Balancing SEO With User Experience

It is easy to let SEO dominate your website strategy

When it comes to SEO, there's lots of advice you can find to help you climb the Google rankings and attract more visitors to your site. Black hat, white hat, in-house or agency SEO all have a role to play in driving web traffic, with many tips and techniques available to get those visitor figures up.

However, it is important to remember that visitor numbers alone are not the whole story. If your website is to work effectively, you need to think about the user experience as well.

Getting people to your site is pointless if they don't stay and make a purchase or book your services. A high visitor score with a high bounce rate and low time on site is as bad as a low visitor rate because the net result will be the same. That is why you need to think beyond just SEO and consider the customer journey.

What your home page needs to say
When someone lands on your home page they need to know that they are in the right place and that you can satisfy their needs. More importantly, they need to see this quickly and easily, without having to pick through hundreds and hundreds of words of copy to find the information they want.

Google may like longer text, but the average reader doesn't, especially when they first arrive on a website. You have just a few seconds to engage the reader before they click away to look elsewhere, so don't just write with SEO in mind, write for your customers too.

Who are they and how did they get here?
To hook your visitors in, you need to answer their original query as clearly as possible, and consider who your visitors are likely to be and how they got to your site. Think about what they searched for and why so that you can directly answer their questions and let them know they are in the right place.

For example, the website CasinoSmash knows that visitors to its ‘High Roller Bonuses‘ page aren't necessarily high rollers themselves, and they may simply be curious about what a high roller is. Rather than risk losing this second group, the site talks directly to both of them in their intro copy, making them both feel that they have chosen the right site for their needs.

What do they want from you?
The next thing to consider is exactly what these visitors want. The more precisely you can identify this, and show that you can provide it, the more chance you have of keeping those visitors on your site and converting them into a customer.

The hardest thing for many businesses to come to terms with is the fact that people simply don't care about their company. All the average customer is interested in is what you can do for them, and you need to show this early or they will simply look elsewhere.

Analyse the customer journey
The best way to check if your home page is working for your visitors is to put yourself in their shoes and follow the customer journey. Think through the process, from initial Google enquiry through to pressing the button on their purchase or booking your services and make this as simple as possible. Your site should present a clear pathway from start to finish, without losing them along the way.

Detours into related products and services can increase the value of some orders, but if they distract other customers from their original purchase, then they could cost you their sale altogether. The real online experts, such as Amazon, give you a straightforward path to purchase, with as few steps as possible, creating a simple shopping experience that you will return to again and again.

Optimising your site for your customers
You need to balance search engine optimisation and customer optimisation, because neither works without the other. If you don't get any visitors, you can't build a relationship with potential customers, but equally, if you don't build a relationship, it's pointless having new visitors on your site.

So, don't get blindsided by the latest SEO science; keep your customers in mind and make your website work harder for your business.

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