Keep Website Visitors Coming By Balancing SEO & User Experience

Back when Google was just a few years old, the company’s management penned down ten things they knew to be true. The first one on the list? ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow’. And then a few years later, they went ahead and invented Search Engine Optimization. Brands quickly replaced user design (UX) and instead opted for SEO-centric design with web pages stuffed with keywords, indexable content and crawlable link structures.

That said, user-centric design cannot be completely forgotten in a bid to serve the user. For instance, there are some design elements that makes it tough for Google to crawl a website successfully. A good website is one which balances both UX and SEO such that they complement each other perfectly.

Tips to keep in mind to ensure that both UX and SEO co-exist for a marketing win:

  • Stop Keyword Stuffing – Using keywords in your web content is essential to increase your website’s visibility among all search engine results. Do this wisely. Google’s intelligence can easily tell if you are unnecessarily filling your content with keywords that simply aren’t relevant to the web page. So don’t write for search engines. Write for your readers.
  • The onslaught of content that audiences are being exposed to ensures their ever-changing positions in the evolutionary customer lifecycle. Your website content has to be updated at a speed that’s faster than the change your audience is going through. To optimize user experience, ensure that your website is up to date with all the necessary news, trends and updates your brand is experiencing.
  • Forget complicated elements on your website. Your website should be clean, simple and easy to navigate. The average human being’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2008 to 8 seconds in 2013, which is one second lesser than that of a goldfish! So if viewers aren’t able to find what they are looking for in a few seconds, they’re going to switch on to something else. It’s also recommended that an XML sitemap be submitted to search engines. This will help them understand the structure of the website and index web pages, thereby aiding your SEO mechanism. When your websites doles out a stellar user experience, your traffic will increase and your SEO will grow as Google’s algorithm measures overall usability of the website.
  • Make the jump to responsive design – You never know what device your website is going to be viewed on. Between PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets that all vary in screen size, responsive design is your best bet. This feature automatically resizes and reformats your website based on the device the viewer is using.

Today, the equation has changed. It’s no longer about SEO vs. UX. It’s about SEO + UX.

At the end of the day, it boils down to the overall experience a website can offer a user. With Google’s 200+ signals and trademark Page Rank algorithm, it’s going to measure which websites users ‘vote’ as best among all the others in the search engine sphere. And that’s what is going to matter the most!

Messaging Apps – The Next Big Thing in Social Media Marketing

Most smart phones users are familiar with messaging apps and at some point have used at least one, simply because it’s easy to communicate with people who use different devices and platforms. With an array of services like sending voice messages, photos, videos, files and creating chat groups, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app with 400 million monthly active users. SnapChat (with 100 million active users) and Wickr round off the top 3 messaging apps.

Why Do Marketers Love Messaging Apps?

Consider these statistics:

80% of internet users own smart phones and 89% of their time is spent on using messaging apps. Approximately $28.7 billion is being spent on mobile advertising this year, and that figure is expected to increase to $65.8 billion by 2019. With 1600 million mobile phone users, marketers and business owners are realising the value of targeting messaging app users for promoting and advertising their brands.

Australians make up 1% of the Facebook users around the world. With 2.4 million users on WhatsApp and 2 million users on SnapChat, the Australian market finds the simple and secure services provided by Facebook and these messaging apps very appealing.

The private interaction offered by these apps is an opportunity for marketers to interact closely with the target audience and create a loyal customer base for their business and services, says a report from Pew Research.

Marketing Your Brand Through Messaging Apps – Pros and Cons

While the adoption of messaging apps has been rapid globally and in Australia, marketers need to approach this medium with some caution.

  • Messaging is a private medium of communication, and marketing messages can be seen as intrusive. Be creative when creating content and make it relevant to the target market. Where possible, use pictures and short videos to get your message across.
  •  Messaging apps like SnapChat automatically deletes messages after it is received. Ensure that your messages are snappy and attractive so that it is read as soon as it is received.

As is the case with any new/emerging media, marketing through messaging apps has to be part of an overall marketing strategy that is based on the habits and requirements of the target market. While it offers the ability to target the user instantly and easily, messaging apps may not offer the staying power and durability that a true marketing message deserves.