Today everybody knows the importance of being on the first page of search results. Visibility is what makes your business grow, and SEO is the thing that improves it - simple enough. But what many people seem to forget is that the growth of your business mainly depends on your customers.
The user experience (UX) also has a large field of optimization and requires certain expertise in that field. Of course, in order to achieve good SEO, you don’t have to be a UX expert but every experienced web design professional will tell you that SEO and UX need to go hand in hand if you want the best results.
That’s not that hard to understand - we always have a visitor in mind in the field of web marketing, and UX optimization is simply focusing on that visitor. If we’re able to meet their needs completely that will certainly rank us on the first page. That’s why you need to build a relationship between UX and SEO, and here are some tips to make it work.
1. Know their language
Let's start at the core of every online marketing - keyword research. The keywords affect a lot of things on your website, from navigation to the content to site messaging to an overall web design. Although they’re not the most important things on your website, they will always remain an essential part of your SEO.
The keyword research has developed throughout the course of years to a kind of art and only experienced SEO professionals know how to use them in order to achieve satisfying results. However, you won’t be able to get most out of them without without the help of user experience optimization.
The most common mistake of people who don’t pay attention to the UX is the fact that they’re using the words which searchers have difficulty understanding. It happens very often that phrases in keywords come from within the industry and therefore the language becomes pretty technical and known only to professionals in that field. But our searchers are not our coworkers and we can’t expect them to know all the ‛official’ words. That’s why you need to be aware of how they call the things they’re looking for.
The next step is to recognize their intent because certain phrases will not always mean what we think they mean. This mixup often appears when the searches want to find tips on how to do something themselves and end up getting the recommendation for professional help (or vice versa).
The intent can become clearer if you get into long-tail phrases, but here you’re in danger of making an assumption. It seems like you’re gonna need a crystal ball, but good UX optimization will get the job done.
Of course, there is a plethora of bad UX design examples floating around the web, you can even take a look at the extensive library of examples over at BadUx, to remind yourself what not to do when taking care of your UX. Take the picture below as a guiding beacon of how to classify your user intent:
2. Catch their eye
Ranking doesn’t exist just for the sake of competition and you want the researchers to click on your site. Things seem pretty simple - the higher you are in the search results there is more chance you’re gonna be clicked. But the truth is you can get clicked more than a higher ranking competition if you know how to catch the eye of your users.
The trick is to use the title tags’ limited space (approximately 70 characters) wisely in order to get their attention. Your language must fit the search (keywords) but it must also provide additional information that is relevant enough to deserve the click. The breadcrumb trail or the URL on the page should be a confirmation that this is the site the user is searching for.
It would be good if it can add some value, but the most important thing is that it matches the searchers’ intent completely. In the end, there are meta descriptions and they are your final chance to persuade them to visit your site. Their larger space (about 150 characters) can get you carried away so you need to be precise and address their needs directly, using their language.
For example, a good use of title tags is this screenshot below. It is structured as such: first, the keyword, separated by pipes from the brand name. Although pipes are no longer a necessity, since you can now freely use punctuation in the title tags, they do look great, and serve as an awesome separator.
3. Keep them engaged
Once a visitor enters your site the job is far from done. Today people are always in the hurry and if they don’t have a clear notion where they are and what they have to do to fulfill their needs they’ll be off. You have less than a minute to confirm you have the thing they’ve come for.
The first thing they’re gonna see is your business logo which should be obvious and provide some association with their needs. The second thing they’ll check out is the header to confirm your page will provide them with the information they’re looking for, so your header tags should provide similar information as found on the title tag.
Now they’re gonna start moving around and your navigation must allow them to do that freely - this is the point where the keywords really come in handy. The thing that will completely fulfill their needs is the content optimization - this is the point where you have to deliver your goods.
You must deliver everything they’re looking for, so keep the content focused on that need and use the links as directions to additional information. Once you successfully lead them to their primary goal call to action buttons should be there to seal the deal
A great example of an awesome call to action must be the one you can find on Netflix’ website, not only do they offer one free month, they also reassure their users that they can cancel anytime, and they do all of this in keeping with their color scheme.
Remember that an improvement is always an option. You can make a change that works, but the next change could do even better. Every business relationship is based on the adaptation process to your customers’ needs.
Chloe Smith is a business consultant for Bapple a website development agency based in Sydney, a cycling enthusiast, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).