“Focus on the user and all else will follow,” is the first philosophy Google lists in its “Things We Know to Be True.”
While the user experience is clearly paramount, so too is search engine optimization (SEO). In many cases, design elements intended to enhance the user experience will also be inherently beneficial from an SEO perspective.
In some cases, however, it may not be as clear where to draw the line between the user experience and SEO, especially when user features may impact Google’s ability to crawl and rank a site. In other words, this can present a problem of trying to satisfy two audiences – the user and Google – who may be looking for or at different things at different times.
To overcome this issue, below are some essential design tips that can facilitate an appropriate balance between SEO and the user experience.
How to Strike the Right Balance between User Experience & SEO
1 – Keep the navigation as straightforward as possible
A clear, logical navigation for a site will be beneficial for both the user and search engines, as it will allow each of the intended audiences to understand the relationships between the pages or areas on a site.
So, when setting up the navigation for a site, keep it as simple and straightforward as possible. For more complicated sites (such as those with a lot of pages and/or a lot of content covering different topics), it can be helpful to get input from a few people regarding the most logical way to organize the pages/content.
2 – Be careful with infinite scroll & click-to-expand options
While navigation and SEO can be complementary, two user features – infinite scroll and click-to-expand options (for content) – can be helpful or liked by users but may not be so beneficial from an SEO standpoint.
This is because content at the bottom of an infinite scroll page or that is hidden by the click-to-expand option may not be crawled by Google (because, although it’s visible to users, it may not be visible to Google).
So, if you know that your users like these features, then use them sparingly – possibly only on certain pages – so you can enhance your users’ experience without taking a big SEO hit in the process.
3 – Use the right images appropriately
Images can be a great way to capture users’ attention while also supporting the message or theme of a content page or site.
However, when too many images are used, when images that are generic or irrelevant are used or when images aren’t optimized with alt text, they won’t add value to the user or to the optimization of a site. So, don’t just use images for the sake of having them.
Instead, be discerning about how, where and how many images you use on your site. And, when you do include images, make sure to include appropriate alt text in order to reap the most SEO benefits from them.
4 – Use responsive design with mobile sites
The U.S. is among 10 countries where most Internet searches are conducted on mobile devices. While this means that having a mobile site is crucial, it’s also important that the mobile site will be user friendly regardless of whether people are using smartphones, tablets or some other device to get online.
To this end, opting for responsive design is typically the best choice for both the user experience and SEO, as responsive design:
- Will show up and work properly on different size screens and different devices
- Is considered to be an industry best practice by Google.
Contact Epic Web Results for Effective Internet Marketing Solutions
Clearly, balancing the user experience and SEO can be tricky. For experienced help striking the right balance and getting the best results from your website, contact the skilled industry professionals at Epic Web Results. We are up to date with the latest advances in Internet marketing and SEO best practices, and we are highly adept at designing and maintaining optimized websites that will soar to the top of search engines.
To learn more about our customized, innovative Internet marketing solutions, contact the professionals at Epic Web Results by calling (800) 501-9724 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.