Why UX Outranks SEO
It's every brand's dream that their websites, apps and other content will someday rise to the top of organic search results. In reality, however, search engine optimisation isn't the most important aspect of effective web design or consumer engagement. That title goes to user experience, or UX, and if your online strategy ignores this vital fact, no amount of SEO prowess can save you from obscurity. Here's why a good user interface, or UI, makes all the difference.
Traffic vs. Conversions: Which Is More Valuable?
Search engine optimisation is great for getting audiences to visit your content whether by organic search results, paid per click (PPC) or content creation, but what happens once they've landed on your website? True, you need to increase web traffic to connect people with your website in the first place, but sustainable customer engagement depends largely on usability and the ease to find and do what they’re there for.
Staying on Target
Remember that being seen isn't the ultimate goal. To run a lucrative business, visitors need to engage, make contact or buy from your website. This means your site's UI can't be constrained by a confusing layout, slow-loading pages or other design death-traps. What is the point of getting all that traffic if your conversions are low and your bounce rate is high, it’s a waste of time and money?
Therefore your design must be sufficiently straightforward to complete the purpose of a visit. Facilitate such interactions by providing clear logical pathways that visitors can intuitively follow until they perform the desired actions.
Looking to the Pros
Consider web retail giants, like Amazon and eBay. While these platforms arguably derive notable advantages from their PR strategies and massive selections, they're also extremely easy to use.
eBay and Amazon buyers don't have to decipher the meaning of complex layout elements or hunt endlessly to find what they want. Most transactions can be completed in a minimal number of navigational steps, and this plays into the psychology of people's short attention spans. In other words, when all you have to do is type what you want into a search bar to instantly see hundreds of options, refinements and suggestions; you're less likely to get distracted before finishing your purchase.
As established brands, these companies also leverage a lot of trust, but this isn't solely due to their reputations. Top marketers sustain low bounce rate interactions by:
The end user focus that goes into seemingly incidental decisions shines through during the user experience. Sites that perform these vital tasks gain a major edge over other online retailers and increase sales.
Creating Logical Pathways Worth Following
Customer engagement is about more than simply finding the right voice for your content writing and analysing buying funnels to see how they'll respond during a major sale. It's also critical to implement responsive design strategies that let you satisfy the needs of diverse customers.
This is similar to traditional demographic marketing. You know that not every shopper wants the same things, so you work to provide an appropriately broad range of offerings. While it's smart to structure your user interface so that it funnels people towards purchases or further interaction, such as subscribing or opting in, you can't limit everyone to the same linear paths.
You don't know whether your biggest buyers will visit using laptops or their favourite mobile device. As such, your site must adapt to both without dramatically changing its appearance or the experience it provides. By implementing a responsive design that simply modifies itself appropriately, you enable people to switch between platforms conveniently without losing their place, which can increase sales.
Through analytics we can now understand more about our customer behaviours; like where they’re from, the devices they prefer to use, the content they're interested in and the best time to engage with them. As such, we need to adapt, focus and communicate our customer’s wants and needs. By using this knowledge we can engage more naturally with customers by creating logical user pathways resulting in better outcomes for everyone.
The Role of SEO in a UX-Dominated Web Ecosystem
Of course, search engine optimisation is by no means obsolete. As we mentioned earlier, your conversion rate directly relates to your site traffic. For many companies, the real question is which factor deserves more focus.
True, search engine optimisation is becoming increasingly easy to manage yet more complex. The proliferation of short-format social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for instance, makes it simpler than ever to direct traffic by publishing highly-digestible content writing and rich media. If you expend all your efforts on these external strategies without applying end user focus to your web design process, however, attaining a low bounce rate will remain a fleeting dream.
Getting Started With Better UX
In the end, you'll be best served by a comprehensive strategy where using smart UX implementation in partnership with impactful SEO. Don't simply assume you've created a killer site or app. Refine your output by performing usability testing for mobile devices and other platforms and engage in customer feedback.
Learn how your supposedly-responsive design actually responds to real-world situations, like shopping cart abandonment and mistaken data entry. This is the best way to determine whether you're turning potential buyers away or actually welcoming conversions. To learn more, get in touch with one of our experts today.
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