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Get Ahead of SEO by Improving User Experience (UX)


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Do Google’s algorithm updates catch you by surprise? Are you still scrambling to go mobile after “Mobilegeddon?" In this session, Andy Swindler discusses how Google’s ultimate goal is to provide the best user experience. Websites that pay attention to UX are consistently rewarded with higher SEO rankings and spend less time reacting to search engine updates, giving them a competitive advantage that leads to more relevancy, efficiency, revenue and purpose.

Andy Swindler presented this for the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA) annual niche publishing conference in Washington, D.C., on June 5, 2015.

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Get Ahead of SEO by Improving User Experience (UX)

  1. 1. Get Ahead of SEO by
 Improving User Experience (UX)
 May 18, 2015 J u n e 5 , 2 0 1 5 Andy Swindler, President #SIPADC2015! © Copyright 2015 Astek Consulting LLC!
  2. 2.   Customers Come First!   SEO, Usability, UX & UI!   Google’s Mission!   SEO Strategy!   Google Algorithm Updates!   Web UX Examples! TO DISCUSS #SIPADC2015!
  3. 3. #SIPADC2015!
  4. 4.   Focus on customer story! !  But don’t forget to tell yours!   Your brand = one shared purpose!   Build a mission with a company!   Brands celebrate celebrity instead of seeking it! TREND: CUSTOMERS COME FIRST Simon Mainwaring, We First Branding ( #SIPADC2015!
  5. 5. “When we call something intuitive,! we often mean familiar.”! –Esther Dyson, investor! SEO, USABILITY, UX & UI #SIPADC2015!
  6. 6. scottymouse-ST4 #SIPADC2015!
  7. 7.   SEO is about attracting people to your site!   Usability is about people's behavior after they arrive on your site!   Utility is meeting the user’s need! SEO, USABILITY & UTILITY Jakob Nielsen:!! #SIPADC2015!
  8. 8.   Great SEO & poor usability = no conversions!   Great usability & poor SEO = no visitors!   Usability + Utility = Usefulness! SEO, USABILITY & UTILITY Jakob Nielsen:!! #SIPADC2015!
  9. 9. “There are plenty of other websites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty.”! –Jakob Nielsen! SEO, USABILITY, UX & UI Jakob Nielsen:! #SIPADC2015!
  10. 10.   Learnability!   Efficiency!   Memorability!   Errors!   Satisfaction!   Usability = 10% of iterative design budget! USABILITY 5 QUALITIES Jakob Nielsen:! #SIPADC2015!
  11. 11.   User Experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services and its products. !   User Interface (UI) is the means by which a person controls a software application or hardware device.! UX & UI Jakob Nielsen & Don Norman:! #SIPADC2015!
  12. 12.! #SIPADC2015!
  13. 13.   Talk to your users! (at least five)!   Mobile first design!   Create content for users & robots! !  Design around real content!   Be consistent to build trust! !  Create clear navigation labels!   Be visually appealing! !  Having no images is better than bad images! WEB USABILITY BASICS #SIPADC2015!
  14. 14.   KISS (avoid paradox of choice)!   Develop user personas!   Develop user flows!   Define clear objectives (CTAs) for users!   Embrace scrolling! !  Folds are for paper!   Should you start from scratch?! WEB USABILITY BASICS #SIPADC2015!
  15. 15. #SIPADC2015!
  16. 16.   Unique visitors!   Conversion goals!   Page speed (!   Social engagement!   Number of pages visited!   Average time on page/site (exclude bounces)!   Bounce rate!   Exit rate!   Top content!   Top landing pages!   Site depth (ease of navigation)! USABILITY METRICS (GENERAL) #SIPADC2015!
  17. 17. #SIPADC2015!!
  18. 18.   But the data isn’t the whole story!   Talk to your users! USABILITY METRICS (GENERAL) #SIPADC2015!
  19. 19.   One-on-one observation!   A/B testing! !,!   Heat mapping tools (what did they do?)! !,!   Third party user testing services! !!   Real-time website feedback tools! USABILITY TESTING #SIPADC2015!
  21. 21.   Keyword research = market research! !  Do it before designing & writing! !  Gain insights into customer interest!   Sculpt UX based on what customers want! SEO SUPPORTS UX #SIPADC2015!
  22. 22.   Clear user flow through site!   Users find things quickly & easily!   Clear content/link hierarchy on page!   User engagement (dwell time)! !  Did they quickly find what they wanted?! !  Did they dig deeper?! !  Did they do what you wanted them to?! GOOD UX SUPPORTS SEO #SIPADC2015!
  23. 23.   Increased organic sharing = more backlinks!   Don’t make your site too deep! !  People & robots don’t like too many links!   Fat footers! GOOD UX SUPPORTS SEO #SIPADC2015!
