In his latest guest post for B&T, founder and director of Sydney’s Shout Agency, Michael Jenkins (pictured below), offers his tips on how to improve a site’s SEO and, in doing so, making it a much better user experience, too…
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is more than links and keywords. Google uses the entire consumer experience to figure out whether your site delivered the quality content the consumer needed.
One often overlooked part of search SEO is user experience (UX). Too often, businesses forget that part of keeping a prospect on their website is to make the experience easy for customers to avoid an increase in bounce and decline in traffic.
Let’s take a look at five ways to improve your UX and SEO.
1. Content, content, content!
Search engines LOVE content. Content creates a code (HTML) to text ratio that crawlers can understand. When site owners want to positively rank a page they will load it up with text. The search engines like it and the page can get to the front page of the search results. No doubt you’ve heard the saying that ‘the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google’!
However, it’s important to remember that the quickest way to lose your page one ranking is by poor user metrics, pushing the site off the front page quickly. Having page structure that breaks the content into bite sized pieces, that the user can scan, helps increase time on the pages, and then internal site linking helps to increase the number of page views.
Combing user, and search, friendly meta tags with a neat page structure that centers on usability, provides a successful recipe for high ranking search results – provided that the page has strong backlinks pointing to it.
2. Make navigation easy
If you want to improve your UX, you need excellent quality site navigation. The smoother the navigation, the easier it is for users to find your information. Your site navigation menu guides visitors to know where to go next, so make sure it’s up to scratch.
Good quality SEO directs visitors, via a search engine, to pages other than your homepage – before they’ve even found your website!
The more intuitive it is, the more likely they will click to other pages within your site.
As Search Engine Land states, “Your site’s navigation is not the place for fancy popups, a long list of options, hide-and-seek games, or a place of dead ends where the user doesn’t know how to get back to another section of your site or get back to your homepage.”
In other words, make it easy for visitors to navigate your site, and let your site be the answer to their queries.
3. Implementing Google Sitelinks
You would be more familiar with Google Sitelinks today than you would have been 12 months ago. Google Sitelinks is when you have the main listing come up in the search engine, followed by other ‘sections’ or ‘tabs’ from within that website. For example, when you Google ‘B&T’, the results come up with a link to the homepage and beneath that are several other relevant pages within B&T; i.e By B&T Magazine, Advertising, B&T Awards. Clean site navigation and well planned page hierarchy help Google to find the most valuable pages of your site to include in your sitelinks.
4. Tracking User signals
Do not underestimate the impact of artificial intelligence on the internet. Google’s use of AI is no exception. The search engine continues to work with user signals to improve their smart search capabilities. To do so, Google looks at a few different metrics for user signals, including the number of Google Local listings post clicks, click-to-call’s, and five-star reviews.
The more you understand user sentiment and behaviour, the more you turn visitor’s actions into increased search traffic.
5. Mobile Friendly Site
You would continually hear about the importance of mobile-friendly sites; this is because mobile sites are a vital part of your digital success.
Both your desktop and mobile website need to be user-friendly. Since most sites already work on desktops or were developed for desktop, you generally need to assess your website for mobile friendliness. This includes making sure the content is quick to load. 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load! Ensuring your web developer has set tested the site to ensure it is responsive on whatever device it is viewed on – this is imperative; especially as we know more than 60 per cent of web browsing is done on mobile device.
SEO is a tremendous source of targeted website traffic. However, you need to convert this traffic with a user-friendly website capable of giving visitors the experience they have come to expect – otherwise they’ll find an alternate site that will.