The ultimate aim of Google is to deliver satisfaction to its users and it brings every update and algorithm keeping this in mind. Earlier, companies and SEO professionals were making all their efforts to optimize the website for search engine crawlers, and this has delivered them somewhat success also. However, in today’s era, it is essential for brands to make a balance between both SEO and UX to stand apart from the competitors, along with enticing the biggest audience.
Google and other search engines have come a long way and now they look for websites that are designed keeping users in mind and not simply web crawlers. That doesn’t mean, you can completely abandon SEO and shift your entire strategies to UX-focused approach. While it is important to note here that a UX-focused approach improves SEO as well. There are several UX elements that benefit SEO, however, there also some that affect Google’s ability to crawl your website.
Hence, in the present digital age, web designers should design a website keeping both SEO and UX in mind.
Here are some points that should be given importance, if you want to maintain the right balance between SEO and UX:
Google is continuously working to improve the mobile experience of a website. Firstly, mobile-friendly update and now AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), this clearly shows that the websites which are responsive have far more chances to appear in SERPs.
Google has itself stated that more Google searches are conducted through mobile phones than desktops in 10 prominent countries of the world, including the U.S. Google has acknowledged three ways for designing mobile-friendly website, viz., dynamic serving, separate URLs and responsive design.
Amongst these three, separate URLs is the least favorable and responsive design is the most favorable choice in order to maintain a balance between UX and SEO. The reason behind this is, responsive design means having the same URLs, only the website serve different displays depending upon the screen size. While in the case of separate URLs, mobile must then rank for itself.
When it comes to mobile sites, SEO and UX go hand-in-hand as responsive website design is user-friendly.
Infinite scrolling is nothing but a technique that keeps refreshing the page when the user scrolls it down. Utilized by popular sites like Pinterest and BuzzFeed, it allows users to scroll massive chunk of content, which seems to have no finishing line. Although it sounds tempting it is not a one-size-fits-all solution that will fit every type of business.
Infinite Scrolling makes it easy for users to browse the ocean of information without waiting for pages to preload. Hence, it is important to choose this feature wisely. It can decrease the page performance and could also slow devices with limited resources.
In addition to this, there is a misconception about infinite scrolling that content will be served “above the fold” with this feature. Even with Infinite Scrolling, content cannot be seen without the user having to scroll. This sometimes happens due to screen size also. With a wide range of screen sizes available today, it has become hard to determine whether content would be visible without scrolling.
So, better use infinite scrolling keeping all its pros and cons in mind.
Although it seems crazy to still talk about easy navigation, still many websites don’t get it. So, we are discussing the importance of navigation again. Your site navigation is crucial not only for users, but it also acts as your site’s roadmap for search engine’s crawlers.
Coming to user experience first, it is important to keep in mind that a user can enter your site through any page. So, it is better to avoid any fancy popups or a long list of options and design a navigation through which user can find the desired page, no matter from which page he lands on your site. If you let user hunt the pages, there will be lesser engagement and a higher bounce rate.
When it comes to SEO, proper structure and clean navigation can also result in site links appearing in SERPs. Sitelinks can help you in occupying more space in the search results, which means less space for competitors and also more clicks.
Thus, easy navigation is the option that can help you in maintaining a balance between both SEO and UX.
Headings make it easy for both search engine as well as user to read and understand your content. It is generally recommended to maintain the hierarchy of <h1> to <h6> heading tags. Heading tags should not only be optimized by keywords and similar search queries but must also tell what the section is all about.
It is also important to note here that <h1> should be one and try to use it to convey the primary focus of the page. You can further optimize your <h1> tag with the targeted keywords for the page and for further improving the rankings.
In some cases, your content may require only <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags, so you are free to modify the heading tags according to your content.
To maintain a balance between UX and SEO, it is imperative to select images wisely. Images are the best way to make your website look appealing and convey information in an interesting manner. However, it is found that text-only pages perform much better than pages with over-stuffed images. Moreover, poorly executed design elements and generic stock photos can greatly affect the speed of your website thus reducing user experience.
No doubt, UX design favor images, but to gain benefits from the images, they should be optimized properly. Keeping below-mentioned things in mind can get your Image space in Google searches, along with boosting user experience:
- Include appropriate and if possible keyword-optimized alt tag.
- Give descriptive file name to images
- Add the image with relevant text.
- Don’t hide keywords or anchor text within the image.
In a nutshell, maintaining the right balance between UX and SEO is nothing but designing a website for the user and not for Google. Approaching website design with single intention to improve SEO or to offer UX, is unwise and ineffective. Moreover, when there are several UX design elements that are SEO-friendly then why not go for those options. This way, you can enhance the visibility of your site and keep the audience engaged for a longer period.
Author Bio:– Shruti Nagar is a Content Writer & Marketer who firmly works at F5 Buddy Office. Her Passion for helping others in Content Marketing is appreciable and along with content Marketing, she helps in technical SEO and Digital Marketing Services as well.