How To Find The Perfect Balance Between Your UX And SEO

by Editorial Staff
11 minutes read

Generally, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is concerned with optimizing websites and having them ranked on the top of search engines like Google. That’s typically the main goal of every SEO expert. User experience (UX), on the other hand, is more of a web designer’s concern. 

The Objectives Of User Experience (UX)

UX, in the context of website design, pertains to the website’s ease of use and navigation. Basically, this concerns the experience of website visitors and whether or not they find your website easy to access, read, and navigate. 

With a good UX in place, customers will be able to find what they’re looking for easily, and they will most likely be encouraged to return to your site and make a transaction. To know how UX increases conversion rates, you can check here for further reading.

Overall, UX encompasses both usability and accessibility—ensuring your site is easy to navigate, even by people with disabilities, and looks good on all devices (including mobile phones).

The Purpose Of SEO

While UX is concerned with the design and usability of your website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on making sure your website ‘gets seen’ by your target market. 

To achieve that, SEO has several strategies that ensure your website ranks higher when certain keywords are typed on search engines like Google. Ranking high on search engine results pages means that more prospective customers will likely find you as they search for services or products online. 

Why UX and SEO Must Be Balanced

Most website owners think that SEO and UX are two different things and must be fulfilled by different teams. That’s not entirely wrong. However, failing to have these two teams collaborate with each other can result in poor user experience and eventually, low search engine rankings.

A balance must be achieved between UX and SEO to ensure users can easily find your website and are encouraged to stay longer once they click it. UX and SEO must go hand in hand, especially if you’re aiming to increase page visits, views, engagements, and conversions.

SEO ensures people will be led to your website, but UX ensures that these people will stay and actually enjoy navigating your site.  To achieve a perfect balance between the two, pay attention to the guidelines provided here: 

  1. Invest In Simple But High-Quality Visuals 

High-quality visuals can easily catch the attention of your visitors and help them find the things they’re looking for easily. Visuals are not just limited to photos or images, they also include buttons, logos, and illustrations that can be found on your site. Basically, these are aspects of website design and UX that make the website easier to look through and navigate.

High-quality visuals that are placed strategically will have a huge impact on your clicks, engagements, and conversions. A visible call-to-action button, for example, can attract more visitors to click and make a purchase. 

However, you must keep your visuals light and simple. It may be tempting to use stunning photos and animations, but overdoing it can eventually affect your UX and SEO efforts. In SEO, page speed and load times are crucial factors in rankings. Since heavy visuals can cause your website to load slower, this will affect your rank on search engines. 

A slow website also affects UX. People these days expect to get information fast and a slow website will surely test their patience. This will discourage your prospects and they might even hesitate to make transactions. After all, no one wants to deal with a buggy website and app.

  1. Add Keywords Naturally 

When done right, keywords can be helpful for both UX and SEO. Mainly, keywords are used in SEO efforts because these words will help match the website to similar online searches. Through keywords, search engines will ‘know’ what the website is all about and what kind of information is being presented. 

When using keywords, it’s recommended to incorporate them naturally into your website and online content. While robotic keywords might look good for SEO, using such will eventually affect your UX. 

For example, using the keywords ‘best hair salon London’ might ensure that you’ll be matched to the exact same searches but when users read those words on your blog, it will look as if your company didn’t bother proofreading the content. This can turn off some people, and it generally affects the professional reputation of your brand.

To strike a perfect balance between UX and SEO, you must use keywords naturally. Here’s a list of strategies that you can use to achieve that: 

  • Be Selective With Your Keywords: Don’t use every keyword that comes up when you’re doing keyword research. It’s best to focus on just a few keywords per page. This will help with usability and ensure each page isn’t too similar or repetitive. It also helps keep things interesting for readers who visit multiple pages on your website because they won’t see the same information repeatedly. 
  • Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Just because you can write the keyword anywhere on your website, it doesn’t mean that you should. Keyword stuffing is a bad SEO practice that can result in penalties. Again, use your keywords naturally and strategically. They don’t have to be present in every paragraph. Placing a keyword on the title and the first few paragraphs of your content would be more than enough. 
  • Use Phrases Or Long-Tail Keywords: This strategy involves using three or more words together with some general keywords rather than using one or two words as a keyword. This will ensure that search engines can easily understand what your website is about and rank it accordingly. 
  • Add Headings: H1 and H2 tags help provide structure to your content. This tactic will help search engines understand what your page is about, improving your rankings for certain keywords. These headings will also improve UX because it helps visitors skim through your content more easily, allowing them to find the information they need fast.
  • Add Keywords In Your Meta Descriptions: Having your keywords in your meta title and meta description can tell both people and search engines what your content is all about.
  1. Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices 

Optimizing your website for mobile devices might be more of a UX concern, but this also helps achieve the objectives of your SEO strategy. As you probably already know, the majority of people nowadays search, browse, and make online transactions through their phones or tablets. Therefore, your website must be able to adapt to smaller screens. 

