This month we are excited to have one of our partners, Creative Blend, write a guest blog post for us, delving deeper into how UX and SEO are closely linked together.
In the days where competition for rankings is higher than ever, SEO managers are working hard to glean any snippets of insight from Google to boost their position in the SERPS. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and popping the odd alt text on an image file, as a new player has moved onto the board in the form of UX design.
Google has increasingly dropped in mentions of the importance of collaboration between SEO and UX and the combined effect they have on a website’s search results, so it’s time to delve in and discover just how best to develop a strategy to include both sides of the coin.
Never underestimate the growing power of mobile responsiveness
It may have been mentioned many times before, but there’s no getting away from the fact that having a top notch mobile-responsive website design is of the utmost importance to user experience, as mobile web usage has now overtaken desktop worldwide (Statcounter, 2018). The knock-on effect of great mobile UX is an increase in terms of engagement and lower bounce rate on a website, which signals to Google that the page is relevant to the search query used.
Here’s a word from the big Google guys themselves on the subject,
“Our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” 2016
Create content to exceed your audience’s expectations
Land on the AirBnb website, and you’ve probably searched something along the lines of ‘Where to stay in XXX’. Pop in a city such as New York, and you’ll not only get a list of AirBnb properties, but also guides to each neighbourhood, restaurant tips and local tours and experiences. This wasn’t what was initially queried, but it’s most probably going to be relevant for anyone heading to New York for a period of time.
By capturing other connected queries such as ‘Where to eat in New York’ or ‘Tours in New York’ and building landing pages for them within the website they will capture people who are perhaps interested in travelling to the city – but may not have considered Airbnb. By using UX principles of clear CTA and clever page layout, the user is drawn from the initial landing page to journey throughout the site, showing Google that the information is relevant to the search query as time on site is high and bounce rate low.
Steven Levy, expert on Google explain the simple correlation between engagement and rankings,
“On the most basic level, Google could see how satisfied users were… the best sign of their happiness was the “Long Click” — This occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return. That meant Google has successfully fulfilled the query.”
How to make Google love you (and your website)
The world of UX and SEO can seem overwhelming when planning your web strategy, but luckily there’s plenty of quick wins to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance to storm page one – and most importantly, remain there.
- Compress all images to improve site speed – a useful online tool is CompressJPEG or you could use Photoshop.
- Ensure easy navigation throughout the site – utilise mobile-friendly burger menus or a primary navigation bar across the site as many people may not come through your homepage and will need guiding through to a conversion point.
- Reevaluate your CTA – are they the right size, colour, copy? User testing these is a great way to determine what works.
- Remove any keyword stuffing – this is a surefire way to drop rankings.
- Ensure the copy on your pages is engaging and relevant to search queries – if Google values your page it will award extra sitelinks in the SERPS which gives users increased opportunity to click through to your website.
‘We only show Sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good Sitelinks, or we don’t think that the Sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.’ Google, 2018
With Search Seven specialising in SEO and other search marketing services, we rely on developers to implement our recommendations. Often this is done by in-house teams or their own 3rd partner agencies, but sometime they don’t have the resource or the contacts.
This is where Creative Blend come in. Offering web design & development amongst other services, and a good knowledge of SEO, they understand the importance of a technically sound website that adheres to SEO best practices, and provide the support that is needed.
Please get in touch with us to enquire about our SEO services, or even to ask for a referral to Creative Blend if you have any web design or development requirements.