Guest post by Juno Yates.
The term “online marketing” covers a lot of territory, from strategic to creative to persuasive to technical. As an advertiser, you need to master numerous skills (or play to your strengths are hire for the rest) and leverage each of them to accomplish your marketing goals.
As an experienced digital marketing professional, you know search engine optimization (SEO) should be an integral part of your website development process, rather than an afterthought. But you also probably know this is not consistently done.
To maximize the success of your next website launch, here’s a quick explanation of why it’s vital to combine user experience (UX) design with SEO, along with five ways SEO and UX design can come together to enhance your startup application development projects.
UX Design + SEO = Successful Application Development Projects
In the early days of the web, SEO was relatively simple. You filled a page with keywords, and your website would rank number one. If only it were that straightforward today! Now, Google and the other web search engines consider more than 200 factors when determining which pages to rank highly on their search engine result pages (SERPs).
This means that elements of UX have been integrated into SEO best practices. How simple is your site to navigate? Do you have quality content that makes your visitors engaged? Is your website secure, quick, and mobile-friendly?
In fact, even Google agrees with this, since their guidelines emphatically recommend putting the users as the main focus rather than search engines.
How Can UX Design & SEO Work Together?
Here are five ways to combine SEO with UX design to maximize your website’s visibility in organic search results and optimize on-site conversions.
Using the right keywords enables Google to rank your content on the basis of relevance to the searches users carry out online. This makes your keyword the bridge between you and the user, that later on goes to determine the value of user experience you offer. Aligning your content with the keywords your audience is using requires research and careful planning.
A (still too) common mistake while applying keywords is to ”stuff” your content with the target keyword phrase as much as possible. That’s not the best approach (and hasn’t been for a very long time); keyword stuffing is a bad SEO practice that every digital marketer should avoid. It’s bad UX and Google no longer rewards it.
What does matter is using your target keyword phrase strategically, keeping in mind best practices for on-page SEO.
Improving Page Load Time
Consistently one of Google’s most prominent ranking factors, page load time has become even more significant over the past couple of years.
For example, did you know that only a 1-second delay in page load reduces your website hits by 11%? Also, poor page load time will hurt your revenue numbers and the overall user experience. If your website doesn’t load in 2 seconds or less, 47% of your visitors will leave it. Obviously, this will affect your bounce rates too.
Website Visitor Metrics to Help UX
SEO revolves around understanding website analytics, which also provides insights for the design process.
Gaining a thorough understanding requires evaluating Google Analytics metrics like audience demographics, popular page content, page-to-page navigation, average time spent on page, how rapidly a website loads, and how far a user scrolls down a page.
This information is critical for designers as it helps them craft a website’s design, format, and layout. To sum it up, SEO can help to discover the sort of experience users need and UX designers carry it out.
Your website’s architecture and layout are a fundamental part of the user experience. If you don’t provide clear navigation to help visitors find the information they’re looking for, they’ll get frustrated and quickly leave the website. To keep this from happening, consider these points:
- Your home page should be easily and obviously accessible from all of your web pages.
- Categories should be plainly labeled, with subcategories following consistently. These should all be accessible from the main menu.
- A search box must be prominently available, as users may not know under which category a specific product/service/information is found.
Understanding the Search Intent Of Your Prospects
If you don’t understand the search intent of your target audience, you won’t be able to optimize your website content for organic discovery. And you won’t be able to increase conversion rates if prospects can’t find your website, or can’t find what they are looking for once they do reach it.
It comes down to developing an effective SEO marketing strategy. When you understand why people are searching for your products and services and what they’re searching for, you can design your website accordingly.
Basically, better SEO means better UX design and vice versa. Organic search optimization can drive traffic to your site, but those visitors will quickly leave without an intuitive and productive user experience. So, UX provides engagement factors backed by search engine algorithms that can improve or damage your search rankings.
SEO and UX are two fundamental components of content marketing. When utilized together, however, they become something more powerful than the sum of their parts. The combination can elevate your website ranking as well as provide a remarkable user experience.
Juno Yates is a content writer for Big Human, which designs digital products, build brands, and sometimes entire companies.