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!