  25. 25.   Do we trust robots to measure experience?! !  Search UX vs. web UX!   SEO favors rich long-form content! !  Many users want short & sweet!   SEO still favors words over images! !  Users increasingly favor images/video! !  Don’t neglect image SEO! UX CHALLENGES SEO #SIPADC2015!
  26. 26.   Designers like dynamic interfaces! !  Google doesn’t like hidden content! !  Accordions & javascript don’t rank as well! !  To hamburger or not to hamburger?! !  Dropdowns good for SEO/desktop, not mobile!   Vocabulary Choice! !  Written for robots instead of humans! !  Editorial vs. marketing! UX CHALLENGES SEO #SIPADC2015!
  27. 27.   Philosophy #1! Focus on the user and all else will follow.!   Philosophy #5! You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer. (think mobile)! GOOGLE’S MISSION… “…is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”! #SIPADC2015!
  28. 28.   Reward websites with relevant content & trusted authority!   Deliver the best information to the user!   It’s all about Search UX! GOOGLE’S MISSION “Landing page experience refers to how good we think someone’s experience will be when they get to your landing page.”! #SIPADC2015!
  32. 32. #SIPADC2015!
  33. 33.   With Google’s evolution, does SEO eventually become irrelevant?!   Broader view of SEO is customer-centric! !  What do they want? How will they engage?!   Play by the rules for long-term SEO success!   Write evergreen content!   Maintain proper web infrastructure! SEO STRATEGY (LONG-TERM) #SIPADC2015!
  34. 34.   Then:! !  With AltaVista in 1999, keywords in white text at the bottom of the page worked (hidden text)! !  Link farms, keyword stuffing, cloaking!   Now:! !  Good SEO takes time to build! !  Speak the user’s language! !  Build “white hat” inbound link programs! !  Publish relevant content often! SEO STRATEGY (SHORT-TERM) #SIPADC2015!
  35. 35.   Critical bridge of SEO & Search UX!   Inform the user what’s behind a SERP link!   Not used for pagerank!   Expectation Management: don’t mislead the user, entice them!! SEO META DESCRIPTIONS #SIPADC2015!
  37. 37.   Users don’t like them, so neither does Google!   Solution: use 301 redirect instead!   But consider the UX! !  Does the new page answer the same question?!   Custom 404 error page! !  Can the user still find what they wanted?! SEO 404 ERROR: PAGE NOT FOUND #SIPADC2015!
  38. 38.   ADA compliance is relatively easy!   UX for users with disabilities!   Bonus: better for robots! SEO ADA COMPLIANCE #SIPADC2015!
  39. 39.   “Mobilegeddon” – April 22, 2015! !  Mobile searches have surpassed desktop! !  Favors mobile-optimized sites! !  Only affects searches on smartphones! !  Page-by-page, not whole site! !  Google mobile-friendly test:! •! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES #SIPADC2015!
  40. 40. #SIPADC2015!
  41. 41. #SIPADC2015!!
  42. 42.   “In the News” Box – October 2014! !  Lists sources not in Google News! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES #SIPADC2015!!
  43. 43.   HTTPS/SSL Update – August 6, 2014!   Pigeon (local) – July 24, 2014!   Page Layout #3 – February 6, 2014! !  “Top Heavy” – Too many ads above the fold!   Hummingbird (semantic) – August 20, 2013! !  Google starts rewriting users’ queries!   In-depth Articles – August 6, 2012! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES #SIPADC2015!
  44. 44.   Penguin – April 24, 2012! !  Decrease rankings for sites violating Google’s website quality guidelines! !  Black hat webspam like keyword stuffing! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES #SIPADC2015!
  45. 45.   Panda/Farmer – February 23, 2011! !  Major impact! •  Content/link farms! •  Site with high ad-to-content ratios! !  Content quality measured by SERP click-through! !  Bounce rate! !  Conversion! (favor quality over quantity)! !  Engagement (4.0)! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES #SIPADC2015!
  46. 46. WEB UX EXAMPLES #SIPADC2015!
  47. 47. #SIPADC2015!
  48. 48. #SIPADC2015!
  49. 49. #SIPADC2015!
  50. 50. #SIPADC2015!
  51. 51. #SIPADC2015! The Denver Post: Desktop 2013!!
  52. 52. #SIPADC2015! The Denver Post: Desktop 2015!
  53. 53. #SIPADC2015! The Denver Post: Mobile 2015!
  54. 54. #SIPADC2015! Information Week: Pagination!!
  55. 55. #SIPADC2015! Liverpool Echo: Overlay!!
  56. 56.   Think like your customers!   Talk to your customers!   Be useful (usability + utility)!   Good UX is based on trust!   Play by Google’s rules!   Less is more!   Implement a mobile strategy! !  Mobile first design / responsive design! SUMMARY #SIPADC2015!
  57. 57.   Better UX = Better SEO & Happy customers!   Better SEO = Better leads & Fewer surprises!   Happy customers = More revenue & Purpose! RESULTS #SIPADC2015!
  58. 58. Visit us at Thanks for participating! #SIPADC2015! Andy Swindler @aswindler © Copyright 2015 Astek Consulting LLC!