The debate between UX vs. SEO has been one that many experts have engaged in. Businesses often have to look into these practices to see which one is suitable for their brand’s digital marketing strategy. If you are new to online marketing, let us first explain what both these practices are.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of using content, website design, and other techniques to rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Marketers conduct keyword research and use high-quality keywords in the content to help it rank better. For this strategy, you have to be mindful of search engine algorithms and bots before you write the content.
User Experience (UX) based practices focus on designing online platforms to ensure that customers have a better experience of your brand. The aim is to deliver content in the preferred tone and language of the users instead of focusing on SEO practices.
Marketers argue that focusing on just one of these techniques will nullify the other. It can be nice in theory to just focus on fulfilling the needs of the users, but if you do only that, SEO will become an afterthought. If that happens, the business could end up not ranking at all. This can be a missed opportunity to increase leads, traffic, sales, and conversions. On the other hand, some SEO strategies can go against UX designs. While working on optimising your website based on algorithms, you may end up sacrificing a greater user experience.
Optimisation only focuses on what a machine like a search engine wants out of the website, while the UX designers would want to focus on the best practice for humans. The article below attempts to highlight how using UX and SEO together can be the best practice instead of just focusing on the UX vs. SEO debate.
What Is the UX vs. SEO Debate About?
User Experience designers need to keep the brand and the users in their minds when they are designing any online platforms or products. They need to ensure that everything looks the best that it can as well as create a design pattern that encourages users toward a call to action. For example, the website design should push the user to buy a product, click on a link, or sign up to become part of the email list. The aim of the UX designer is to help achieve the goals set out by the business.
On the other side, SEO focuses more on content availability and data analysis. Search engines have bots that crawl through brand websites to find information to determine whether the website should be ranked. The point is to help businesses and users at the end of the day, but it does have a quite one-dimensional approach to doing just that.
What Challenges Do Digital Marketers Face?
The issue arises when UX designers and SEO experts offer different solutions to the same problem. SEO professionals will follow what the search engines want in order to create accessibility for the users. They will often prioritise images, keywords, links, responsive designs, etc., because they realise that’s what the bots will be looking out for. They will tend to add these features to the website, even if it is detrimental to the website design.
UX designers will approach the website with the mindset that if you are building the online platforms well enough, it will attract an audience no matter what. However, there is a problem with this. SEO experts argue that if no one knows your website exists because it never appears when they search on Google, then it doesn’t matter how well it is built.
UX designers need to find ways to ensure that they are naturally implementing often intrusive SEO techniques into the design. This will ensure that neither the search engine nor the user is alienated. One key example is avoiding keyword stuffing. Putting too many keywords in the content will reduce readability for users, and the content will become penalised by crawlers too. Hence, making sure keyword placement is natural is one way to bring UX and SEO together.
SEO is central in making sure that the website is ranking on search results. This is one of the easiest ways to bring traffic to the website. Once they are there, it is the job of the UX designers to make sure that they complete certain actions. This means that they need to create a space that is friendly to user interaction and engagement. SEO also means that the content you write is well-researched and engaging, so that time spent on the website is high as well.
The approach to problems may be different for UX designers and SEO experts, but brands have to realise that the end goal for both is the same: identifying and solving problems for the user. In the debate between UX vs. SEO, the only logical answer is to make sure that you are designing a platform that has both. Without good user experience, no matter how brilliant your SEO strategy, you will fail to convert leads into sales. Vice versa, without SEO, no one will come to see how user-friendly your website design is.
The best path to take is to focus on the user. SEO increases accessibility for the user since it makes it easier for the audience to find you. UX design makes it easier for your consumers to invest in your business as well as understand it. Hence, both need to come together for you to succeed.