Today I wanted to make a post about what I've found over the past couple of years when it comes to SEO and User Experience (also known as UX).
There are many marketers out there that want to impress Google by applying super ninja SEO techniques and rank #1 for a super competitive niche.
And that's completely fine (I've done it in the past).
However there is an easier, more profitable path that can lead to the very same objective.
That is giving the visitor a Super Awesome Experience when visiting your website.
Focusing too much on your SEO could actually be damaging your User Experience.
So, today I want to address several points that will, hopefully, help you enhancing your website's experience and making it more valuable for your visitor.
And here are a couple of reasons about why you want to focus on UX instead of SEO.
Let's face it: Google doesn't determine where a website lands on its results page.
No, it doesn't.
We, the users, do.
It's simple: Google is designed to give the user the best possible experience.
And in order to do that, it needs to provide “relevant” results.
And how does it determine which result is relevant and which isn't?
Simply by receiving feedback from the users of the website itself.
The better experience a website produces, the better it ranks.
Or at least that's the premise.
Of course, there are some flukes on the algorithm and that is where “Churn'n'Burn” methods come into play.
But if you want to grow a sustainable business, you need to have those metrics into consideration.
By sending good “signals” to Google, your rankings will increase on their own.
Even if you are placing Adsense ads on your site, Google doesn't pay you.
Is the user clicking on your ads that does.
And this boils down to every type of monetization.
If you are making your own products, if you're monetizing with CPA or selling Amazon stuff.
Even if you are selling leads or leasing websites to other businesses.
It's the user, the visitor, that will eventually purchase the thing, download the offer or make the phone call.
That's why many marketers with small lists and small audiences make ton of money.
Because they can monetize in a way that helps the users fulfilling their needs.
In fact, monetization should be your #1 thought when it comes to entering a new niche.
Being the largest search engine in the world doesn't make it the biggest website.
In fact, it's not even the website where people spend more time!
So why would you focus 80% of your efforts in something that will bring you so many visitors.
In fact, I think it's one of the best sources of traffic out there.
But Google also has some “big brothers” and laws it has to abide by.
In fact, Google is designed to be a doorway to relevant results.
If any, there are far more important websites to be targeting your audience (like Facebook or Twitter for example).
And you can only follow a user in Google for so long.
Until it lands on a website outside of Google and your opportunity to bring the visitor into your website is gone.
You can combine Google with something else like retargeting, for example.
But the actual time people surf Google is short.
For example, the average time on site for Google is (hh:mm:ss) 1:47:42.
But for Facebook, the average user spends (hh:mm:ss) 7:45:49.
That's 7 Hours a Day on Average!!
Talking about where people spend more time online, right?
Again, I'm NOT trying to diminish the important of a good SEO friendly website.
But as time passes, I see more and more that a good On Site SEO also includes a good User Experience.
That has been Google's idea all of this time!
So let's dive right into it:
Chances are you already have some data and some visitors going to your site.
In my opinion, the best way to start is by optimizing the assets you already have.
That's when Google Analytics come into play.
These are the 4 most important metrics in your Analytics Panel:
Average Time on Site
Average Pages Viewed per Visit
New Visitors vs Recurring Visitors
Some sites take this to the extreme.
Neil Patel's Quicksprout makes you click (engage) with a full page CTA:
There are some other sites that actually make you click to read the news with lists, slideshows, etc.
Remember, these metrics use Google Analytic's own algorithm, which is sometimes a bit off.
However, they will help you a ton when making decisions regarding your website content.
At the end of it, he told us the importance of using a Heat Map to dig a lot of information about our website's design.
There are lots of Heatmap solutions that you can use.
Basically a heatmap will allow you to know exactly where people are clicking on your website.
But also, you have what's called “scroll heatmap”.
Which is basically telling you up to what point, inside of your website, people are scrolling.
If you have a short scroll heatmap (meaning that visitors are not reading the entire length of the content).
It would be wise to put your call to actions on the top of your pages.
Which leads me to the next step…
A website without call to actions is like a bow without the arrows.
You can get a ton of visitors, but you won't actually make any conversions.
Call to actions must be enticing and eye catchy.
They need to stand out from everything else in your content.
A great way of knowing which call to actions work best is by actually split testing.
There are pro solutions like Optimizely, for example.
On it's free version it will allow you to make some small A/B testing, but it's worth it if you're just starting out.
You can also purchase the premium version which will unlock more features.
Split testing your call to actions is vital when it comes to providing the best User Experience while you are still trying to convert your visitors into subscribers.
Basically is like having your cake and eating it too!
I really like to see what the big guys are doing.
Usually they have the team and the budget to conduct tons of split testing.
A good example of how the User Experience in a website is changing is the brand new design of Gary Vaynerchuk's website.
The big Video-CTA on top is becoming more and more popular.
Even more for personal branding, key-note speaking and media development like Gary is trying to convey on his website.
Another good example is Digital Marketer's website.
It's oriented to give the user the best experience based on what they want to learn.
Since they are literally a content powerhouse, it's easy to get lost in the weed when you are checking them out.
However, they are making it super simple to choose your own adventure.
Depending on what you are trying to learn from them.
Oh, and they rank for EVERYTHING!
So what I'd recommend is that you have a list of websites that really triggered some kind of action on your side.
And try to emulate them without losing your own flavor.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to get the feedback you need about your website is just by asking!
Your visitor knows exactly how he or she feels when visiting your site.
Some good questions about your website would be:
You can send out your own poll with Google Forms (free) or Survey Monkey (freemium).
And don't forget to offer something in return to actually entice people to participate.
Going back to Gary V's example, he actually emailed his entire list and gave us “beta test” access.
He simply asked for feedback from his audience, and I'm sure he got a lot of heat and input for his developers!
This is a great example of asking your audience about a new webdesign.
User Experience and Google Rankings goes hand in hand.
And you need to split test to please both, at the same time.
However, if I had to choose, I'd focus on keeping the user happy.
Google rankings will come eventually, as long as you keep putting out awesome content.
Have an absolutely awesome day!
PS: Let me know what you think about this article!
I'd love to hear your comments! 🙂
Hernan Vazquez is a digital marketing trainer and consultant that built several 7 figure businesses from scratch. He specializes in helping business and students grow their online businesses through the use of Sales Funnels, Paid Advertising and Email Marketing.