An article in Search Engine Journal noted that search engine optimization once caused some would-be marketers to “brute force” their way to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) by flooding a page with keywords. Repeating competitive phrases or terms in small blocks of text did once put a site at the top of the list. Yet, the value of the sites were always questionable.
Clearly, they weren’t so much interested in what a reader of such a page experienced, but instead focused on driving traffic to their site by ranking high in search results. These were the sites hit hardest when Google introduced changes to its algorithm – such as the famous Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates that sent some sites into the search engine abyss.
Yet, at the same time, some sites made it through the algorithm changes as if they had not occurred at all. Why? Because the sites were designed with the customer in mind, and only after designing and writing for consumer needs did search engine optimization enter the equation. This means that the website owners placed an emphasis on user experience or UX.
What Is User Experience?
The simplest definition of UX is “all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
Yet, it is more than that. It has to be about the ease or pleasure that the end-user enjoys when using a product or website. It is why those sites mentioned above were able to weather algorithm changes. They used good web design, thought about search engine optimization, but also optimized through user experience design, too.
This is something that can require an entirely unique level of expertise as it is different (though aligned) with both web design and SEO. Yet, all three issues do one thing – they focus strictly on the website visitor or user.
This is precisely why Google and other search engines give such value to obvious user experience design in a site. While search engines are meant to do one thing – send users to the pages they are seeking – they also do something else. They harvest data like there’s no tomorrow. They are designed to understand or draw logical conclusions from “user behavior” and patterns. This is why algorithms get updated – to allow search engine users to avoid useless results and get only the URLs or sites they actually want.
How does this add more value to user experience design? Let’s turn to the experts again: “websites that do a better job of meeting the needs of searchers have a better chance of landing on the first page of the search results.”
The Hurtles of User Experience Design
If you have been striving towards effective SEO, but not getting the returns you desire, it could be that user experience design is in need of attention. Take note, though because not all UX methods work for all sites. As we said a bit earlier, it can take a bit of expertise to understand the most effective ways of utilizing user experience design. If you have questions, get in touch with SYN Interactive to talk about SEO, UX design and more.