Search Marketers are right when they say content is ‘King’ when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While we are busy generating great content for our target audience, there is another aspect that we tend to completely overlook.
You must have guessed it by now. It is the aspect of how content is presented to the readers. We are referring to UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) which is an integral aspect of promoting content on the web.
With the inclusion of recent updates like Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and hundreds of other Google algorithms that are being tweaked on a regular basis, it becomes critical to know how users are reacting to the website User Interface. The experience that the visitors go through definitely counts when it comes to how we perform on Search Engines with special emphasis being on Google!
As a web master/marketer it is essential to understand how users react to your website. Are visitors spending ample time on the website? Are they finding the relevant information with minimal clicks? Are they taking desirable actions? Why are they bouncing off from the website? Is the website capable enough to drive visitors to the right content/sections and encouraging them to take actions thereafter? – While there are many questions to ponder over, the simplicity behind having a great website is obviously to have useful content, enhanced UX with a well laid out UI.
Here is some food for thought:
1. Team work: SEO + UI/UX
SEO is the medium to drive traffic, while UX/UI creates first impression. Both work in tandem to ultimately serve user’s intent and hence conversions on the website. It is that bit of Creative effort which aids to boost conversions.
“…If you don’t have search engine optimization, its harder to be found, if you don’t have end-user optimization, you don’t get conversions… you need to have both...Try to see them in tandem (i.e. Search Engines and End Users) …Your users' interest and the search engine's interest are always aligned….Hence you need to view them as one unit. .”
SEO and UI/UX play a significant role together, where the path (SEO) leads to the destination (UI/UX). What happens on the web page is our real goal or concern (conversions).
We should know that SEO exists due to dynamic Search Engine algorithms and hence fundamentally it plays the role of a latent follower when it comes to optimizing a website for search.
Google Hummingbird, Panda and Penguin updates are now meticulously weeding out sites that don’t meet the basic standards of content, design (UI/UX), utility, relevance and speed.
SEO and UI/UX are more like unified partners that marketers/businesses need to respect since one cannot work without the other.
2. Graphics makes your website more Attractive
While most of the marketers are concerned with the content that serves the purpose of driving traffic to the website, the other aspect that we give a miss is the aesthetics part. This concerns with how the content is made more impressive and informative to the visitors.
It’s the image and graphics support along with content that makes the visitors more interactive on the website and react positively to the information provided.
Using the right mix of graphics, images and text is a simple and effective idea. Use of image alts, Meta information, SEO friendly URLs further helps to attain more SEO benefits.
3. Visibility: Above and below the fold
Don’t make your website a newspaper. The concept of above the fold actions come from newspapers and was later adopted as a norm for websites too. You need to first evaluate the objective the website needs to serve the target audience.
With the changes in user behavior and assimilation of information available on the websites, visitors have learned to scan and scroll the webpages below the fold too. Above the fold concept still remains important, but the judgment of how we can attract visitors with content, images and graphics that makes visitors to look for more, cannot be ignored.
4. Responsive Website: Facilitate improved User Experience
As more people choose to use mobiles, smartphones and tablets, having a responsive website that provides users with the option to search for required information on any devices becomes all the more imperative.
In 2014, 4.22 billion people worldwide are expected to use smartphones. 49% of the world’s mobile users will go online via mobile browsers or apps. By 2015, it is anticipated that the global mobile phone Internet audience will cross well over the 50% mark. Hence, there exists the importance to focus on responsive website design and that provides users with what they want i.e. uninterrupted and high quality User Experience (UX) on any device used for search. Read more on importance of mobile SEO optimization.
Image Source: Google Images
5. Call-to-Actions on your website pages
The call-to-action (CTA) emphasizes on what a user is expected or anticipated to do. Additionally, Call to Actions help visitors find what they need. CTAs open up the website and assists users to consume content they are searching by making it easy to access, increasing engagement and in turn improving the probability of conversions.
Image Source: Google Images
6. Blog post-level Social Sharing
Great content created with the above parameters taken into consideration, there is one other aspect that needs recognition and that is to facilitate users to disperse that content. What better way to do that than sharing it on the social networking sites.
Stress on the fact that User intent should be measured as a probable treasure-trove for content marketers. Having great content, amplified attention to SEO aspects of your website, and equal prominence to User interface (including Call-to-Actions) are all critical for making a website add value to your business.
UI and UX is a critical part of the online purchase cycle of a product or service and having an optimal balance of all the aspects puts you ahead of the competition.
Contributed by Rahul Banerjee – Head SEO, Position2