We all know that search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo use a litany of variables to determine when and where to display a website. Factors as technical as Meta Descriptions and H1 tags can play a big role in how well a page ranks. Of course things that users actually see like compelling content and lead generating forms play a major role in SEO as well. But, where is the line? About what does a search engine really care? Does color affect SEO? It may surprise you to learn that: Yes, color can affect your SEO.
The indirect effect of color on SEO
Ok, in an historical sense, color does not necessarily affect SEO directly. Short of using color to hide text, search engines don't factor much color data into their algorithms. In other words, search engines don't prefer blue <#006E90> to yellow <#FFCC08>.
However, any good search engine does prefer a site that is easy to see and use. Any good search engine does prefer a site that interests and compels its clients. Any good search engine sees value in a positive user experience.
The technical effect of color on SEO
In a rather technical way, color can affect SEO simply by making your website more or less usable.
- Legible: Here contrast is the key issue. The text should contrast the background enough to be easily distinguished.
- Readable: This can be a problem for dark sites. Foreground text should not be too bright in contrast as the text becomes difficult to read when scrolled.
- Clickable: Simply put, your links should look like links, and the other stuff should not.
The psychological effect of color on SEO
Color psychology isn't an exact science ... oh wait, it IS.
- Meaning: Colors have perceived meanings that differ only slightly among people of a particular target audience.
- Combinations: What are Target's colors? How about McDonald's? What about Nike's? Color(s) and the pairing thereof impact memorability.
- Attention: Are you more likely to notice to a sign that is white, yellow or orange? Are you more likely to read a screen with a white, colored or textured background? (The list goes on.)
The cultural effect of color on SEO
When considering what effect colors might have on your particular culture, pay attention to what you shouldn't do.
- Alluring: Don't look like everyone else in your field. You don't want to get lost in the crowd.
- Amicable: Don't let community preferences go unnoticed. You don't want to chose the school colors of the revival football team.
- Attractive: Don't look ... well ... ugly. You don't want people to miss the great things you offer because the colors are unattractive.
In the end a great site that looks great will likely perform better than a great site that looks awful. So, pay attention to the color even if your viewers don't. Become one of the COLOURlovers.