Your website is responsible for many different tasks in your marketing strategy. It is the primary platform on which you will display your content, and it is the beacon you put up to gain the attention of search engines. As you consider the role of your website in marketing your business, you should think about two perspectives. First, you should consider the user experience, or UX, that individuals will have when they come to your site. Is it easy to navigate? Does the site look good and encourage people to keep reading and clicking on links? Does the site leave a positive impression on potential customers? Next, you will want to think about how your website performs in search rankings. Are search engines able to identify the information-rich content you’ve posted on your site?
As you consider these questions about both UX and SEO as they pertain to your website, you will find that there is a lot of overlap between UX-favorable and SEO-favorable site design. There are, however, some areas where the requirements of each differ. Reconciling these will be essential for an effective search marketing campaign.
Like SEO, UX is a big subject to define. Think of UX as the takeaway that people have when they interact with your site. The behaviors, emotions, and responses that your site inspires provide insight into the experience you offer visitors. UX design focuses on making your site more accessible, easy to use, and appealing to look at. The goal is to create a more positive impression that encourages certain behaviors, such as purchasing a product.
Knowing Where UX and SEO Overlap
UX design and SEO-friendly site design share many of the same goals. There’s a reason for that: SEO considers how easy it is for consumers to find information. That means that your UX goals can typically play into your content goals, and vice versa. However, SEO is limited by the capabilities of search engines that “read” the contents of a site before ranking it. That means that you may need to include features on your site that create greater accessibility for search engine bots, but may not add anything to the user experience for those already on your site. This is where it is helpful to work with a content team who can bridge the gaps between streamlined UX and SEO indexing.
Identifying UX and SEO Clashes
- Consolidation vs. Segmentation. You might think that the ideal user experience for your site would be to have everything on one page. Even if that’s true, you have to consider how this comes across from an SEO angle. Without landing pages for your services, search engines may not recognize your site as an information source for these subjects. Therefore, you may want to prioritize your SEO needs rather than trying to consolidate the number of indexed and linked pages on your site.
- Internal Linking and Site Navigation. UX makes assumptions about user intuition that SEO design cannot. Without the concern of SEO, it might make sense to limit the number of linkable pages on your site, allowing users to simply find the subheading they need on a given page. Because search engines do not have this type of intuitiveness, you may need to build out a more complex site map. However, this can pay off by allowing greater accessibility for your website visitors as well.
- Keyword Use on Pages. Proponents of UX will tell you that it’s beneficial to minimize wherever possible. That is you should reduce wordiness, simplify your site design, and create a simpler experience. Still, you need to say enough that the intent of each page remains clear. You need to provide the right level of context with keywords and strategically placed anchor text so search engine users can find your site.
- Search Crawler Readability. We’ve touched on the fact that search crawlers will interpret a website differently than humans will. One of the most important differences is the ability to discern visual media. You might have an app or video that creates an engaging, immersive experience for readers. However, this could be completely lost on a search engine without the right tags, transcription, and categorization.
Are you are finding that your UX design is failing to deliver the SEO results that you want? Or, are you thinking it’s time to redesign your site? If so, it’s time to schedule a discovery call with Pennington Creative. We can identify weaknesses in your website copy and provide unique, SEO-friendly pages to help your web presence.