The Rule of Threes. Search, Content and User Experience.
A phrase that is so engrained into our daily lives, that it has officially been declared a verb in The Oxford English Dictionary! No longer do we need to rely on books to find our answers – Google is now the first port of call for many when they have a question. Whilst it’s not the only online search engine, with 70% market share, it’s undeniably the most popular.
But how often do you stop to think why?
All it takes is a few taps and a couple of swipes before you find what you’re looking for and can move on to the next query, without giving it a second thought. But the search engine giant’s success isn’t down to just chance. It has taken years of continuous development and refining – which makes keeping up with their regular algorithm updates – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird – quite the task.
Search engines such as Google have the formidable job of giving us demanding searchers more of what we want, and less of what we don’t. Their goal, above all else, is to best match users with the content that they want to see – so it makes sense that they would prioritise websites in the SERPs that help them achieve this.
Go beyond SEO
Every search begins with intent. Whether it’s to understand, buy, fix, learn or find – search engines determine which web pages to display in results based on those that best satisfy this intent. In simple terms, you want your user’s journey to begin on Google and end on your website. For this to happen, you need to go beyond rankings and listings, focusing instead on understanding the ‘whys’, ‘what’s’ and ‘how’s’.
Why are users landing on your page? What are they’re looking for? How can you make your content as easily accessible as possible? All of these questions lend themselves to you crafting site content that addresses and fulfils your user’s needs.
In simple terms, you want your user’s journey to begin on Google and end on your website.TWEET THIS
This is where the data comes in. Examine your metrics in Google Analytics to determine how visitors are interacting with your website. Single-page bounce rates, engagement stats and return visits will provide insights as to whether people are enjoying browsing your site, or help to identify any problem areas. For example, if the majority of your visitors are landing on a single page and then quickly fleeing, this could indicate that its content isn’t relevant. Based on this, search engines may question how useful your site’s information is and devalue its rankings on the premise that there’s a lack of quality traffic to it.
Put yourself in your user’s shoes, as this will help you to craft content that matches their goals. The reward? An engaged searcher who is more likely to convert and click-through, which to search engines, translates as a satisfied user.
Write content for both users and search engines
As is the nature of digital, the processes behind effective SEO have changed over the years. Practices that used to be considered the norm could now get you penalised and those that were perhaps overlooked, are now a pre-requisite. Due to the use of questionable tactics in the past – bad linking, quantity over quality and keyword stuffing to name a few – certain preconceptions that question the legitimacy of SEO have stuck.
Some view it as a tool used to manipulate websites, choosing to display content based on what search engines want to see as opposed to what’s beneficial to users. It’s here that the apparent conflict between UX and SEO lie. If you’re constantly fine-tuning your website to match search engine updates as opposed to the basic needs of your users, the latter can too often get overlooked.
As we’ve said before – content is king. Anyone with an understanding of SEO would agree. From increasing the likelihood of your site being indexed to boosting user interaction, high-quality content does your website an abundance of favours. But essentially, it’s how this content is displayed that impacts your bottom line. Big paragraphs of text might be great from an SEO perspective but the last thing a user wants is to be faced with pages of text-only reading.
High-quality content does your website an abundance of favoursTWEET THIS
Don’t forgo satisfying your users for SEO, nor vice versa. In reality, you must consider all factors combined to create a site that is easily accessible to search engines, whilst still highly engaging to users. Yes, ‘create great content’ is clichéd advice, but doing so will indefinitely improve user’s overall experience on your website. The easier and more enjoyable you make your site visitor’s journey to finding exactly what they’re looking for, the better.
“Focus on the user and all else will follow”, a wise search engine once said. Having high-quality, engaging and relevant content is a crucial part of the equation if you want to create a website that people love. Not only will this boost your organic search rankings, but it will have people sharing, bookmarking and ultimately re-visiting your site.
“Focus on the user and all else will follow”, a wise man (Google) once said.TWEET THIS
Optimising user experience on your website is a huge SEO opportunity. If you’re looking to boost your rankings, there’s no doubt that UX should be part of your strategy. The better your website meets the needs of its visitors, the better its chance of reaching page one in those search results.
Whether you just want to be in the know or are looking to revive your SEO efforts completely, why not get in touch – we’re always happy to share our knowledge and help you to identify the most effective digital solutions for your business.