I think its safe to say that most people are noticing the trend of website layouts, and the general direction they are moving in.
Simply put GOOGLE. Google has been leading the way for most of all web activity for some time now. Their numbers are growing everyday, and it doesn’t seem like that is changing anytime soon. Googles’ updates of its algorthim, determine how the site is viewed in its search engine. With Google “crawling” and “indexing”, using bots to continuously scan and read websites, its constantly updating information of sites.
It means for you to be relevant in the search engine and general SEO, all sites to have a similar layout, conforming to GOOGLE’s standards. Shown below is a good rendering of the basic key points Google seasrches for.
If you do not follow these perimeters, you are most likely taking a negative hit by the Google bots. In turn, damaging your online presence. A great example is pizza places are googled usually by area. It is very important to market your area, and be seen, as people usually settle for first to catch their eye for convenience. If you want to be on the first page of the listings, your website has to hit key factors.
Logo- Usually flush left at top of screen. Or can be centered. Logo doesn’t necessarily have to big, but does have to be noticeable. most times reappears same spot on others pages as a direct link to the homepage.
Main Content- Below navigation and the primary slider (slideshow of images). Bold text and imagery displayed. Located center of page. Usually contains a header. In example Welcome! or name of site/ slogan.
Primary Navigation- Usually flush right near top of screen. Or can be centered. Always contains drop down options for additional pages. Some contain transition features or a sticky feature.
Teaser Info- Below main content. Broken down into bold text/ images. These are usually buttons (clickable links) to other pages, displaying important content from your site.
Footer- Very bottom of the page. Usually separated from rest of the page with a page break or color change. Contains widgets to search site faster, and vital information. Example Contact us or location.
Social Media Links- This is the one that is probably the most flexible. Usually top of the page, flush right. Or if there is another widget present, as close to that area as possible with crowding. Usually reiterated in bottom widget. Must be clickable direct links to the other platforms.
The bright side to this is all major content management systems (CMS) and backend technologies support this and gear you toward it. With many templates available with previews, it is easy to make the change. Also, these changes haven’t come from Google over night, but they have been slowly leading everyone there for the past 10 years. Chances are if you do have an old website it can be easily upgraded, and with everyone viewing modern layouts at one time or another, you are accustomed to look for it; and have some knowledge of correct design ingrained in you.
With Google being the leader for the foreseeable future, we recommend for everyone to get on board and do what you can now. Minor updates and changes can be made to continue to hit the key points and make you relevant. It is best to try and stay ahead of the game as best as you can now, before it becomes too big of a change.
As always, us here at Rivera Projects are always happy to help and can lead you in the right direction.