How to Optimise for SEO and User Experience
Getting users to your website is difficult; engaging users and keeping them on your website is even harder. So, putting the two of them together and trying to keep users interested enough from their initial search right through to their purchase is extremely difficult.
Of course, the idea of SEO is to get your site found by users, and a part of SEO is to look at user experience; together, they make the foundations for conversions on your website. When working with the experts at Smart Domain Group we will be able to carry all of this out for you, but what do we actually do? This article will explain the elements that SEO managers will look for and adjust accordingly, as well as how all of these will affect your SEO.
There are two main elements that make up the foundation of your site's structure:
- Clear navigation
Your sitemap does exactly what it says on the tin: maps the site. It will give Google a helping hand as to what needs to be crawled on your website; this means that everything you want Google to see, Google will be able to see it. This should be updated regularly to ensure the information about your site is as up to date as possible, noting additional information about each URL on your site, when it was last updated, how often it changes and each URL's importance in relation to other URLs.
A clear navigation will not only give Google an easy way of viewing the content on your website, but will also allow your users to find their way around the site without any issue. Clear navigations show users exactly what they want to find with little digging; many users will end up clicking off your site if it isn't easy to navigate through and they can't find what they want straight away.
Making sure both Google and users know how to get 'round your site and are presented with the most important information first, with easy links to and from different pages, then your SEO and user experience will be working well in tandem.
Individual page structure is just as important as site structure is. Subheadings not only enable users to easily find information that they're looking for, but Google crawling the site as well. Page structure is important as it leads both the user and Google through the information methodically, from one point to another.
Adding keywords to your subheaders is a good idea, moving down from Header 1, to Header 2 for sub-titles and Header 3 for any other, smaller page breaks. This creates a succinct page layout for users to follow, as well as give the potential to create featured snippets for Google and adding the ability to ask a question then answer it in the paragraphs below.
Headers and subheaders are extremely important for Google to be able to follow the information laid out on your page; if there aren't any headers, Google (and your readers, too) won't really be able to follow and will find your pages lacking and difficult to follow.
If page structures are simple and display information correctly, this is another great way of helping your SEO and your user experience at the same time.
Alt text on images
Alt text is something often overlooked by people, but is an extremely important tool in SEO and user experience. People with visual difficulties that are using assistive technologies rely on image alt text to describe the image to them, so, without alt text, they won't know that there's an image on the page to begin with.
Not only this, but Google can't see images either. If Google comes to a page with an image that doesn't have alt text it also won't see the image, assuming that it isn't there. Alt text is extremely important, not just for usability and user experience, but for SEO as well. It isn't difficult to ensure alt text is added to your site and it can make a big difference to people with visual impairments. When it comes to SEO, if there isn't any alt text, Google may think a page that is very image heavy is completely blank; plus you will be able to add keywords and key information to the alt text. More ways to put your keywords and key information on the page, the better.
Keeping readability in mind when writing and designing a page on your website is key, for both user experience and SEO.
For usability, making sure the content on your website is easy to understand and follow makes the most sense, especially for small to medium businesses. Your users want to know what you do, whether the services you provide are what they want and how to contact you. Of course, if you carry out more specialised services, or feel you need more information on your website, then it may be bigger than just a few pages, but the content on each page has to be simple for anyone, of any reading level, to understand. Don't use industry slang or professional terms that they user may not understand (unless you can very briefly explain them), use simple and short words and write in short sentences and paragraphs.
When it comes to SEO, Google expects you to be writing in an informed and experienced way; if you're seen to be keyword stuffing, or the text content makes no sense then this will cause your site to be marked down by Google and its rankings will suffer. Google likes for companies to be experts in their field, to give interesting and insightful answers to questions posed by users that are searching, so will treat a site where the text is concise and easy-to-understand better than one that has complicated, long and difficult to understand content.
What does this mean for my website?
If you have one of the experts at Smart Domain Group carrying out monthly SEO for you then all of this will be taken care of - we look closely at the correlation between SEO and user experience, ensuring everything is the best it could be. We work from the initial copywriting stages right through to the SEO process, making sure that the website content is well written, the navigation is easy to follow and there is alt text on all images.
Through this, your website's rankings should improve; this will get your site higher on Google, meaning more people will click through and, because of the concise and high quality content, and simple navigation, they will be able to find their way around and will hopefully get in touch.
Pairing SEO and user experience might seem like two ends of the sales spectrum, but when working in tandem they are key to a successful site and a successful online presence.