No matter what products or services you offer, or how mature your business is, the goal of your website should be to quickly and clearly address your visitor’s needs and questions in order to garner trust and turn them into customers. However, you only get the opportunity to convert if these qualified users have managed to find your website. While there are brands reaping the benefits of ongoing branding and awareness marketing efforts, even those brands who receive a high volume of direct and branded traffic must continue to focus on acquiring new customers who may be searching for generic (non-brand) terms in order to grow their business.
On one hand, we want to drive as many qualified users to the website via the search engines – this is driven by how well optimized the website is. On the other, once those users get to the website, visitors must find what they need with ease and be engaged in the experience. Organizations must find the right balance between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and User Experience (UX). Given today’s complex and competitive digital landscape, this balance becomes crucial to the success of any business, but it does not have to be a difficult process as long as it is approached with the right strategy, level of expertise and open mindset.
The following are some, but not all, the website considerations that often stump organizations when attempting to strike the right balance between SEO and a good UX:
The organization structure of your website (i.e. navigation and page structure) allows visitors and search engine to quickly understand the offerings on your website. The structure and titles should be intuitive to users, but also provide search engines with an understanding of your services. This is not the best place to be creative and use terms that do not resonate with the way users search or that do not provide a real description of the site section or page content.
Content continues to be king and there is no more important content than the content on your core website pages. This content fulfills the needs of your website visitors, as well as allows search engines to understand what services or products you are relevant for, and as a result, display your web page in the SERPs. The content should be robust enough to be descriptive, but should not be written for the sake of massaging target keywords into it. When tagged appropriately, search engines can understand the theme of multi-media content assets that make the webpage more engaging, but without relevant text, it will be more challenging to rank for the targeted key phrase.
As your digital “storefront”, the website design should be led by how you want your company to be portrayed. Alongside current best practices, the designer should follow your branding and compliance requirements to bring to life an updated iteration of the website. However, compromises may need to be made in order to allow for the site to be SEO friendly. An “award winning” design that is aesthetically cutting edge, may not allow for crucial on-page optimized content that allows for search engine rankings and as a result, users to discover it. A designer, developer and search engine optimization expert should be collaborating on look-and-feel early in the process.
While it may appear that SEO and UX can compete at times, the reality is that UX is already naturally a part of today’s foundational SEO best practices. No experienced SEO agency or expert should ever provide recommendations that are not in the best interest of the user and their website experience.