to draw more traffic.

As of late, more and more emphasis has been put on the importance of website design because it is often considered to be a forgotten link. There is some truth in this observation. A website that displays huge chunks of text, in a small font against a busy background is quite truthfully, going to turn visitors away.

The internet is society’s way of gaining information quickly and with less effort. Traditional print materials tend to be read word for word. Newspapers are read to get a full and thorough understanding of worldwide events. Similarly, textbooks are referred to in order to find information in depth. Web pages on the other hand, are skimmed.

According to a couple of articles written by Jakob Nielsen, web users tend to leave a page within 10-20 seconds of visiting it. Moreover, visitors on average, have enough time to read about 28% of the words displayed. In this case, flat design would help to boost SEO because clearer typography with content that is of high quality is more likely to draw visitors.

It is common knowledge that a cluttered layout with too many features will most likely frustrate users who once again, are looking to find what they need in the shortest amount of time. You can expect higher bounce rates with a busy design but does that necessarily mean that the use of shadows and curves is completely dead? It is granted that too much use of overly artistic designs can lead to a busy layout but some use of shadow is unlikely to turn customers away. Flat design can boost SEO but it has to be teamed with a number of other techniques to be fruitful.


  1. On-page techniques have to be worked on with the design. The typography may be simple and appealing but if the content isn’t great and the right keywords are not integrated, the layout goes to waste. The display may be easy to take in but without the correct method of internal linking, visitors may end up signing off.
  2. Off-page techniques are equally important. A minimalist layout can draw visitors but bad links are likely to put them off. Removing the bad links and link building are crucial to draw more users to your aesthetically pleasing website.


An integrated approach will work most effectively. Flat design most definitely creates a sense of trust that a complicated layout cannot provide. That sense of trust can be turned into real confidence through the implementation of on and off-page techniques. An integrated approach shows users that they can trust an organisation. Check out some examples of websites using flat design below:











By: Pareeta Nayee, Blogger