Google is continuously evolving and it may seem like a full time job to try and keep up with their ever changing algorithms. However, it's important for us as Marketers and Web Developers to adapt our practices to keep up with them. Google aims to give users the best experience possible. Therefore, Google cares about both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and UX (User Experience) and we need to make sure we keep this in mind with respect to each valuable aspect of web design and development.
We decided to dive a little deeper into SEO vs User Experience and here’s what we’ve found:
SEO is Still Important
When it comes to optimizing your site for Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, there’s no question that having a strong SEO strategy with relevant keywords is still very important. After all, Google must be able to find your site in order to analyze it. And, once they find it, they have to be able to understand it in the way that search engines understand things.
Unfortunately, search engines are not humans, so they don’t comprehend things the same way that a live person would. So, it’s still important to keep up with SEO best practices like using the right header tags, keywords and other signals that help search engines crawl through your site.
Search Engines are Getting Smarter
As search engines get smarter, they are focusing more on how people are reacting to and using your site (User Experience) rather than just on your SEO optimization strategies. So, in addition to optimizing your site for search engines, it’s equally as important to have a website that’s optimized for humans. They are, after all, the ones who will (hopefully) become paying customers.
If your website doesn’t do what your visitors need it to do for them, they aren’t likely to stay and shop around. If your visitors can’t find the information they’re looking for, or can’t easily search your site, search engines can detect this through higher bounce rates on your site.
Pay Attention to Your Bounce Rate
When visitors click on your website through a digital ad or another lead generation medium, they are expecting to find specific information. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they are likely to leave your website right away. Google considers this a “bounce”, and views websites with higher bounce rates as less relevant than those with lower bounce rates.
This shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to anyone, but it’s something that marketers may or may not currently be paying enough attention to. After all, if your ads and content are directing people to your website only to have them leave right away, then there’s a bigger issue at hand, isn’t there? Do you know your bounce rate? If not, you may want to start tracking that through Google Analytics or some other website analysis tool.
What Google Wants
Google’s search engines strive to provide only the best possible results to searchers. Why? Google wants to direct its visitors to what they are looking for. They don’t want to send searchers to sites that don’t answer their questions, are difficult to navigate, have poor quality content, and/or are unprofessional-looking.
So, what does Google care about when they look at your site? SEO and User Experience. When Google and other search engines crawl through your website, they are not just looking at one aspect of your site; they are looking at the overall picture. While Google doesn’t expect perfection, they do expect and reward quality and relevant content, usability, and professionalism.
Even Google says, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”