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The Love Relationship Between SEO & UX Design

My journey from the micro-social media world to the macro world of digital marketing has been full of excitement, insight and richness.

So much happened in the span of ten years I've worked in marketing, and I continue to learn and discover new disciplines. It was only a few years ago that I heard of SEO (search engine optimisation). Today, we can't seem to stop hearing about it!

I taught myself the basics of SEO and immediately started (by luck, perhaps) working on a small SEO project for a client in the retail industry to incorporate keywords into their blogs, improving the content and headings. Next, I found myself researching keywords and writing metadata to optimise a client's website in the creative industry.

Long story short, by doing SEO, I learned about other important aspects, including UX (User Experience), Accessibility, and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation - which I'll cover in another blog).

I always want to help small businesses make the best of their digital marketing efforts so it's healthier and more sustainable. So today, I'd like to draw your attention to two critical elements of the digital marketing ecosystem and crucial components of a successful website: SEO & UX.

While SEO focuses on driving traffic to the site through improved visibility in search engine results pages, UX design aims to create a positive and engaging experience for the user while they navigate through the site. Although they seem separate entities, SEO and UX are interconnected, and a strong UX design can indirectly support SEO efforts. This blog discusses the relationship between SEO and UX design and how they work together to improve a website's overall performance.

  • User Engagement

One of the main objectives of UX design is to improve user engagement on a website. User engagement metrics, such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per session, determine whether users are finding the website useful and relevant to their search queries. If users are engaging with the site and staying on it for extended periods, it signals to search engines that the site is providing value to users. This, in turn, can positively impact the site's SEO by improving its search engine rankings (or domain authority).

  • Site Speed

Site speed affects both UX and SEO. A fast-loading site not only improves the user experience by reducing frustration and providing quick access to information but also affects the site's SEO. Search engines prioritise websites with fast loading times (Slower sites may be penalised in search rankings). Therefore, optimising the site's speed through UX design can improve SEO performance.

  • Mobile Optimisation

With the rise of mobile browsing, optimising a site's mobile user experience is essential. This means creating a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and ensuring that the site is easy to navigate and consume on mobile devices. Since mobile optimisation is also a ranking factor for search engines, a positive mobile UX can indirectly support SEO efforts.

  • Content Relevance

SEO and UX both prioritise providing users with relevant and high-quality content. Search engines use content relevance to determine the site's ranking in search results, while UX design focuses on presenting the content in a way that is easy to access and understand. A well-designed site that prioritises user experience can lead to increased engagement and better content discovery, which can improve the site's overall search engine rankings.

  • User Intent

Understanding user intent is another critical component of both SEO and UX design. By analysing user behaviour and search queries, we can gain insights into the user's needs and tailor the site's content and design to meet those needs. By providing relevant content and a positive user experience, the site can attract more users and ultimately improve its search engine rankings.

You're a small business owner and don't have a marketing team working for you; what can you start doing today to improve your website's UX and SEO efforts?

  • Measure and track your website's analytics, e.g. user engagement and site speed.

  • Check how mobile-friendly your website is.

  • Produce relevant content with clear user intent.

  • Improve your current website to provide a positive user experience (tip: ask a group of people to visit your site and share their feedback on what was good and bad).

At the end of the day, good SEO and UX design are two critical components of a successful website and digital marketing strategy - they work together to improve the site's overall performance, brand awareness, and, ultimately, conversions.

Disclaimer: I apologise if I used too much industry jargon. If there are any concepts you don't understand or know about, please feel free to get in touch. And remember, you don't have to know or do everything simultaneously. It's very possible to have an integrated digital marketing ecosystem by taking small steps.

Photo credits: Zahra Khan

P.S: This blog was inspired by the UX Design programme I'm currently leading, run in partnership between Bunnyfoot, WYK Digital and The Prince's Trust Trust.

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