This is the sixth post in our o360 Series on 360 Degree Optimisation; using SEO, SEM, UX Optimisation, Content Optimisation, Customer Journey Optimisation and Conversion Rate Optimisation to enhance the user experience to not only garner positive results for our clients, but also foster a positive experience for users that they will want to return to.
We've all heard the expression that "content is king". If content is still king, then UX (user experience) is queen— and because I'm all for gender equality and this is the 21st century, that means it's equally important.
There's been lots of talk about UX lately-- including on the iProspect blog. Whether we're optimising it, measuring it, or trying to figure out how it differs from consumer experience, there's one understanding across our industry- that it's vital to a successful digital strategy. Content producers and copywriters for SEO have this understanding built into the work they do, and are at the front lines of digital marketing fighting for the user. But how do we do this? Here are 8 insights on how SEO content writers can enhance user experience.
Keyword-rich copy may help your search engine rankings, but it's quality content that keeps you on the first page. A good content writer knows how to keep a healthy balance. This is why people use Google—it’s the best at giving you what you want. Aside from the ads at the top, organic search normally gives you the information you need in the first page. And how do you get to the first page? Great keywords and spot-on copy that helps the user and creates a great online experience.
We write for humans at iProspect, not search engine robots... which also ensures we will never get a search penalty.
Even if you're a cute computer robot, sorry, I don't write for you. Image credit: Flickr
...which leads me to my second (quite self-explanatory) point. If a site has bad copy on their page, if it’s not clear or is riddled with errors, I get out of there quicker than a man in a barber shop during Movember. The cornerstone of any copywriter’s job, but particularly in SEO, is to ensure their client’s copy is informative, engaging, and clear. If your copy is anything but, users will have a bad experience and a bad taste in their mouth about your business.
...obviously my friend didn't get out of the barber shop fast enough.
We've all gone onto a website and thought, "I could have designed/written/shown/created this better." As a content curator and copywriter, I can actually do that. I am the "ultimate new user" which means I have the excuse of not knowing the product in depth from the start, but understanding the mind of the new user down to every click and scroll.
Can I create a spot-on recipe for blueberry scones or rattle off the finer points of owning a Louis Vuitton bag off the top of my head? Not quite, but I can tell you what's confusing in your recipe or that your Louis Vuitton post would benefit from making it into a list with images that illustrate your points. I can show you examples of who has done it well, why it works and create something that will work for you and your users. I know what a new user wants and needs because I am a new user with a fresh perspective on the campaign, the product and the site, with the benefit of having a lot of experience in content.
Photo credit: Flickr
This is one of the first things I do for my clients during a content audit. Sometimes clients get so wrapped up in their product or the structure of their (sometimes new) website, they forget the basics. SEO writers can bring them back to earth. I always ask myself two questions during a content audit: “What is the purpose of this page?” and “What do people who come to this page want to know?” Then, I do a walk-through of their main landing pages. If they don't meet the purpose of the page or if they don't answer my question as a new user, I can take the first steps into optimising their content.
If you want to be a good SEO content writer, you can’t be timid. Does their copy not make sense? Is their grammar abysmal? Do they need an entirely new part of their site for a blog? It’s your job to tell them. You are trying to make their website better, more optimised for SEO and easier on the user. Be bold and stand by your suggestions. Clients have every right to not accept them, but it's up to you to give objective, honest feedback, coupled with ideas on how to make it better. This being said, know your client. If they don't take feedback well, adjust course and focus on your suggestions for improvement. If they take every suggestion as gold, ensure you are extra critical with yourself so you're giving clear, constructive advice.
Be sure to not come out of your content audits with a bucket of problems alone. You should also have solutions— that's just as much of your job as finding the problems.
The advantage of an o360 campaign, or a campaign that uses a multi-dimensional approach to SEO and UX, means that you know the ins and outs of your client's campaign. You know what their display campaign looks like and what their messaging is, you know what their target keywords are for PPC and SEO, and you can use all that information to feed into your audit when you look at a landing page.
Because you know where a user comes from and how they ended up on the site, you can make sure the landing page answers the question or matches the expectation set by the campaigns that led them there- no matter if it's organic, PPC, or display.
Showing the user journey: Both ads for Marks & Spencer have shown up both on webpages I visit and social media channels. They click through with clear messaging on landing page that links to the ads.
This goes hand-in-hand with point 6. Meta descriptions, optimising Google+ pages, messaging for social or display campaigns... you can lend a hand to all of these to make sure the end result is a clear message. SEO content writers have the advantage of a birds eye view— you get to ask questions to your team to clarify your own goals for the campaign and gain an understanding of what other members on different teams are doing on their own.
And because you're all about optimising SEO and content, you get to be the big grammar nerd that polishes everything up.
Image credit: Simply Silvy Says
When you write content, you pay attention. When you have a bad UX yourself, you take a mental note. Same goes for when you have a good one. Other team members likely do the same thing for their respective areas, but as a content writer, you have to keep an eye on the user journey and how your content links to the entire picture. The laws of SEO now require that you think past the search results page and into that first and second... and last click. If a user bounces from your page, you need to be able to understand if it was your copy that played a part.
As copywriters, we have to know a little about a vast amount of things, from bike racks to charity sponsorship and how to talk about them in a way that makes sense. A good writer knows how to use the language, resources and trends of each market and integrate that into their copy.
As an SEO content producer, I think about User Experience like it's my job... because it is. If you have other ideas you'd like to share about how writing for SEO makes for a better user experience, leave us a comment below or send a tweet. We're quite the social crew.