It is vitally important to strike a balance between SEO and user experience.
When was the last time you stopped to really look at how visitors behave on your website, how they feel about your website and ultimately the attitudes they form about your company based on your website?
Essentially, this is what we call “User Experience” or “UX”.
Today’s top brands strive to create a website with the ultimate user experience. The whole concept of “user experience design” is much talked about. There are seemingly endless factors that interact together in the most complicated ways and countless hours have been spent on SEO and user experience research.
So how do you maintain a healthy balance of optimizing your website and catering to your visitors, and what do these two have to do with each other?
A few weeks ago we started exploring this topic in an article titled “Why SEO and User Experience are Two Pease in a Pod”. Today we will continue along this train of thought and focus in on SEO content and discuss:
- What users demand of your content
- How Search Engines incorporate User Experience into Search Results
- How you can create a winning Content Strategy that addresses both UX and SEO at the same time.
- What you can expect to get out of UX and SEO.
Great SEO Content Fuels User Experience and Your Visitors Demand It!
We will be the first to admit there is an ongoing struggle between UX Designers and SEO Content Specialists. UX demands more white space and fewer words to get the message across. SEO Content writers know that the Search Engines are looking at all of the content on a website and how it works together to build credibility.
Images that are favored by UX Designers can bring out positive emotional responses from the visitor but are seen as blank canvases and unreadable by Search Engines.
But never fret! A great balance between design and content can be achieved without one or the other suffering. Content and design can work together to meet your visitors’ needs and expectations and ultimately sell your brand. With thousands of alternative websites at their fingertips your visitor will not tolerate incompetence on your site. Here are some examples:
- If the site was built to accommodate desktop display and the user is using their mobile device, the user leaves (read more about whether your mobile experience is annoying customers).
- If the content is poorly written, long winded or has nothing to do with their search, the user leaves.
- If videos crash or take too long to load, the user leaves.
Content Ideas Your Visitors Will Love
Have you thought about how some of the following content could ultimately improve your SEO and user experience and turn browsers at different stages of the buying funnel into paying customers, all while giving the Search Engines the type of content they are looking for?
- Uneducated visitors checking out their options can benefit from category and subcategory pages, buying guides, how to pages, product images and more.
- Educated visitors looking for more information can benefit from product comparisons, reviews, blog posts, forums and more.
- Visitors who know exactly what they want can benefit from detailed product pages.
- Visitors who need the extra final push towards making a decision can benefit from coupon and sales pages, company reviews and about pages.
Do you now see how you can develop content to meet the needs and expectations of your visitors, regardless of their buying stage, in order to improve SEO and User Experience?
How User Experience Affects Rankings
One of Google’s biggest priorities is to provide the best results to any given search. Google doesn’t want to show websites that provide a bad user experience as they hurt the usefulness of their Search Engine.
There are several factors that Google can or potentially can use to gauge SEO and user experience, including:
- Page load time
- Bounce rate
- Exit rate
- Time on site
Talk to us about a website audit to see where your website stands.
As Google is better able to evaluate the quality of content on your website and what it is actually saying the Search Engine has little tolerance towards content that is poorly written, keyword stacked, scraped or automatically generated (see our article on the latest Panda 4.0 update).
Google Webmaster Guidelines gives four basic principles when it comes to creating superior content, good SEO and user experience, all of which will ultimately help your rankings:
1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
2. Don’t deceive your users.
3. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
4. Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
Enter a Winning SEO Content Strategy and User Experience
The term “content strategy” is a fairly new discipline to online marketing as the number of mediums and places to be heard have increased. Start with your website and blog, add in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Slideshare along with new up and coming platforms and most businesses need a solid game plan for what information to share.
Rather than ad hoc content development as you go, you need to a game plan that will not only make your life easier but also help improve User Experience. A basic framework for developing a UX focused content strategy is to:
- Create framework for content to be created
- Define target audience
- Focus on message priorities and order
- Define Topics
- Set content type based on target audience interest
- Set content length based on target audience viewing characteristics and site design
With a clear strategy every marketing endeavor becomes focused on the end result. This helps create a platform that gives the user a reason to trust you. Your content speaks to user needs and expectations, yet conforms to the overall development of SEO and user experience. Each building block of your web presence is defined and implemented for optimum impact.
The Results of Merging User Experience and SEO
When you start optimizing your website and adding content that is focused on the User Experience you create an environment with more:
- CLARITY & READABILITY– Defining your content and rules of structure allows the website to be designed with a sleek and seamless user interface that flows from page to page.
- BETTER INFORMATION STRUCTURE – With a defined content strategy you can easily move into the information architecture across platforms with the framework created for your content focus.
- FOCUS ON THE USER – By putting the visitor first with User Experience, content research and writing can be focused on the audience, not so much on the topic. Rather than writing encyclopedia articles, you will be writing to engage your audience.
- OPTIMIZED CONVERSION – An enjoyable user experience is key to conversion. Often content strategy helps to define the optimal voice, tone or message that stimulates sales conversion.
Is it time to start thinking about your visitors?
If this article has opened your eyes to the many benefits you stand to gain by focusing on your visitors and not so much on your own brand or content, give us a call! We specialize in search engine optimization as well as SEO website design.
We can help evaluate your website architecture, existing content and the level of SEO and user experience it provides. We’ll compile a list of prioritized recommendations to get you started on developing a UX and SEO website that is bound to bring in more customers at the end of the day.