Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies should be constantly evolving. To run with an effective SEO strategy, you need to remain updated on what’s happening in the industry and think of ways that your brand can adapt.
Your strategy should shift based on the ways that search engines like Google evaluate the websites that they serve in search results. You need to be on the front page of those results for your most coveted keyword phrases, and ideally in the top three spots for best visibility.
Previously, strategies like keyword stuffing were effective enough. Scammers used this to their advantage and didn’t care about the customers, only caring about getting to the top result to make money.
Because of situations like this, search engines have had to work harder to find out which websites are truly valuable to the search query. Since the priority of search engines is to provide helpful information, your SEO strategy needs to also fulfill this. In prioritizing your website for the audience and their needs, your SEO efforts likely won’t be heavily affected by algorithm updates because you’re both pursuing the same goal.
However, your SEO will be all for naught if you aren’t giving attention to UX and conversion. Here’s why.
First, What Is UX?
UX, or user experience, refers to the level of satisfaction that your target audience will have in your website. Will they find the content they’re looking for? Does the content exist to serve consumers, or does it exist to simply to get your brand’s name to the front page of search results?
Focusing on UX optimization will not only get your audience to your site, but it will ideally keep them on your site, improve engagement and conversion rates, and turn them into repeat visitors and buyers. Holding a top-ranking spot in the SERP (search engine results page) won’t do your brand much good if the customer visits the site, becomes disinterested or frustrated, and goes elsewhere.
Common Aspects of UX Optimization
Clear Headings. Users can quickly browse a page to find the specific information they’re looking for.
Easy Navigation. Users should be able to quickly navigate from page to page to find different information or products.
A Fast Site. Pages should load quickly and easily so users don’t become frustrated (no one enjoys slow internet!) and leave the site to find information elsewhere.
Mobile-Friendliness. So much web browsing is done on mobile phones now, not to mention Google’s algorithm bases its rankings on mobile versions of websites. As such, your brand’s site needs to be mobile-friendly or lose significant traffic.
Well-Written Meta Data. When a user searches a general keyword like “pizza,” they may be looking for a place nearby to get pizza, a recipe for homemade pizza, or (if they’re really bored) the history of pizza. The title and description that are served with your listing will help them discern whether your site has the kind of information they’re looking for.
Keyword Research. Where general keywords like “pizza” are useful, take advantage of the “people also ask” feature in Google SERPs to find more specific keywords that users have searched for.
These factors will make it easier for users to click on the right search result and quickly find the information they need on your site. You can already see how some of these aspects of UX and SEO overlap.
Beyond making your website more visible, UX will make the content on your website more accessible. If you have great content or fantastic products but the user doesn’t know how to find them, you won’t see the level of conversion you deserve. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the ultimate goal when combining SEO and UX.
Prioritizing UX will take all the hard work that you’ve put into your brand and serve it up on a silver platter for your target audience.
How Do SEO and UX Interact?
UX and SEO go hand-in-hand in a good digital marketing strategy. It makes a lot of sense, intuitively. After all, many of Google’s SEO policies are put in place on the basis that they’ll help find content that the user wants.
Google wants to see pages that have good content, a clear page hierarchy, and mobile friendliness, to name a few. Each of these policies exists because the user has a better experience when those needs are met.
A quality marketing team understands the relationship between UX and SEO. Good marketers think of the user’s needs before anything else, because anticipating and meeting those needs go a long way for CRO. UX should be part of the marketing process.
Conversion Rate Optimization, UX, and SEO
When prioritizing UX and SEO, it’s easier for users to find your brand’s pages and relevant content. SEO efforts will bring visitors, but without a great user experience there won’t be conversions.
Focusing on UX will help your conversion funnel marketing, an important part of CRO. Conversion funnel marketing is the concept of guiding the user through every stage of the sale process. At the beginning of this process, many are present. Toward the end, only a fraction of will convert.
Top of Funnel (The Awareness Stage): These are first-time website visitors and engagements that might be arriving from Google. These are potential customers gathering information from your content (such as a blog post like this!) to address a need.
Middle of Funnel (Consideration Stage): Think of these visitors as shoppers. They already have the information to solve their problem and they're now looking for more details while weighing options on who they ultimately want to purchase from.
Bottom of Funnel (Decision Stage): These are visitors who are ready to spend money on a solution, usually within a short time period to purchase.
UX increases the effectiveness of your conversion funnel marketing strategy by putting the customer’s needs first. If they feel your site is too “salesy,” they may leave and go to a competitor. In a case like this, you might only get conversions from those who came to your page to buy. If drawing in customers who are on the fence about your brand isn’t a priority, you’re leaving money on the table.
Build sales funnels in a way that’s intuitive to site visitors. Serve their needs first and make it easy for them to contact you. Both parties win – the consumer gets what they need, and you bolster your CRO.
How to Build a Conversion Funnel with UX and SEO in Mind
Let’s say your ideal customer journey looks like this:
Discover your brand
Explore your website
Learn about your products and services
Compare with other brands in your industry
Decide which product/service they want
Revisit in the future
This journey is where you start with your conversion funnel.
It’s important to track customer behavior and modify this journey as you go. If you’re just starting out, all you may have is what you hope the customer does. As time goes on, you’ll see where customer behavior deviates from what you anticipated. When patterns become evident, adjust the funnel to fit those needs.
So, we have our ideal customer journey. How can we make it easy for visitors to follow it? Let’s look at each step in further detail.
Discover your brand.
SEO: Rank high in SERPs by using keywords that your target audience will search.
UX: Write clear meta data (title and description) so searchers understand if your pages have the information they’re looking for.
Explore your website.
SEO: Offer a fast-loading website that won’t frustrate users as they click around (again, no one puts up with slow internet!).
UX: Make it easy to navigate the site and find content.
Learn about your products and services.
SEO: Use your content to show site visitors why your product is valuable for their needs.
UX: Guide the user to products and services similar to the ones they’re viewing.
Compare with other brands in your industry.
SEO: Create content that compares items and answers customer questions.
UX: Provide clear headings, product images, and charts to make pages skim-able.
Decide to purchase.
SEO: A/B test several sales page designs to see which converts best with your audience.
UX: Create headings in the navigation and above the fold of important pages that direct the user to conversion/purchase pages.
There is so much more that can and should go into your conversion funnel design, but this example shows you how both SEO and UX work together to benefit your CRO.
Improve Your Conversion Rates Today
If the process of creating an optimal conversion funnel sounds intimidating, talk to us at First Page Strategy! We're excited to work with you to help you generate website traffic, leads, sales, and customer loyalty of epic proportions.
For any brand to thrive online, the marketing team risks falling flat by not giving attention to user experiences and conversion rates. You must adapt.
Because a strong SEO strategy that incorporates UX and CRO can be tough to manage on your own, it’s a good idea to hire an inbound marketing agency. With help from First Page Strategy, you’ll be better able to keep up with your competition and bring new visitors to your site. Get a free SEO/content analysis to show you how we do the work we do.