If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about SEO in the last few years it’s the fact that it remains as unpredictable as ever. As frustrating as the latest algorithm updates have been – specifically Penguin, Panda and Mobilgeddon – the truth is that they have made the web a better place. Some might say that SEO, in its simplest form, is the science of ranking a website and its pages on SERPs, but this is just one part of the story, only togheter UX and SEO leads to success. Search Engine Optimization is about understanding exactly what users and consumers are looking for and providing them with the value they seek.
It’s becoming clear that Google considers user behaviour signals (e.g.: navigability, page-load speed, cluttering above the fold, engagement level etc.) in its organic search algorithm. This can only mean one thing: SEOs have to think beyond the keyword to truly understand what the user needs. In the past couple of years, search engines have relegated many traditional SEO techniques to a supportive role and shifted their focus to experiences that pique the interest of users.
UX and SEO Leads to Success of your Business
Studies have shown that websites which pay attention to UX are consistently rewarded with better SEO rankings and are less vulnerable to unexpected algorithmic updates. Aligning your strategy with Google’s vision, improving the efficiency and relevancy of your site, and applying the best practices of traditional SEO will help you gain the competitive edge.
“When SEO and UX share in their knowledge and goals, the result is a usable site that also performs.” – Source: Laurel Marcus, SearchEngineWatch
How can UX Improve SEO?
This is the age old question. How could two services, with seemingly divergent priorities, complement each other? The answer is simple. You want your visitors to find you, so you implement the best practices of SEO. But once you are found you also want to impress and engage them. This is where UX comes into play. Failing to provide your visitors with a positive experience will affect your site’s performance and endanger its survival on the long run.
It’s easy to see how UX and SEO have adopted a rather combative attitude. With Google’s continuous launch of rabid animal-named algorithms, the SEO environment had become quite reactive in the past. The last thing SEOs wanted amidst a crisis was for some UX pro to extend an olive branch.
But SEO and UX aren’t enemies, at least not anymore. They are dance partners. Most digital experts have come to the understanding that SEO meshes well with UX. That’s because legible, valuable, concise content, sprinkled with powerful keywords, serves the purpose of both UX and SEO.
What About On-Page SEO?
The best practices of SEO are here to stay. Nobody is expecting you to ignore the nuts and bolts of on-page SEO. There will always be a need for relevant meta-data, keywords, optimized images and high-quality content. This is actually the best way to tell Google what your website’s all about.
“In today’s world, you are who Google says you are. You cannot stop people from finding you online, but you can make sure they find what they need.” – Source: David Legin, BedBugGuide
However, as the internet continues to evolve, so will on-page optimization, and I believe it will come to encompass more and more elements of UX. Smaller companies have to pay close attention to their on-page optimization.
The Barebones of a Good UX
Good UX starts with a great website design. Most publications go through a redesign once every 1-2 years. That’s because they are responding to the heeds of their visitors. The requirements for websites nowadays seem almost unfair: they have to be responsive, intuitive, user-friendly and engaging. But hey, as long as people connect with them it’s worth it.
Great UX is human. Personalizing your site, sharing stories and showcasing your employees are only a few ways to come out from behind the digital curtain. Blogging remains one of the most effective methods of enhancing UX, because it gives you the opportunity to engage directly with visitors. From e SEO perspective, it will also help you appease the search engine with fresh content and relevant keywords.
‘As UX takes on greater value, it is important to give a face and personality to your website.’ Source – SEJ
How to Measure UX
We all know how to measure SEO. Countless of tools were designed for this exact purpose. But how do you measure UX? From a ROI standpoint this can be very difficult. However, there are several clues you can use to see if you’re on the right path. I’m talking about bounce rate, engagement level, average session duration, and conversion rate.
Keep in mind that user experience is now a factor in Google’s ranking signals, so developing your strategy around UX and SEO is crucial for the success of your business. UX is the key to the future of SEO.