Lisa Coghlan offers up her expert tips and advice on blending SEO with customer experience to present a well-rounded website that converts.

Are you optimising your web site for Google or for your customers? Your answer should be both. Of course, your customers won’t actually benefit from the product or service you offer if they can’t initially find your site. However, if the way you’ve optimised your site interferes with user experience, you customer may not want to stick around long enough to read about what you have to offer.

Getting the balance between optimising for organic search and designing a page that encourages your customer to click can be a tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our top tips on how to incorporate SEO tactics on your site without it being detrimental to customer experience.

Don’t Try to Outsmart Google

Gone are the days when SEOs could use suspect methods of keyword stuffing to rank better in SERPs. Following algorithm updates, it is now clear that Google wants to present the best and most relevant content possible to users by penalising those that are dealing in poor quality or thin content. It’s important to keep in mind that Google is concerned with presenting the most applicable content for its users, so you should be too.

Create Content that is Optimised but Reads Like it Isn’t

You can still optimise content, to an extent. Use of relevant and highly searched for keywords within your content is an important ranking factor and will continue to be a good way of improve web site visibility. But if the way your content flows is stilted, or unnatural, it is of less value to your user, less engaging to read, and ultimately of less value, according to Google.

Once upon a time script

Keeping your user in mind as you write your content is the best way of ensuring you’re creating good quality content. Developing detailed personas of the types of customers that visit your site – including their age, where they live, their spending habits, their family, how technologically-minded they are – can help you to target your content to the right user in a natural way.

Landing Page Experience Should be Top of Your List

And making your customers’ life easier should absolutely be a part of that. From navigation and pop-ups, to gathering valuable consumer information via form-fills – all of these elements should enhance the user experience rather than irritate them, and show them that your product or service is the right choice for them. Don’t forget about mobile either! Ensuring user experience is just as easy on mobile as it is on desktop is increasingly important and should be factored into improving your digital offering.

This is Not a Competition!

SEO is all about getting customers to your site in the first instance. User experience is all about people’s behaviour once they land on your site. There should not be a reason why one element is substituted for the other.

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Having a great SEO strategy in place but a site that makes for a limited online experience means that you’ll get all the necessary traffic to your site, but your conversion rate will fall dramatically. And a site that has a great user experience but limited SEO won’t drive traffic to the site, so time spent on creating a user-friendly landing page will have been wasted. For a web site to succeed in its objectives, both SEO and UX are needed.

Look at User Engagement Data

Researching your customers’ behaviour once they’re on the site is paramount to improving your user experience. Simply referring to bounce rate data on its own will not reflect the full story of how a user interacts when they land on the page. Delve deep into Google Analytics, and take into account bounce rate, conversion rate, and form fill completions. Take advantage of heat map technologies and where your user most frequently interacts with calls to action buttons. By taking into account the bigger picture, you’ll have a better idea of how your user is experiencing your landing page.

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About the author:

Lisa Coghlan is a digital and content coordinator at ClickThrough Marketing. She writes SEO content for many of the company’s larger clients, and assists in the implementation of content strategy. She writes live gig reviews and has a mild obsession with finding new documentary podcasts.