The Elements of a Good User Experience

IX IG Chapter 5: Design and On Page Optimization   The Building Blocks
The other component of a successful on-page strategy is your design and overall user experience strategy. How easy is it for users to find what they’re looking for on your site? At times, it can feel that SEO concerns, artistic vision, and user experience place conflicting demands on how you organize and design your site. When you add the increasing focus on brand and professional design, it’s clear that website owners are asking for significant returns on a single website design. There are a number of areas that you should focus on your design so that it supports your SEO goals, rather than detracts from them:
  • Clean and easy to navigate: An overall clean and easy to navigate site that makes it simple for users to complete their objectives is important for SEO. This is particularly true in the case of manual reviews, when a cluttered or unprofessional design can cause your site to lose rankings.
  • Minimal or unobtrusive advertising: Advertising is another factor that has a potentially negative impact on the visitor experience. There’s no problem with having advertising or monetization components on your site, but it should be value first and then advertising. This is true of your design, as well as your content. Your design needs to balance both of these elements.
  • Mobile responsive design: The introduction of Google Hummingbird has placed an increasing focus on mobile design. How does your website look when it’s viewed on a tablet or a smartphone? Is it optimized for the wide range of mobile devices on the market, including Apple devices and a variety of Android devices? Your site’s mobile performance now has an impact on your site’s ranking. Sites functioning on mobile devices is going to be a very large ranking factor and game changer. Currently this doesn’t impact your search rankings but should significantly impact it in the very near future.
  • Use mouse-overs: If your design is beautiful and image driven, you may be thinking this comes as the cost of SEO optimization. But techniques such as the mouse-over enable you to blend graphic usage with alt text that appears when someone puts the cursor over that part of the site. This allows you to show details such as “10% off” or other calls to action to the user, and also makes these facts indexable by search engines.
Managing your site’s design from both a brand-building and SEO perspective can be challenging. But investments in these technical elements set your site up for future success. Once you’ve wrapped your head around these concepts, it’s time to take a closer look at your audience and strategies and tools for getting to know them. Strong audience knowledge will form the foundation for all the tools that we explore later in the book.
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