People are creating new uses for the Internet and advancing how it is being used. From news, social engagement to streaming live events from across the globe, the Internet has changed how information is delivered. In the background though, a lot though has gone into SEO and UX (user experience).
How do search engines know what information is most suitable for you, the user? The answer is that search engines like Google are relentlessly trying to adapt to YOU! By understanding the online user and their online experience more in-depth, the search engines can provide better quality results.
What Do Search Engines Take Into Account in Understanding UX?
Search engines can identify, using certain metrics, whether a user is satisfied with the results delivered to them in the SERPs. Signals such as:
- Bounce rate
- Average time spent on the site
- Average time on a page
- Average page views
- Conversion rate
All this information is freely available to website owners and it begs the question; if Google finds this information important, shouldn’t you? The Google algorithm Panda 4.0 was rolled out because irrelevant web rankings led to poor user engagement and a poor user experience. This needed to change and Google was very aware of that. Are you incorporating SEO and UX to create a better website that 1) is found on the web easily and 2) still offers an online experience? “Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience” Webmaster Guidelines
Optimize the Online Experience
It’s simple, if Google is trying to create a better UX then they expect other websites to do the same. Websites providing a meager user experience can’t expect to be rewarded by Google with better rankings. However, we all need to bear-in-mind that it’s not just the experience of your website that Google cares about, it’s the whole search experience. From searching to finding and then engaging; these combined results are what correlate to an optimized UX.
SEO and UX: A Winning Combination
How do you integrate SEO and UX on your website to create a web experience that encourages the user to engage and come back again? Here are some key points we all need to work on.
There is much more to building personas than simply complying with the standards found in Google Analytics such as demographics, personality, or gender (except if those features are essential to the website). Developing personas of the type of users you are targeting is essential to any form of marketing.
Create your own user personas by investigating the online activities that current users are taking on your website and match them up against your target audience. These personas should be representatives of who your online audience should be. Have you created personas for your business?
Create User-Friendly Websites That Are Easy to Navigate
Users need to be able to navigate around your website easily. There should be no confusion. The website should in-fact be designed around the personas you established, making sure you meet the user’s online needs. Creating a path that fits each persona is one way to do this. User paths help you develop a site that makes sense. The user needs to understand how to reach their goals when visiting a site.
The great thing about navigation paths that are designed around personas is that they open up a world of opportunity for tailored content, keywords, and internal linking. It also creates a unique experience for each of the personas.
Calls-to-action are of immense importance to SEO and UX. Creating content, links, and buttons that help the user take appropriate action is important for conversion and measuring goals. E.g. Purchase today and get free shipping! UX helps SEO by making the call-to-actions more click-able. SEO can help bring a specific page to the user, but UX helps guide the user to actually take action.
Apply UX and SEO to Win
Investing in a website is expensive and if you want to make your website work for you it needs traffic, the right kind of traffic. Once you have that target traffic on your site you need them to enjoy their web experience on your site, leading to user satisfaction. You could have a website that has been optimized perfectly in terms of SEO: great backlinks, awesome content, keyword-rich meta tags, etc., but if it offers a poor user experience people will simply leave.
Once you get the right user to your site it is UX that helps to keep them there interacting, browsing, and ultimately taking action. That is why UX is the future of SEO. They can no longer be looked at as separate entities but as joined competencies.
Is your website optimized to be found by the search engines? Is your website offering a fantastic user experience? Could your site be better focused on the personas of your audience?
Photo credit Elven Nicky