The SEO Landscape is Changing
User Experience and Search Engine Optimization have often been at odds with each other. As the world of SEO shifts into a new phase of web marketing, these worlds that have always been kept separate are now beginning to overlap.
The root of User Experience (UX) is about making a website easy to navigate and informative while also being easy on the eye. Colour schemes, font styles, and graphics traditionally take centre stage. SEO, on the other hand, has always been about getting traffic to your site using keywords, backlinks, and meta tags.
But now, as the search engines get better at understanding the context of search terms and relating results to the specific searcher, the SEO tactics that once proved successful for websites are now almost completely obsolete. The new age of SEO is about quality, not quantity.
The Rules for Quality Content:
1. Write in a way that makes sense to the reader:
Write like you would speak to someone face to face. Be real and keep the language simple.
2. Be visually appealing:
Don’t write in big, long blocks of text. Break it up by adding sections with engaging titles, or add relevant, original images and videos
3. Get Creative:
In most industries, just about every topic has been talked about, blogged about, and there are probably half a million infographics on it. So be original and give your readers a perspective they might not have thought of before.
4. Keep it Simple:
If there’s an easier way to explain something, use it.
Trust Is The Unifying Quality
A good user experience is based on trust. When a visitor clicks on your website, they are expecting to find the information that they’re after in a timely way. With every click, trust is built up between your business and the visitor. Inconsistencies like broken links, vague menu titles, and scattered information can all affect UX negatively. A consistent layout from page to page and an obvious navigation progression is integral to building up that trust.
For SEO, this building of trust must be clear to the search engines as well. If the search engine robots determine that your website is untrustworthy, or spammy, then your website will have a hard time making it to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages. A good website architecture like the one pictured, will help the robots decipher your website’s content easily.
Think Outside the Box.
User experience extends beyond just your website. It touches all areas of your online presence, for example, your social media profiles, your client reviews, and your blog. How well you engage and interact with your fans has a huge impact on how others will experience your brand. Earlier this year Google introduced its new authorship markup. In a nutshell, it allows you to connect your Google+ account to your website so when your website appears in the search results your profile picture will appear beside it. This lends credibility and trust to your webpage and yourself and helps to increase click through rates.
Part of Google’s ranking factors includes your activity on social media channels. The more engaged you are and present on sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even Yelp, the better your chances are of ranking well. If you’ve ever taken a look at your Google Analytics, then you know that social media is important in driving traffic to your website. In particular, Google’s own social channels Google+ and YouTube have the most benefit. Google+ offers a lot of benefits to your site, and YouTube increases your searchability across many of Google’s properties.
In the new age of digital marketing, the relationship between Search Engine Optimization and User Experience has become so intertwined that one cannot exist without the other. When you change one, the other is affected. Good UX will lead to good SEO and good SEO will lead to good UX. Like a traditional Venn diagram, where the two worlds of SEO and UX overlap is where the magic happens for both sides. One cannot wholly exist without the other.