How To Bridge The Gap Between SEO And Your Very Human Customers.
SEO and usability are on the same team, but it takes serious skills to integrate them and create a seamlessly optimized, user-friendly website. In general, search engines have a good grasp on what your searchers are looking for. Search engines are easy to use, they scour the hundreds of thousands of sites for overall worthwhileness, and they provide the most relevant content on the web (in order of relevance).
Despite how effectively search engines do their job, they simply can’t experience content the way humans do. They scan over words, images and videos for relevance, but they don’t laugh at clever infographics or share your recent post to social media. Search engines review data of human engagement and produce assumptions to increase your understanding of what people want. Ultimately, they are relying on you to read between the lines, to contextualize and dig deeper. Facts are facts, but the reasons behind them could be as variant as the individuals visiting your site.
So how does all this information help you improve the user experience?
While search engines aren’t human, their analysis of keywords, links and site layout leads to useful intuitions about the relevance and credibility of your site.
As a site creator, investing time in creating thoughtful, engaging content improves the chances of site-visitor satisfaction. The goal is for every visitor to leave your site feeling they’ve gained something–whether that happens through inbound links, sharable content or incentives for return visits.
How To Know If You’re Website Is Killing It.
Engagement Metrics – Engagement is everything, and engagement metrics assist in the never-ending game of growing and maintaining site visits. Engagement comes in many colors: clicks, shares, time spent on a given page, and spending time popping around the site are the most common forms of engagement. The goal is for engagement to turn to action. If you notice people are taking action after reading your blogs or a site page, your website is doing its job. Go website!
Design – Brand specialists haven’t agreed on a “one right way” to design a website, but there are a few non-negotiables you won’t want to miss. If you’re aiming to feature one product or service, a simpler design is best. If you have multiple products or services to highlight, dynamic design is your friend (best get a rockstar designer for this job). Also, people are intimidated by huge blocks of text, so break them up with images, banners, or other visual content.
Targeted Content – Know your consumers, understand what they love and give them more of it. The truth is, your brand is not for everyone. But the more you know about your audience, the better you will become at communicating to them and delivering on their needs.
Panda Approved – The Panda update introduced by Google in 2011 was created to replace human evaluators (yes, you read that right, humans used to evaluate the quality of websites until 2011). Through machine learning, the quality control algorithm was able to mimic human preferences. Check out this video to learn how to optimize your site based on Panda’s preferences.
Spin Straw Into Golden Content – So, you’ve heard this before, but creating thoughtful, branded content is key to keeping all your visitors engaged. Remember, the internet is a digital universe, and if you want to increase your influence, you need to produce original content consistently. The first rule of engaging content is to have a singular intent: what do you want the reader to gain from their visit? You can find more rules here.
Ultimately, you want your reader to take something away from your site, whether that’s an answer to their question, shareable content, or just a positive impression. To learn more about building a successful website, check out this post.