You must ensure that your website is compatible with mobile devices so that users can access it from anywhere. To achieve this, you have to make adjustments to the desktop version of your website and make sure it becomes responsive when viewed on a smaller device. Below are a few tips to take note of:

  • Use Larger Texts: The main thing to keep in mind when you’re designing a website for smaller screens is to make every element larger—especially the text. Small fonts can make it difficult for visitors to read your content, mainly if they use a smaller screen device. Thus, ensure that all of your text is easy to read by making the font size at least sixteen to twenty pixels. 
  • Reduce Image File Size: It’s best to use images that are no more than one hundred kilobytes (KB) when you’re recreating a mobile version of your website. However, if an image is necessary, try compressing it as much as possible before uploading it, so it loads faster and doesn’t take up too much space on your site’s server. 
  • Minimize Distractions: Remember that mobile devices have less screen space, so there should be less room for distraction. You want visitors to easily access what they’re looking for quickly and without having to hunt through endless layers of information to find what they need. To minimize distractions, remove unnecessary elements that have no function—such as graphics that are only for aesthetics. 

When your website is optimized for mobile users, this will help decrease your bounce rates. As such, your search engine ranking will improve. 

Problems When You Fail To Balance UX And SEO

Failing to find the perfect balance between UX and SEO can result in the following:

  1. Increased Bounce Rates 

Let’s say your SEO efforts paid off well and your website ranks at the top of search engine results pages—attracting more clicks and visitors to your site. But because your website is difficult to navigate, visitors won’t be inclined to stay for long.

As mentioned previously, your bounce rate will increase if users find your website confusing and difficult to navigate. People these days want to find information fast, and if your website cannot provide that, then they’ll move on to the next one. 

With increased bounce rates, your company will lose potential customers. Difficulty in navigation is not just the culprit. An abundance of pop-ups is another element that can affect your website’s UX.  

For instance, when visitors find banners flashing across the screen upon arriving at your page, it could get annoying. Remember, if someone doesn’t want to stay on your site long enough to even read through your content, they probably won’t engage with your brand.

  1. Negative Brand Reputation 

Your website is not just a page on the Internet. It is an extension of your brand image and a representative of your company. If your website does not deliver, then that will also reflect poorly on your business. 

If someone can’t find what they are looking for on your site, they will assume that your business doesn’t know what it’s doing and leave immediately. Additionally, when your website is not properly optimized for search engines, your poor ranking will also result in a negative perception and distrust among prospects.

Nowadays, people will more likely trust businesses that rank high on search engines. That trust will be nurtured further when they find your website useful and easy to use. Hence, a perfect balance between UX and SEO is an art you need to master (as a website and business owner).

  1. Search Engine Penalties

When your website implements bad SEO and UX practices such as keyword stuffing and spam links, that is a surefire way to get penalized. Search engines, like Google, have a set of guidelines that website owners want to follow if they want to be ranked properly in searches.  

If you have a website with a lot of duplicate content or if you link out to other websites that are not related to your niche, then Google will most likely delist your site from search results. This could be very damaging to your business because this results in lesser clicks, visits, engagements, and ultimately—sales and revenues. 

Search engine penalties can be lifted, so getting delisted is not exactly the end of the road for your business. However, these penalties will not be lifted automatically. You need to perform a site-wide SEO audit and remove elements that are causing such penalties. This includes cleaning up spammy backlinks, removing duplicate content, deleting unnecessary keywords, and so on. This could take a lot of time and resources. But all these could be prevented when you follow good SEO and UX practices from the beginning.

  1. Decreased Engagements And Conversions

Ultimately, high bounce rates, poor rankings, and negative brand reputation will have an effect on your sales and revenues. If you have an eCommerce website but your product pages aren’t optimized for SEO and user experience, you may lose out on sales opportunities. Aside from that, users may get frustrated by the lack of relevant content and leave abruptly.

Once your website has a poor reputation, it would be very difficult to gain the trust and confidence of your prospects. There is even a possibility that they would actively avoid your website because of their negative experience with it. To avoid this, it’s best to invest in good UX and SEO practices early on. 

Key Takeaway 

Balancing user experience and search engine optimization strategies may sometimes seem conflicting. But what you really need to remember is this—focus on the user. Once your strategies are aimed to provide comfort and convenience to your prospects, then you’ll be guided toward implementing a balance between UX and SEO.

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