For a long time, digital marketers focused primarily on SEO (both on-page tactics like keyword optimization and technical aspects like regular site updates) to attract visitors to their websites and drive sales. Now, there are whispers of “SEO being dead”, and businesses are starting to shift their attention to place a greater emphasis on user experience (or UX).
It’s true that UX is important. To say that SEO is dead and UX is all that matters, though, is a little (or a lot, really) simplistic. It might be more appropriate to say that SEO without UX is dead.
Will you see some results from focusing solely on SEO or UX? Sure. However, you’ll see better results, both in terms of search engine rankings and overall business growth, when you combine the two and approach digital marketing in a more holistic way.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of combining technical SEO with a great user experience. You’ll also find some strategies that will help you maximize both.
What Is UX?
At this point, some of you might be chomping at the bit, ready to dive into the specifics of how SEO and UX work together. However, others might be scratching their heads and asking something along the lines of “What actually is UX, though? What are we talking about here?”
If you fall into the second category, don’t feel bad. Let’s quickly clarify what UX is so we can make sure we’re all on the same page.
In the world of website design, UX is all about improving customer satisfaction and increasing customer loyalty by making websites functional and easy and enjoyable to use. When folks who visit your website are able to navigate it with ease, find what they need, and have a generally pleasurable experience doing so, you’ve provided them with a positive user experience.
Why UX and SEO Matter
Recently, marketers have started moving beyond SEO and placing more of an emphasis on UX.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing since prioritizing only SEO can backfire pretty badly. After all, it takes more than just proper keyword usage or addressing a few technical SEO elements to delight visitors and keep them coming back for more.
That being said, SEO doesn’t deserve to be left in the dust.
Instead of asking “SEO vs. UX: Which one matters more?”, you might be better off learning about the ways these two strategies work together. At the end of the day, the combination of improving UX and optimizing for search engines will take you much farther than you’d get by focusing on one tactic alone.
The following are some specific ways that SEO and UX work together to improve your website’s ranking and performance:
Improved Search Engine Rankings
This is perhaps the most important reason to focus on UX and SEO in conjunction with one another.
When you only address SEO tactics like keyword optimization, you can only get so far. This is especially true now that search engine algorithms have gotten savvier to some of the common tactics that brands use to give themselves a boost (such as keyword stuffing).
By pairing a strong SEO strategy with an emphasis on UX, you can improve your search engine ranking. You’ll also increase the likelihood that your site will show up in organic search results.
There are a few ways that paying attention to UX can boost SEO, including these:
- Better UX reduces your bounce rate (the number of people who click away from your website after visiting it)
- Better UX fosters customer loyalty and keeps people coming back for more
- Better UX allows for better mobile-readiness, which increases the likelihood that people will access your site while on the go
People who assume that they only need to focus on either SEO or UX often don’t realize that these two strategies share many of the same goals. This includes the following:
- Improved content readability and website navigability
- Improved content quality and detail to provide visitors with a positive experience and help them find what they need
- Mobile-friendliness to increase accessibility and accommodate people’s preference for conducting searches on mobile devices
- Improved page load speeds to reduce bounce rate and hold visitors’ interest
Because of the interconnected nature of SEO and UX design, improving one will lead to some improvements in the other. To see legitimate, noteworthy improvements, though, it’s better to make both a priority. This approach will help you see results sooner and ensure you’re covering all your bases.
Tips for Improving UX and SEO
Clearly, UX and SEO go hand in hand. How do you optimize your site for the perfect user experience-SEO combo, though?
Here are some best practices that will help you improve both aspects of your brand’s website:
Speed Up Your Site
One of the best ways to improve user experience and SEO is to speed up your website.
These days, people have short attention spans, and they don’t like to wait for web pages to load. When was the last time you gave a page more than a couple of seconds before clicking away and moving on to another site?
When someone clicks away from your site after a few seconds of waiting, they’re having a negative effect on your bounce rate. To avoid this and its ramifications, work on making sure your site loads as quickly as possible.
Practices like compressing files, optimizing images, and getting rid of redirects can all work wonders. They’ll make your website faster, boost your ranking, and provide visitors with a better experience.
High-quality UX involves making it easy for visitors to quickly find and access what they need from your site.
Don’t make people waste valuable time trying to find your blog or track down your contact information. Using well-designed menus and submenus simplifies the navigation process and ensures people find what they’re looking for in an efficient manner and don’t get frustrated with your site.
In general, try to save people from having to perform more than two clicks to get to any location on your site. Three or four clicks might not seem like a big deal, but that’s not the kind of society we live in. The more you make people click, the more likely they are to leave and check out your competitors’ sites instead.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendliness is essential if you want to have a high-ranking, well-performing website in 2020. When you consider the fact that the majority of internet searches take place from a mobile device, it makes sense that you would want a mobile-friendly site to provide your customers and potential customers with a good experience.
Mobile-friendliness allows you to rank higher on search engine results pages. It also decreases your bounce rate since people will be able to navigate your site with ease from their smartphone and find what they’re looking for.
It’s not the most thrilling topic to discuss, but strong website security also plays a key role in improving your search engine ranking and providing a high-quality user experience.
Think about it. Do you feel good about using a site that doesn’t seem secure? Are you eager to hand over your credit card information to make a purchase from this type of site?
Probably not. In fact, if you visit a site that has a sketchy vibe to it, you probably click away altogether, don’t you?
Now you see, a secure website is essential if you want to boost SEO and delight your customers. If people are clicking away from your site in a hurry because they question its security, that’s not going to look good to the search engine algorithm.
Create Great Content
Some marketers get so caught up with the technical side of things that they forget about the importance of creating great content.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how optimized your blog posts and web copy are. If you’re not putting out information that’s interesting, engaging, and relevant, people aren’t going to want to stick around or return to your site in the future.
Prioritize the technical side of things, certainly, but don’t forget that content quality is an essential part of SEO and UX. Remember, we’re going for a holistic approach here. That means addressing everything, including the quality of your copy.
Hire a Professional
Does all of this seem overwhelming to you? Are you unsure of how you’re going to find the time to improve your sites SEO and UX?
If this is the case, put down the paper bag, stop hyperventilating, and remind yourself that you don’t have to go at it alone.
Working with a professional that provides bespoke web design can help you get a high-quality, attractive, and functional website that delights your customers and gets them excited to come back again and again.
Level Up Your Site’s User Experience Design Today
Long story short, focusing solely on either SEO or UX is not going to help you see the kind of results you’re hoping to achieve. There’s a lot of power in looking at the whole instead of just individual parts.
You might be tempted to shift your attention to the technical side of things and think more about building your brand, website, and overall SEO strategy solely for the bots that control the algorithm. To see the best outcomes, though, it’s better to take a more well-rounded approach and optimize for both bots and humans (after all, it’s humans who are going to be buying your products and services).
Do you need help striking a balance between technical SEO and UX? If so, we’re here to help. Reach out today to learn more about our UX design and SEO services.