User experience and SEO are two things that need to work together. You’ve already optimized the keywords your website is using, updated your meta descriptions, got your social sites in good operating order, and learned how to provide authoritative, interesting content that’s relevant to today’s consumers.
So, why aren’t you getting those click-throughs and conversions? Why are your bounce rates still so high? Frankly, you may still be overlooking something that’s more essential than ever to good search engine optimization (SEO): the end user’s experience.
If your site is optimized for Google instead of your customer, that’s a mistake. The user experience should never be a mere by-product of your SEO efforts. It needs to come first.
Why Focusing On Good Experiences Is More Important Than Technical SEO
All your hard work on SEO doesn’t matter if you can get your target audience to your page but you can’t make them hang around and convert.
Customer experience is rapidly overtaking product and price when it comes to the way that consumers differentiate between brands. Face it: there are always companies out there selling something similar to what you sell. Some of them may be selling it cheaper. Some may even be offering something slightly better. You win out by offering consumers a fantastic experience they can’t get anywhere else.
Here’s how to turn things around and make certain that your focusing on your customers, not just the latest search engine algorithm.
Create A Cohesive Environment That Supports Teamwork
Create a work environment for your team where everyone can see what’s going on. For example, invest in a team management app or service that works best with content creation. Services like Asana, Base Camp, and Trello are good choices to start with.
Once you’ve wrangled your team into place, make sure you break down your projects by priority and individual tasks. A functional task management strategy should include:
- Team leaders
- Clear due dates, and detailed content information to guide your team on how to properly complete the task from the beginning. You’ll run into fewer detours this way.
- Spread out your completion due dates so you don’t end up with tons of submissions all at once to review.
- Keep a strict publication schedule. Search engines hate stagnant sites and so do your readers. Getting great content out there in front of your viewers is never NOT a part of good SEO.
If you’re wondering why wrangling your team behind the scenes affects your user experience, it’s because things can get caught in the gears and make your end user experience slow and inefficient. The better your team works together, the more time you have to focus on user experience and offer them the best.
Take A Good Look At Where You Are Right Now
Data is still your guiding force when it comes to understanding everything there is to know about your customer base. You need to find out where you are now in terms of providing customers with what they want in order to decide what you need to change.
Take a look at the following things in order to get a deeper understanding of who is coming to your website (and who isn’t), plus why they are (or aren’t) sticking around:
- Explore the demographics of your users, including where they live, their ages, their educational levels, their occupations, and what social channels they use. Focusing on the people who use your products or services is the first step toward improving the user experience.
- Make sure that you have checked all those “technical” SEO boxes. They’re still an important part of the user experience – just not the most important part. Do they load quickly? Is your content well-ordered and comprehensive? Are all your links working? An easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate site always provides a better user experience.
- Find out what parts of your social media strategy are working (and which ones aren’t). Google Analytics and Google Trends can help you figure out which campaigns resonate well with your customers and which ones are falling flat. They can also help you peek at what your competitors are doing to see what you can learn from their efforts.
Once you have a good grip on what you’ve done so far, you can start to tweak your SEO efforts and test the results. By A/B testing different parts of user experiences, your business can determine what elements are working and what elements are bombing with your consumer base.
Make The User Experience As Seamless As Possible
What do your customers want when they interact with your site? To look into your products and services? Possibly. To purchase something? Maybe. To learn something? Probably. To get the same Grade-A experience no matter how they locate you? Absolutely.
Here are things you can bet today’s users expect from their experience with your brand:
- A website that’s optimized for mobile devices and responsive to hyperlocal searches. Consumers are on the move and their tech moves with them. They aren’t researching your products at home on a laptop anymore.
- Content that’s optimized for voice search. Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are growing in importance to SEO so rapidly it’s hard to calculate — but we’ll try. Voice-powered sales was a paltry 1.8 billion in 2017. By 2022, it’s expected to top $40 billion. Get ahead of the curve.
- Respond to engagement — good or bad — from your customers on social. Customers expect a response (especially if they’re unhappy), so make sure your social media manager and your customer service team are on the same page.
SEO is constantly in metamorphosis — but the foreseeable future seems to be focused heavily on customer experience. That doesn’t mean you get to forget all about those pesky algorithms; it just means you need to think about the experience you’re offering the very real human beings you’re trying to reach and retain as customers.