This is the second post in our o360 Series on 360 Degree Optimisation; using SEO, 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.
The definition of SEO, or at least the iProspect Ireland SEO team, is quite interchangeable and fluid. Ask anyone on our team, and they'll tell you-- we are not just SEO! SEO today isn’t just responsible for getting a site to rank well for a target keyword and then fleeing the scene. The SEO team, or the iProspect Ireland mighty team of 4 as we casually call ourselves, go well beyond that. (...as should any good SEO team!)
We are search engine optimisers, analytics analysers, content creators, analysers of bounce rates, time on site, purchase funnels, and goal completions, all key indicators of user experience performance. SEO is both the medium driving organic traffic and the gatekeepers of ensuring optimal user experience so websites convert traffic to sales.
In this post, I will be following on from Tim France’s introduction to o360 (360 Degree Optimisation) and sharing my thoughts on the role of SEO in creating a quality user experience and how the iProspect SEO Ireland team focus on this philosophy.
There are two very simple logical reasons why SEO and user experience go hand-in-hand through an organic search walk in the park.
Firstly, the Google Panda algorithm update means Google judges websites for quality using human grade evaluators. So it’s really essential in the eyes of at least Google that your website has a quality user experience. Secondly, but equally important... the actual user! As just said, Google uses human-grade evaluators to assess the quality of a site. So, if you are not thinking of the user, Google is, which can lead to issues with your rankings later. It can be really easy in the world of SEO to focus on chasing and pleasing a search engine instead of the humans that seek the information.
If your site doesn’t offer a quality user experience, it a) won’t be seen as a high quality site in the eyes of Google so you won’t receive decent rankings or organic traffic in return and b) your site will simply not convert visitors into customers. As a result, our SEO team really have a user-experience-first based approach to SEO and then focus on working the search engine after.
Simply, we believe that user experience and ease of navigating them to a goal- whether it be to purchase or find information- comes first, and if that is done well, the bones of SEO (organic rankings & organic traffic) will follow. There is no point to driving users to your site if your site cannot deliver what they want. They'll bounce. And if that happens too many times, Google will not drive organic users to your site either.
The way our SEO team is structured and works has elements of user experience intertwined into all elements and roles. Above each specialised role sits our SEO Manager who ensures all SEO team elements are working together and deliver the best results that fit into our overall business strategy results for clients.
Our SEO team structure and how it fits into user experience.
Technical SEO: The technical element of SEO and its importance is often overlooked in an SEO world focused on “Content is King”. But that shouldn't be the case. One of the most basic user experience fundamentals is site speed (as we all well know), and a fast website in return is rewarded by Google and user visits. When a technical SEO has tackled a site speed’s issue, another area focused on is fixing broken site links. A fast website with flawless internal linking structure is rewarded by Google and of course provides the best possible user experience. However, the crucial role of the technical SEO is not overlooked at iProspect, as we have a valued technical SEO executive working on the team working towards a world of faster websites and technically flawless sites for our client’s sites.
General SEO executive: The general SEO executive (that’s me!) dips their toes in both technical and content SEO pots, watching the whole SEO picture from above with a bird’s eye view. The major role for the general SEO on our team is ensuring that the best and right pages are matching user queries and expectations, analysing a site’s analytics to try and understand why users may be bouncing off the site or certain pages all with the mindset of user experience sitting alongside SEO. Ensuring these simple elements are in place is additionally rewarded by Google. This leads onto the content element of SEO.
Content SEO executive: One of the elements of this role in the team goes beyond the simple text element of content. When content audits are performed on client sites, our content SEO writer puts herself in the mindset of a new visitor to a site and asks questions in relation in to user experience, including...
How reputable does this site look? Is the site easy to navigate? Is there enough useful content and information on the service or product that will help base a user’s decision to buy or convert? Does a visitor need to click through multiple pages to find basic information? Are the most important pages easily accessible? Is the purchase process easy and fast?
The trick of the content SEO’s role is to make content the best possible content for user experience but to apply it in a way that also enhances a site’s SEO. However, a rule we go by here is to always write and curate a site’s content for humans, not Google. Positive SEO rewards will naturally follow in return. Sound interesting? She'll be writing more about this later in the series.
Having all of these elements delivered by different specialties of our SEO team are prime examples how much SEO and user experience go hand in hand. If one element (Technical, general or content SEO) is taken away, the user experience will significantly decay, so we place an equal importance on all 3. To finish up, it is evident that SEO and user experience need to work together to deliver the best possible results for your site and the best possible experience for your visitors and prospective customers.
If you have anything to add on this subject about our approach and thoughts behind the role of SEO in creating a quality user experience then let me know your thoughts below!