It revealed at the end of May that user page experience is going to be increasingly important to how it delivers on its mission of “organising the world’s information and making it accessible and useful”.
Now, user experience (UX) as a ranking factor isn’t, of course, new. But, with the introduction of the Core Web Vitals metrics Google is, as we noted in an earlier blog on content design, placing ever greater “emphasis on how real people actually experience and interact with the content on your website”. Meaning in the very immediate future – this update is set to happen sometime next year – delivering excellent UX will increasingly have a direct impact on the SERPs.
Nevertheless, also heavily determining those rankings will be the long-term pay-off of data-driven SEO initiatives – our recent keyword at scale guide illustrates one aspect of this – and the production of high-quality content a user is looking for (or to be more exact, the kind of quality content a user needs).
The point we’re making is that neither SEO, content or UX can exclusively achieve meaningful results independent of one another. They’re at their best when done in collaboration. If anything, this joined-up approach is practical. Not only is there a certain level of dependency on the other to achieve maximum value; SEO, content and UX all have the same overarching goal: to connect brands to their audience in the best way possible. Or to give users what they need quickly and effectively. A sporting analogy is good here: strikers need defenders and midfielders as much as defenders and midfielders need strikers to do their job well (win) for the benefit of their fans (audience).
I’ll explain. It’s all well investing in a range of SEO services, such as keyword research, to identify new opportunities for more nuanced terms if the UX is good. If, however, the latter isn’t up to scratch, let’s say it takes a while to load up a page that is then constantly interrupted with pop-ups or ads, then it’s likely that you and your users are going to fail to get the required results.
The same logic applies to work spent on improving UX if it fails to deliver the right kind of content. For example, a user searches for childcare costs. They follow a link and find they are taken swiftly to a well-designed and organised page. The problem is that they’re greeted with an 800-word article on the topic, instead of what they’re actually after – an interactive calculator that takes you through the process step-by-step. It’s not that the text-based piece of content doesn’t answer the query. It just doesn’t do it in the way desired. The UX arguably becomes a moot point if your users do not get what they want.
And while it’s certainly not ‘all or nothing at all’, consistency across SEO, content and UX is essential if you’re going to succeed in digital marketing. As we’ve demonstrated, where either discipline fails to deliver – or is entirely overlooked – the others are likely to deliver as intended. Bring them together from the start of any project, however, and you’re setting yourself up for the kind of long-term success that puts you on par with some of the best brands in the world.
If you’d like to know more about how to make SEO, content and UX work better together, we’d love to hear from you.