Ranking at the top of every relevant SERP doesn’t matter if searchers are ultimately met with a confusing, cluttered, or disengaging UI. Likewise, investing time and money into designing a website that’s great to look at, but one that misses the mark on the critical elements on SEO, will only hinder your ranking efforts.
It’s this conundrum that leaves many website owners scratching their heads, deciding which is more important — but, in truth, that’s not a decision you should even try to make.
The problem lies in the fact that UX/UI experts and SEO experts tend to be completely separate individuals with little to no means of communicating with each other. However, this disjointed approach will only pin your design and optimization efforts against each other. In reality, what you need to do is make it a collaborative effort, and then you’ll get the best of both worlds.
So, with that said, let’s jump into the best practices of design collaboration that maintain an impressive UI while complementing SEO efforts.
Consider Searcher Language & Intent
- Look for the terms people are searching.
- Understand why people are searching.
- Make sure your content matches their intent.
Through keyword research, which is a major element in SEO, you can ensure your website considers searcher intent. After all, the keywords people search to find your website can reveal a lot about the lingo and terms they use (or don’t use) along with the level of knowledge they may actually have.
In collaboration with an SEO expert, UX/UI designers can consider a searcher’s position in the industry along with their overall intent when they do finally click on your website. Search terms can also reveal the phase the average visitor is in, so you know whether you should be working to build awareness about what you do or drive a purchase decision.
With this research, you’re able to design your pages and overall website to cater to various search intentions.
- Reassure searchers that they’re in the right place.
- Keep your brand consistent across channels.
- Use headings and graphics to show relevancy at-a-glance
While you may think it’s tough to attract quality traffic, it can be even tougher to keep these searchers around once they’re on your site. That’s why SEO experts will tell you that you have to “keep the scent.” Your visitors are always in a hurry, and that means the landing page has to near instantly address their needs or they’ll click away to find something more relevant.
Just a quick glance at your logo, page header, and the sub-headings and graphics should reassure them that you’re about to give them the exact information they’re looking for. If they don’t get that reassurance within just a few seconds, that’s going to increase your site’s “bounce” rate, or the number of visitors who click the back button only shortly after their arrival.
Aim for Speed
- Invest in quick servers.
- Compress large images.
- Streamline your code.
A slow-loading site is sure to increase your bounce rate and overall user dissatisfaction. The fact is, searchers have high standards these days and they expect your website to load in literal seconds. Likewise, as they jump from page to page, they expect new content to appear on their screen lightning fast. Moreover, the standards of speed are only growing more intense.
That means, regardless of your starting point, there’s always room for improvement. Your first goal should be to have a website that loads in under 3 seconds, which means first looking at your website hosting. Choosing the right servers can give you a major speed boost, but you also need to do some on-site optimization, like compressing large files and streamlining the actual code.
Structure Your Site Wisely
- Utilize intuitive navigation.
- Cross-link relevant content.
- Focus each page on a single goal.
Content that’s all over the place will quickly drive your visitors away. Instead, make sure each page on your site is clearly focused on just one goal. To keep visitors interested, use cross-linking to naturally lead them from one topic to the next and make sure you have an intuitive menu that’s highly-organized and enables them to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for.
Ideally, a visitor will be able to tell what products/services you offer and glean some critical information about your brand or solutions by just glancing at the top-level menu items. You should make sure core pages are also obvious within this menu, like your “Pricing” and “Contact” pages.
Conclude Using a Strong CTA
- Keep the searcher’s intent in mind.
- Make the CTA relevant to the content.
- Include a secondary CTA for those not ready to convert.
As just mentioned, every page should have a clear and focused goal, which means every page should conclude with a call-to-action that entices your visitors to continue exploring other content, request a consultation, book an appointment, and so on. The CTA may vary from page to page depending on the intent each page is catering to, but you should always include one. You may also consider including secondary goals for the CTA, as not all visitors will be ready to convert.
If you follow this advice, you’re bound to see improved metrics across the board, particularly when it comes to user satisfaction, time spent on your site, and the overall conversion rate.