How will SEO boost your conversions? A search-engine-optimized website doesn’t serve only the search engine (or machines). When you have an SEO-friendly website, you should have a user-friendly website as well because search engines – Google primarily – are increasingly prioritizing the customer experience.
The SEO-CX Connection
Consider Google’s recent algorithm updates and the SEO industry’s move toward a privacy-first world.
First, the rollout of the Core Web Vitals, which has been included in Google’s Page Experience update. This set of metrics determines if a website loads fast enough, is interactive the moment it loads and appears correctly on any type of device. All three are indicative of a focus on the user experience (UX), and whether a person is getting what they need from a site without the frustration of waiting for a page to load, be functional and display correctly.
Second, browsers are targeting the end of 2023 to phase out third-party cookies in an effort to promote user privacy. Soon enough, online users may not have to worry about being “tracked” by another website, allowing them to feel confident about their online activities and remain undisturbed by intrusive ads.
SEO and customer experience (CX) have a kind of symbiotic relationship in that customers won’t know about your business if your website isn’t optimized for search, and your website won’t be able to improve online visibility and rank without customers visiting it.
How to Leverage an Optimized Website to Deliver Satisfying Customer Experience and Boost Conversions
Have a Responsive Web Design
Your customer could be using a mobile device or a desktop when browsing the web and finding your website. If your site isn’t designed to work on different screens and operating systems, it’s not going to work well on all devices. Maybe the navigation sends users to the wrong page. Maybe users can’t read the text because it’s too small or the buttons are tiny.
An unresponsive website isn’t responsive to the needs of customers. When a user discovers that, they will take their business elsewhere. Google has responded to this effect through mobile indexing, which uses the mobile version of your site over the desktop version for ranking. Why?
A majority of users access search engines with a mobile device – in fact, 55.7 percent of global web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Some 41 percent come from desktops and laptops, 2.8 percent from tablets and 0.07 percent from gaming devices.
Since people will access your web pages using different devices, it means that your site elements should accommodate all screen sizes or aspect ratios.
A responsive website isn’t just about responding to the needs of your customers; it’s also a significant ranking signal for Google. So your technical SEO work should cover this tactic.
Speed Up Page Load Times
Every second matters when it comes to site speed. A slow-loading website is a major reason users choose to exit a page fast; they would rather go to another site than spend another second on a site that won’t load properly.
Bounce rate (how quickly a user exits your site) and duration per session (how long a person stays on your site) are two major factors that impact SEO. The shorter the duration per session, the lower your rankings will be.
How can you fix a slow loading page?
1. Optimize Your Images
Images are important elements of your site. From attracting and engaging shoppers to inspiring them to purchase, images are the cornerstone of your website. Image optimization, however, is a skill that you need to master.
Image optimization is the process of making your images easy for search engines to understand and present to users. This means that it has to load fast and should include relevant tags. Search engines like Google rely heavily on text when it comes to understanding what an image is all about.
Here are two factors to prioritize: image size and alt texts.
When a user lands on your site, one of the elements that will take time to load are images and videos. The larger the file size, the longer it takes a page to load. Compress the image size to increase load speed. Use free tools, like TinyPNG or Imagify, to decrease the size of your image files.
Meanwhile, consider alternative texts or alt texts – the HTML attributes that come with the images you upload. Alt text helps search engines understand what a picture is about instead of viewing it as a block of file. This way, it can add to its understanding of your content, which will improve SEO.
2. Enable Browser Caching
When a visitor lands on any of your web pages, their browser will cache files or download a couple of elements from the servers to ensure that it will load quicker in their next session.
3. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins are useful for the efficiency of your website. However, too many can affect your site speed. One way to cleanse your site of unnecessary plugins is to run a site speed test first.
Use tools like PageSpeed Insights (Google’s own site speed tool) or Lighthouse. After you’ve gotten the initial loading speed of your site, deactivate one plugin, then run the speed test again.
All plugins must be tested individually. It’s a lot of work, yes, but your efforts will mean an increase in your website performance – and a better user experience. Isolate those plugins that are harming your site speed and look for an alternative that will also help load your site faster.
Produce Valuable, High-Quality Content
People across the globe spend about six hours online each day. What do they do on the internet?
- Look for information (63 percent)
- Read up on news and events (55.6 percent)
- Research how to do things (51.9 percent)
- Find new ideas or inspiration (47.6 percent)
- Look up products and brands (46.4 percent)
Relevant and engaging content that offers value to people is key to every successful SEO initiative. When your company blog contains keywords or terms relevant to your business and it addresses user needs (from guides to product or brand information), it builds your SEO strength and provides a satisfying CX.
Where do you begin?
Know your audience (or customer segments) and then identify their needs. Are they just looking for information? Do they need help with building or fixing something? Do they need to know more about a product or a service?
Find out what terms their using on search engines through keyword research. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to discover relevant and competitive keywords. When planning your content strategy and what topics to write, consider the different stages of the customer journey (awareness, consideration and conversion) in using keywords. Each content piece with a particular target keyword should be written for user intent as it relates to the stage of the customer journey.
For example, users looking up “recruitment vs selection” may only be seeking clarity between the two terms whereas users looking up “recruitment and selection methods” may need guidance on improving the hiring process.
Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to keep track of your audience’s behavior. This way, you’ll be able to provide them with what they need when they need it.
Follow Good Linking Practices
Backlinks are essential in connecting your website pages to other related pages on your site, as well as pages from external sites.
Internal links help users (and search bots) understand how your content is connected to one another – each has relevance and value. External links establish trust, provided the links come from websites with high authority. Both are not just ranking signals but also a way to promote seamless user experience because you’re making it easy for people to find what they need.
If a user needs more details about a concept mentioned in your blog post, it’s linked to the appropriate page. If they need to confirm data stated in your infographic, it’s linked to the appropriate external site.
Optimized Websites, Optimized CX
No matter what line of business you’re in and what kind of website you have (e.g., eCommerce, portfolio, magazine, etc.), make sure it serves your site visitors well. When users are happy, they patronize a website and consistently transact with the business. Search engines pay attention to that, ranking websites focused on user experience.
When you align SEO tactics with your customer’s journey, you not only improve online visibility but also attract and retain customers.
So don’t just optimize for machines. Optimize for people, too.