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Relationship Between UX & SEO

     -     Dec 3rd, 2014   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Search engine marketing is changing on a regular basis. It seems that every month Google is publishing news on a new algorithm update, Panda, Hummingbird, Penguin, and, mostly recently, Pirate. Sometimes it seems they implement updates just to go through the fun task of creating a name for them. The constant barrage of new updates leaves many digital marketing professionals frustrated since it seems the target is constantly moving. However, the truth is that Google implements these changes and others to ensure the search engine is providing the most relevant search results.

Remember, Google’s value proposition is to get users the most relevant content in the shortest period of time possible. Knowing this, what can digital marketing professionals in the accounting industry do on a regular basis to ensure high rankings and insulation from update-related rank loss? The answer is simple – create a world-class user experience (UX). Google has stated various times that UX is critical to the digital marketing process. To help accountants, marketers, and others understand UX and what site elements impact UX, below is a list of key considerations when evaluating a website.

Key UX Considerations

  • Navigation Structure – How easily a user can find information is at the core of a positive UX. If you visit a website and have to click through 10 or 15 pages to find contact information, then it’s likely the site’s UX is very poor. Conversely, if you can easily find the contact information without having to conduct a massive manhunt, then its likely UX was considered in the design process. How the information is organized on the website is reflected in the navigation structure. If it’s well thought through with the end user in mind, the navigation will not only be well organized but will also present information in an intuitive fashion.
  • Homepage Layout – Have you ever visited a website and after a few seconds thought, “wow this site is poorly laid out.” We can all probably recall one or two sites like this. Unfortunately, when a site and its homepage is poorly designed, it can significantly and adversely impact UX. The homepage is the most commonly visited page of a website, and as such it should be very easy to access important information from there. Examine your firm’s website. If it doesn’t provide access to essential information such as services, industries, contact information, and thought leadership from the homepage, you’ll want to address the UX by considering ways to change the design. Remember, the more quickly users can find the information they are seeking, the happier they will be.
  • Content Quality – As you may have read before when researching search engine marketing, content is the main product your website offers. As such, a key component of UX is content quality. If a website has a well-designed navigation system and homepage but lacks meaningful content, what kind of UX will visitors have? Clearly not a very good one. So in addition to making sure content can be found, attention needs to be focused on delivering valuable content. What constitutes valuable content is different for each firm and in some instances even between each website (main website, blog, microsites). However, generally speaking, content quality can be determined by how well the content speaks to the issues and challenges that prospects, clients, and other visitors are facing and the corresponding solutions. Are you more interested in reading a list about what a firm says it can do or about how it is actively working with companies to solve problems they (and you) are facing in your business? The answer is generally the latter. So, focusing your website content on your prospects’ and clients’ needs will help support a positive UX.

Next Steps: Take Action

Making changes to the firm website or content strategy can often be difficult. There are budget issues, need for partner approval, and then a need for strategy to drive the whole process. The good news is that this is not an all or nothing proposition. You can focus your efforts on the design of the site to more effectively guide users to quality content or start with a content evaluation. Whatever path you choose, the impact will be beneficial to search engine optimization. Remember to take it slow and maintain focus on what will enhance the UX. The more consistent the approach, the stronger the impact will be on results.

 

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