It is pretty widely accepted that SEO is a fundamental element of functional websites. But does having a website that is well optimised for search engines mean that it has to lack in other aspects such as design and user experience? As SEO practices have evolved over the years it could actually be argued that keeping the user at the forefront of any website experience is key – not just in terms of creating a valuable experience for the user but also in terms of the SEO benefits that come along with it. If you don’t want to take on the services of an SEO company then you can follow these tips as a designer.
A Focus On Keywords
In years gone by there was a tendency to fill website pages with keywords in a manner that wasn’t natural – something that is known as keyword stuffing. Whilst this was a practice that used to be acceptable to search engine giants such as Google, this is not a method that works today and is a sure fire way to have your website penalized.
It is important to understand what keywords you are going to focus on for individual pages on your website and you should certainly want to include these in your content, perhaps even your H1 tags and meta titles and descriptions – but they should also be written in a way that is natural, compels the user to visit your site from a SERPS page and provides the visitor with a good experience.
Utilizing this approach will not only help your SEO but it will most likely also lead to increased conversions.
Working On Engagement
Without a doubt the engagement of your visitors with your website is one of the biggest ranking factors on search engines in 2019. Increased time on site, reduced bounce rates and interactions with clickable elements are all positive signals to Google that you have a website that people value and want to spend time on.
Other than the fact that creating a great website to represent your brand and create a positive impression is the right thing to do, the gains in terms of search results is the biggest single reason to focus on user experience and of course design goes hand in hand with this – and that includes mobile and tablet devices too.
Media Rich Elements
The popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram has made us hungry consumers of media rich content. Imagery, video and animation should be key design elements of most websites and are excellent at improving engagement stats and helping to convert customers.
360 and VR are still relatively unexplored concepts for many websites and can provide so many advantages over 2d media but again, quality is key.
Content is king is a mantra that many will have heard and although creating content can be a good SEO strategy it is one that has be used with the idea of value in mind. Any content that is created, whether that be video, blog copy, infographics etc. should only be added to a website if it truly adds value to the customer experience.
Creating excellent content that is relevant has so many advantages. It helps to grow customer loyalty to your brand, encourages social sharing and organic link building – all of which are excellent signals to search engines.
So the message is pretty clear – UX and design should be at the forefront of your SEO strategy and not an afterthought or be seen as a hindrance to it if you want to climb up the search results.