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How to Mesh Good User Experience (UX) with Traditional SEO

Combining a good user experience with effective SEO can be difficult, follow these tip to ensure your website design and SEO are done right.

 

Good User Experience (UX) with Traditional SEO

One of the biggest hurdles in modern web page development is the creation of good user experience (UX) that plays well with SEO.

A brand with a quality UX is memorable to users and entices them to come back because it’s useful.

However, making a great UX can make it hard to build SEO in traditional ways.

 

Heavy use of videos or Javascript for fancy websites looks great, but it’s hard for a search engine spider to read.

So, what do you do?

You create a killer new layout with minimal customization and content. Your new layout just be the next best thing in terms of ease of use, but search engines might find the same value.

How do you keep your web design and UX dreams from interfering with your SEO?

Here are some great tips to help you bring user experience and traditional SEO together to make users and search engines happy.

 

1. Know Where They Align

 

There is a tension between UX and SEO, but it’s not a complete opposition.

Search engines want to promote the sites that are the best match for a query, but they also don’t want to promote sites to top places if they have technical or usability problems.

It’s not just a matter of information.

 

This is clearly seen in the promotion of sites with responsive or mobile-ready layouts over older desktop layouts.

More and more people are using smartphones as their main portal to the internet and older sites can look bad on these smaller devices. That’s why Google rewards sites with good mobile design with a bump in rankings.

 

Another factor is site speed. Sites that load faster are more pleasing to users and often use less data. People like a speedy site, and thus so do search engines. Whether it’s something as simple as reducing the file size of your images or signing up with a CDN to cache your site on a speedier network, this is another place where UX and SEO align.

 

Many CaaS Commerce as a service solutions such as BigCommerce are leading the way in marrying user experience with SEO, because it is so important. For example; BigCommerce has not only implemented CDN with a foundation built on super clean code – it has partnered with Akamai to compress images for faster load times.

 

WordPress also has a bunch of plugins for cacheing and image compression. If you’re looking for a great one two punch for speeding up your site take a look at;

A3 Lazy Load

   and

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

 

In general, any user experience change that aims to make a site more convenient to use will improve SEO in the long run. This is because it improves SEO markers like increased visitor traffic, longer page dwell times, lower bounce rates, and similar metrics.

It’s the fancier stuff that can lower your efforts.

 

Watch Your Links

 

Content may be king, but to a search engine spider, your links rule right up there.

We know that if all the links to a page are broken then a search engine will never find the content. When you’re creating a new UX, one of the traps to avoid is reducing the discoverability of your content through poor linking.

 

Your page architecture has to be robust enough that a clear hierarchy of content is formed and there are enough internal links that it’s easy for engines to find things.

Remember the rule that you should be able to reach any page on your site within three clicks? 

Pages that are buried too far down in your hierarchy will receive much less attention. If your fancy UX doesn’t put links into the code or buries your content too deeply, you’ll miss out on a lot of ranking power.

 

Fortunately, we know that it’s good SEO web design to put links between pages into a hierarchy. The most important pieces of information are the easiest to get to and offered near the top, with subcategories below that. Complicated sites can use an internal search engine to help users navigate while still maintaining the hierarchy (think Amazon).

 

Review Your Content

 

Yes, we all know that great content leads to great search engine optimization.

But search engines have to be able to see this content too. If your site is video-heavy or uses Javascript or an HTML5 Canvas to render something on the cutting edge of web design, stop for a moment and look at the HTML code. Is any of that wonderful content actually ending up where a search engine spider can see it?

 

Content and design also work hand in hand.

Every piece of content needs to have a use.

What is the purpose of the page?

What message does it convey?

Is the message relevant to the customer or the branding, and do the metrics show this?

If you’ve been treating your blog or even your website as just a place to stuff words until you get noticed, you’re not getting the best effort from your content, and likely wasting a lot of money as well with your SEO services company.

They should know better!

 

Work Carefully When Redesigning

 

Redesigning a website is a dangerous time for your SEO.

Unless you have a well-rounded understanding of how your current design and content contribute to your current rankings, you could change something that pushes you up into something that pushes you down.

 

Start by finding out which content is high-performing and which content is redundant or outdated. You’ll need to retain the high-performing content and give it pride of place. Redundant and outdated content needs to be refreshed or removed.

Then, when you’re building your new design, you’ll need to use a redirect map so search engines can link together the old URLs with the new URLs for your content.

 

If you do not have the knowledge or resources to do this kind of research, an SEO services company can be invaluable here. They can analyze your current site and analytics and your redesign plans to find pitfalls and make recommendations. It takes a lot of time for a search engine to fully comb through a redesign and reassign all of the links and rankings. Thus, a big goal is to retain as much rank as you can during the redesign.

 

You might have to keep the old site up and offer users the chance to use the new site while the redesign is in progress. This may be a little confusing to the users, but not doing this could really confuse the search engines. Again, get help if you’re unsure.

 

UX and SEO don’t have to conflict. They’re both aimed at delivering great brand experiences to your users. By taking into account the needs of search engines and linking fundamentals, weighing the value of must-retain content, and working carefully during a redesign to avoid mistakes, you can create new experiences without jeopardizing your SEO.

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