According to the site NN Group, the user experience refers to the “overall experience of a person using a product (website)”. Factors in user experience include the different emotions that may be invoked, as well of the ease of use in navigating.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is, according to Webopedia, “the process of maximizing the number of visitors by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine”. SEO often involves phrasing sentences to include high traffic words.
In order to truly maximize the potential of your website, you should combine an enjoyable user experience with good SEO.
Kraemer Schurman of ksand.com proclaims that blendng UX and SEO allows a site to “create a positive browsing experience for the user, but also achieve the site’s business goals”.
By combining a strong UX design with readable SEO, you will set up your site for an increase in recurring visitors.
An Infographic is Worth 1000 Words
A big part of improving the user experience is finding a way to explain things with flowcharts or infographics instead of with paragraphs.
Not only is visual information usually processed faster than text, but the images you create will likely show up on Google images before too long.
Google images could become another avenue towards your site. Just make sure to maintain a balance between images and text, for both SEO and user experience reasons. If you replace too much of the text with images, it will become difficult to optimize your site for search engines.
Search Engine Optimization typically only applies to written text. However, you can certainly optimize your images as well.
Google Images keys on the title of uploaded images. So if you’re uploading images that are all variations of 00509493.jpg, don’t expect to gain any traffic from Google Images. The same keywords that you (should) drop in your writing belong in the titles of your uploaded images.
Clean Up the User Interface
One of the steps towards a cleaner, more streamlined user experience is the removal of links that aren’t used. If a heat map shows that a section of links isn’t being used, don’t be afraid to move those links downwards in the information hierarchy.
Keeping links that aren’t used not only wastes space, but detracts from the links that are successful.
Another common mistake in usability design occurs when users changes based on what users say that they want.
Usability Hour writes that “there is a gigantic difference between what a user says they want and what they actually use” much like a child who orders food at a restaurant but decides not to eat it.
Review your analytical data
What information should you depend on for making improvements to your site?
Heatmaps and analytical data.
Study of heat maps reveals that most users scan websites in an F-like pattern. For this reason, you should prioritize your user interface with the most important information to the left and less important information to the right.
Google Analytics is another useful tool.
The Google Analytics service will track each user that visits your site and keep track of things like user location, demographics, and business related metrics.
Most importantly, it will tell you where your users are bouncing. These are the pages that need the most UX work. User experience designers should also pay specific attention to:
-Average time on page
-User flow report
Things like device usage will tell you if more users are on desktop or mobile, and even specific devices (iPhone 6 versus 5, Android, iPad, etc). If most of your users are on an iPhone 6, maybe it is worth doing some user testing with iPhone devices.
There are two different price packages associated with Google Analytics: Premium and Free. Premium starts at 150 thousand per year. That price doesn’t include heatmap services. In order to get the heatmaps for your site, you’ll have to pay even more.
Search Engine Optimization
In order to begin Search Engine Optimization, you need to figure out the specific words which lead users from the Google and Bing type search engines into your site location.
Once you have a list of those keywords, you make sure that those words are showing up frequently on the different landing pages for your site. This will allow your landing pages to show up more frequently in search queries.
Other places to use the keywords include titles, urls, headings, and meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are usually less than 160 words and are what generally what the user sees directly under the title and URL link to your site from the search engine.
How do you find these keywords? There are a lot of different options, but the Google Keyword Planner is likely the most simple.
To use the Google Keyword Planner, all you need to do is paste the URL of your site into the program, and Google will then provide you with a list of different keywords for your website.
Search Engine Optimization Gone Wrong
Experienced writers sometimes use so many keywords in their writing that it deflates the meaning of the writing.
When implementing the keywords, don’t come in with a shotgun approach. You want keyword usage to be precise and powerful in the context of what’s written.
“Most search engines today are intelligent enough to figure out if you’re trying to trick them,” notes SEO Specialist Alex Chris from reliablesoft.net.
Another potential trap in SEO optimization comes when a web page has too many outgoing links, or too many low quality advertisements.
Most search engines will categorize these types of web pages as “link-farms” and in turn demote them in terms of importance.
It’s very easy to overthink search engine optimization and end up having a negative impact on your SEO efforts. Especially since the search engines themselves are becoming more intelligent in terms of detecting keyword spamming.
Conclusion: Major Keys to Success
User experience design and search engine optimization are both important pieces of a high traffic website. Search engine optimization will net your site more users by way of online searches. Once those users have arrived at your site, a well designed user experience will keep the user returning to your site.
Your site might have a great UX design, but if you don’t have strong Search Engine Optimization, nobody will ever see those designs.
On the other hand, if you have great Search Engine Optimization but poor UX design, your site might track a lot of views, but the users won’t stay on your landing pages for long.
Be aware that search engines are working demote sites that spam keywords. Make sure that you write content which drops keywords in a way that makes sense and clarifies your writing.
If you’re looking for further assistance with either search engine optimization or user experience design, contact Codal.