And, if you care about SEO, invest in User Experience. Aligning SEO and UX offers too many mutual benefits to ignore.
Why is SEO and User Experience Alignment Important?
Alignment is no longer a “nice to have”. It must be viewed as a requirement for any brand that heavily relies on organic search as part of their marketing strategy. Google’s Page Experience and the Core Web Vitals that help the search engine measure it, are now used to rank pages for both mobile and desktop search. At the heart of Page Experience is a focus on improved user experience.
In effect, this is Google saying: Hey, it’s no longer enough to have good, authoritative information on your page, and it’s no longer enough to have optimized titles and tags, because if your page loads too slowly or your ads are overly intrusive, for example, the user suffers. You still need good information and optimized page structure, of course, but the user experience is now critical in determining whether Google is willing to recommend your content (with a high search rank).
The hallmark of an optimal search-originated user experience is seamless continuity. In other words, the promise of the search result is fulfilled by a click that returns the expected information without requiring the user to wait long for it, dig for it or clear away pop-ups, interstitials and other detritus to access it. The best experience is usually the one the user doesn’t notice. Easy enough.
Creating a seamless user experience is far from easy, though. A big part of that is because the user experience is the combined efforts of SEO, IT, content, brand, monetization and other folks whose goals and priorities, when not in direct opposition, are not always aligned. Without that alignment, however, the user experience suffers, and a lousy user experience tallies its costs in lost business. With SEO more directly influencing and dependent on the user experience, the stakes of alignment are higher than ever.
How Do We Align SEO and The User Experience?
During a recent BrightEdge webinar, Leveraging SEO for a Better User Experience, we explored specific actions organizations can take to achieve alignment and demonstrated how BrightEdge users can leverage the BrightEdge platform in support of SEO / User Experience collaboration. A summary of the recommended actions is below. We’ve also made the full webinar available for download, which expands on the advice here and walks through six specific actions BrightEdge users can perform in the platform to bolster a collaboration between SEO and UX.
1. Enable Collaboration
SEO and UX teams must first get on the same page by understanding and agreeing that improving the experience is good for both users and SEO. To support a shared mission, build a set of collaborative goals that connect to each team’s performance metrics.
Building a shared mission requires knowledge and resource sharing, as well. Determine what knowledge will further the mission and then acquire that knowledge through A/B testing, search data analysis and competitive research. Leverage search data to define user intent for the UX team. Share knowledge in more conventional ways, too, through written primers and “SEO 101” and “UX 101” training sessions.
2. Understand Your Page Pathways
A page pathway is the sequence of pages a visitor will follow from entrance to conversion. Page pathways present something of a chicken and egg situation: the better you understand your audiences the better you can optimize pathways, but understanding your audience often requires first understanding the pathways they choose. With SEO to help steer users to the best path from organic search followed by deliberate on-site navigation and page layout decisions to further direct them, SEO and UX teams can improve conversion.
3. Work Incrementally and Measurably
Both SEO and UX are not as much about knowing the right answer at the start, but doggedly testing and measuring incremental changes to find meaningful improvements. It’s important, also, to track all changes, not just the ones aimed at improving the user experience. Even seemingly innocuous changes can positively or negatively impact engagement, so be sure you can track those impacts back to their causes.
4. Align on Performance
Aligning SEO and UX is not a one-time project, but rather must be an ongoing collaboration. It’s necessary for the collaboration to define clear roles and responsibilities for team members and regular stand-ups to establish and maintain alignment. Additionally, all collaborators must mutually agree on metrics, including some specific collaborative metrics, including Core Web Vitals.
Be sure to watch the webinar recording and reach out to our SEO experts to find out how the BrightEdge platform can be leveraged to support your organization’s SEO / UX collaboration.