The Unexpected Relationship Between Color and SEO

There’s a lot that goes into search engine optimization, from compelling content to technical elements. Believe it or not, color actually plays a role in SEO as well. A greater one than you might expect.

Anyone who’s spent even a middling amount of time studying marketing knows that there’s a certain psychology behind color and how it applies to branding. Each color has its own subtle effect on a consumer. Each color has its own effect on moods, emotions, and ultimately behavior.

The problem is that, contrary to what some people would have you believe, this isn’t necessarily something you can leverage. As noted by consumer relationship management expert Helpscout, how we experience a particular color is largely personal. It’s influenced by our personal experiences, cultural background, personal preferences, and upbringing.

More importantly, it’s influenced by context. We do not experience color in a vacuum. The color red, for instance, can have a completely different meaning if it’s used to sell romantic gifts versus a men’s clothing line.

It’s ultimately about the personality you want your brand to convey, and whether or not your chosen colors are congruent with that. If there’s a major disconnect between color and identity, people are going to notice. They’re going to find it jarring, and as a result, they’re going to develop a negative association with your brand.

The first step, then, is to think about how you want your brand to make people feel. Think about its core personality traits, and what sort of emotions you want it to inspire in the audience. Per web design specialist 99Designs, the most common associations between colors and traits are as follows: 

  • Red. Passionate, angry, important, excited, commanding. 
  • Orange. Vital, playful, friendly, energetic. 
  • Yellow. Happy, youthful, optimistic, attention-grabbing.
  • Green. Stable, prosperous, natural, growing. 
  • Light blue. Tranquil, innocent, trustworthy, open.
  • Dark blue. Professional, secure, formal, mature, trustworthy. 
  • Purple. Dignified, creative, luxurious. 
  • Pink. Feminine, innocent, youthful, luxurious, modern. 
  • Brown. Rugged, earthly, old-fashioned.
  • White. Clean, virtuous, healthy, simple. 
  • Gray. Neutral, subdued, serious, mysterious, mature. 
  • Black. Powerful, sophisticated, edgy, luxurious. 

This is all well and good, but what does any of this have to do with search engine optimization? 

First, your website’s color palette plays a central role in the site’s usability. Effective use of contrasting colors and complementary colors can be the difference between a website that’s pleasing to the eye, and one that’s almost gaudy enough to cause physical pain. Our advice is to use your brand’s most noticeable colors around your call to action and keep everything else relatively neutral and simple. 

Second, how a website looks plays an important part in how well it draws in qualified leads. First impressions are everything here. A well-planned, well-designed site with good colors is going to be far more effective and successful than one that you’ve just thrown together.

The color choice doesn’t have a direct impact on your website’s SEO. But it influences how customers experience both your website and your brand. And as we well know, for Google, customer experience is everything.

The more audience-friendly your website is, the better it will ultimately perform. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.