How to find the optimal balance between UX design and SEO

Sometimes eating too much in one sitting is not a great idea. You’ll start feeling bloated and eventually enter the food coma stage. We’ve all been there and it’s no fun. The purpose of bringing up this anecdote is to argue that having too much of something can be overwhelming and convince us to never do it again. In terms of SEO and UX, one is sprinkled in too much while the other incurs the effect of overdoing it. Can you guess which is which?

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Understanding the effect of UX on SEO

Keyword phrases and backlink building should still be an integral part of your SEO strategy. It’s still a common practice all SEO strategists and marketers shouldn’t let go of. But there comes a point in time where search engines must expand their horizons and begin factoring in other metrics to handle page rankings. Especially when SEO strategies fail to recognize that their user experience (UX) strategy is just as important.

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The top search engine is arguably the most talked about. Yes, it’s Google. People conduct nearly 3 million searches a day on Google so they must ensure that users are finding what they need. Finding what they need isn’t clicking the link, browsing for a few seconds, and bouncing right after. Google knows it’s more than just that. Google is noticing the importance of UX and how a UX strategy works to increase conversions. Sure, SEO will escort users to a website, but the UX strategy ensures that the business vision, user needs, and technical abilities are aligned to offer solutions for target users. Without a great UX strategy that incorporates SEO tactics, kiss your SEO rankings goodbye, and quite frankly some website activity. Let me explain.

 

Two common mistakes that’ll hurt your SEO and UX strategies

When your SEO approach is hurting your UX strategy (and vice versa) then user activity will decrease immensely. Organizations must make both work hand in hand and be integrated from the start. If they’re not, then that means you’re making one, two, or both of these mistakes mentioned below.

 

1. Boosting SEO efforts without UX in mind

SEO can sometimes be misleading to most marketers that focus on nailing all keyword opportunities. But what marketers fail to realize is that users don’t convert when they click on a website link. Teams can get users to convert by buying a product, subscribing to a blog, or signing up for a webinar. There are different kinds of lead conversion processes. But what every lead conversion process has in common is that each process is designed to create an experience that entices users to hit the checkout or subscribe button. Think of UX as the home plate in baseball.

 

2. Designing a website from scratch with zero optimized content

Designing a website is difficult, and a project that I would gladly leave to our design team. However, that’s just a part of creating the perfect web design experience for users. A design can be amazing on its own, but it must capture prospects to be effective. This is where SEO comes into play. Optimizing the content on all web pages will make search engines like Google notice the content. Think of SEO as the batter at the box looking to get on base.

 

While my baseball analogies may be terrible, they make sense. Teams need to treat SEO and UX as one rather than treating each on their own. Luckily, there are a few ways to have SEO and UX work hand in hand.

 

Algorithms change, so should your SEO tactics

As I mentioned before, SEO is no longer enough to generate conversions. Google views SEO  in a way that’s more catered to everyday users rather than businesses that are exhausting keyword approaches.

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Google’s algorithm is no longer based on who can get the most backlinks. They view SEO as it is all about UX by sharing goals that put teams in the shoes of buyers to understand their buying intent. In other words, Google wants to ensure that websites are producing quality content that is optimized and follows a UX strategy ready to spit out solutions fast. Below are 3 ways teams can change their SEO tactics.

 

1. Invest in website responsiveness

UX and SEO work better when a website is responsive

83% of people expect a website to load in 3 seconds or less and 74% are more likely to return to mobile-friendly websites. Teams need a responsive website or else website traffic will decrease and all SEO efforts will be useless. The website must also be mobile-friendly for all mobile users. For starters, increasing readability, eliminating unnecessary text, testing all CTAs and links, and eliminating any popups will do. It’s important to note that a website structure that isn’t responsive will always finish last. This includes and is not limited to the menu bar being slow, navigation lagging, or copy that is misleading.

 

2. Focus on user satisfaction

User satisfaction is important for your UX strategy

As stated on Google’s algorithm page, the search engine evaluates webpages that are ready to use. Google is now keeping in mind the pain points that users may be facing when they land on a page that is either very slow or doesn’t match what they’re looking for. When users aren’t satisfied with what they get, Google will take that into account and knock your ranking down. To avoid such tragedy, teams should consider writing longer (1,000+ word) posts for their blog or making content more readable on the website. It all depends on where your team’s website currently stands. The most common problem I see is a website that has too many headings and too much copy within display cards. This is very overwhelming and a one-way ticket to back to Google.

 

3. Build a UX design that gives off a good first impression

UX strategy must give prospects a great first impression

Once a user clicks a website link, the design of the website is the next thing they’ll notice. The UX design must build trust and boost brand awareness to form a good impression. The objective is to make the website relatable to all users to ensure they come back. Adding customer reviews, case studies, and employee photos can instill trust and be deciding factors in great user experience. Also, be sure to stay as consistent as possible on all web pages by creating a style guide. To wrap it up, treat your SEO strategy as an escort for users, with your UX strategy holding the power to turn users into fans or even enemies.

 

Remember, search engines want to direct visitors to what they’re looking for. That’s why a website that’s easy to navigate, contains quality content, and answers questions users have is just as important as keywords and backlinks.

 

Think of UX and SEO as one strategy

SEO and UX should no longer be treated individually. The main objective is to tell Google and other search engines that your website is a valuable source for users. Your UX strategy must be user-centric and build strong relationships that will keep users satisfied. Align your SEO and UX strategy to paint a beautiful picture so search engines are more inclined to take a chance. Seriously.

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