SEO is no longer a task that just improves your website position in the search engine results.
SEO now helps you to create a better experience for your users (and about time too).
SEO shouldn’t be about just getting traffic, it needs to be about providing a great experience for that traffic so you can use it to grow your business.
Google is always evolving it’s algorithms to give people the best search experience possible.
That means Google prioritises website that ;
- Closely match the search query intent
- Provide the best user experience
This means that if you follow the latest Google guidelines for SEO your user experience will improve as a consequence.
Now, if you are small business, I know you have more important things on your plate than improving the user experience of your website. This is an area that normally only medium and big businesses are interested in.
But SEO.. well, lots of small businesses are interested in improving their SEO.
I think it’s great that Google are thinking about user experience for their users. It raises the quality bar for all websites out there.
So, what can you do as a small business to improve your SEO while improving your user experience?
Let me highlight the main ways that SEO improves user experience or vice-versa.
First, a quick word about user experience. I am not a user experience expert. I am focusing only the elements of user experience that matter when it comes to SEO. User experience is an expert level topic that I won’t even try to cover here.
So, here are 5 ways to improve the experience for your user while improving your SEO
1. Create content that your reader is looking for
The first step in the search journey occurs when the searcher enters the search term in Google. Google then consults its database and returns web pages according to its algorithm.
If your content doesn’t match what the reader is looking for in the first instance then you won’t get traffic.
The first thing you need to do is research the content and keywords so you know what to create.
2. Write great meta titles and descriptions, don’t create link bait
Once you have created great content that is being searched for and Google returns it in the search results, the second step for your searcher is for them to click on the link in the results that takes them to your page.
To create a great user experience and improve SEO write your meta description and title so it is enticing and makes the searcher curious, you want them to click your link then be delighted when they read your article. This improves your click through rate which improves SEO. Make sure the link they click in the results closely matches what they will read when they arrive at your website. Don’t create link bait. Link bait is where you write something else in the link and when they click through to your page it is not the content you promised.
Creating a bad experience here will damage trust. Your searcher will be unlikely to click any future links in the search engine results which Google will see. Even if you are in position 1, if no one clicks you link you will eventually be demoted in the search results.
3. Make sure your web page loads fast
The third step for your searcher, once they have clicked on your link is to wait for your page to load.
If your page takes a while to load they will certainly go back to the results page and click another link.
This is known as pogo sticking and some experts think this can negatively affect your SEO.
To create a great user experience and improve SEO make sure your website loads fast. If your searcher has to hang around while your page loads they will not come back, even if you are in position 1!
4. Make sure your content is engaging
The fourth step in the searchers journey is for them to consume your content.
Depending on how long your content is you may need to put some effort into keeping them engaged.
To create a great user experience and improve SEO you need to keep people engaged so they consume your content, a few ideas to keep them engaged are;
- Use appropriate images
- Use videos
- Pull readers through will headlines
- Break up text into small paragraphs
If people are not engaged they will bounce back and make another selection from the search results, affecting the overall ability of your page to rank in the future.
Google prioritised well written engaging content, so make sure yours is good quality.
5. Help the reader continue their journey
In most cases, people who are searching online are on a journey to find a specific end result.
Your job is to help them on that journey.
To create a great user experience and improve SEO you need to include an appropriate call to action that helps them continue that journey. A simple example is to provide a link to another article that is a natural next step for them. This avoids them going back to the search results. Be helpful. Google notices.
Also, having great navigation helps so once someone is on your website they are more likely to stay on your website and have a look around.
I have summarised 5 ways that improving SEO also improves user experience. If you improve those 5 things then you will improve your SEO, your user experience and your chances of eventually converting the traffic into leads and sales for your business
If you need help improving your website so it gets more traffic, leads and sales then please contact me to discuss.