When people say that balancing SEO and User Experience is an impossibility, remind them that search engines are so much more intelligent and sophisticated now than they used to be when this belief was first spouted. These days, it is definitely possible for your website to have an SEO-friendly design while boasting ease of use at the same time. As a matter of fact, SEO and User Experience (UX) are complementary these days. Don’t the search engines already factor in ease of use in their algorithm? Ultimately, there are ways for you to address both SEO and UX in your design to make sure that not one suffers in favor of the other.
If you need more proof, Google has made it very clear that satisfying your web visitors should always take precedence over satisfying search engines. In other words, de the former, and the latter will take care of itself.
Before you continue reading this article, you may also want to re-visit this related article that I wrote about a year ago now. Google’s New Quality Rating Guide – Tips to Improve Your Onsite SEO
So what’s the best way to balance an attractive design with optimal SEO performance? Here are a few points to keep in mind.
1. Keep real users, and not the search engines, in mind when designing your site’s layout, templates, and general structure. Make sure that the website is visually attractive, easy to navigate, and highly informative. As visitors appreciate and return to your site, search engines will pick up on its usability and take this into account when indexing and ranking your website.
2. It’s important to have great content, but you can also structure your content in the best possible way for search engines to read it. Make your message solid—useful, informative, and, preferably, evergreen in the language that your reader easily understands—and then word and place elements such as title, headers, image alt-tags, etc. in a way that effectively registers with searches and search engines. Forget keyword stuffing; that’s actually bound to be detrimental to your SEO. Keywords are important, but they have to be included in a seamless and natural manner for them to work in your site’s favor.
3. Use a responsive design. This enables your site to automatically resize and reformat depending on the device your visitors are using. This is obviously advantageous in terms of both SEO and UX. Now that mobile use is very prevalent, websites need to make sure that they are accessible no matter what device is being used to visit them. This does a lot in improving user experience, and as search engines note the frequency of visits to your site, it will also eventually fortify your SEO.
Clearly, SEO and user experience go hand in hand these days. Balancing them is entirely doable, but your efforts need to be conscious and deliberate. The guidelines above are sure to help you in reinforcing both aspects and keeping the balance in place.
If you need help with your website or your SEO ranking, feel free to contact our MGR Team. In fact, we offer a very affordable MGR Website Analysis that will easily show you how your website is performing today. Think of it as a “health check” for your website that at least will point you in the right direction. Remember, most of the times it only takes minor adjustments to achieve great results.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)