So often in our industry, it’s easy to get bogged down in data and technical details while forgetting that what we do every day is really about one thing: SEO and customer experience.
The idea of customer-focused SEO applies across the board, in every area you can think of. It drives the work we do on our clients’ websites while also informing the decisions we make and the devotion we give to our jobs.
The way we see it, if we want to be known as an agency that puts the customer first, the agency that gives our clients great customer experiences, then we have to concentrate on delivering the right kind of SEO and user experience to our clients’ customers.
That’s how clients stay happy.
Customer experience in SEO has been top of mind for Google and all digital marketers for a good while now. All Google wants to do organically is to serve users content that matches their search intent by being exactly what they’ve been looking for.
So that has to drive everything we do for our clients’ websites here at LSEO. And it should matter to all SEOs out there, too! Good customer experiences are what Google wants, and if you want to rank well on the SERPs, you have to give Google what it wants.
If you’ve been wondering how to marry up SEO and customer experience, we’ve got the goods.
First, we’ll get into some detail on what good customer experiences really mean. Then, we’ll list five reasons you should care about the experiences your SEO is creating.
Oh, and here they are summarized:
|SEO Customer Experience Element||How It Helps Your Business|
|Content marketing funnels||Nurtures leads on their way
to becoming customers
|Meeting search intent in all content||Shows users what they’re looking for
and decreases overall bounce rate
|Fast load times||Lets users access what they need faster
and decreases bounce rate
|Descriptive URLs||Shows users and Google what a page is about, increasing engagement|
|Strategic internal linking||Keeps users moving down the funnel
and increases click-through rate
What Is CX (Also Called UX)?
Customer experience (CX) refers to any interaction a user has with a business, no matter where they are in the buying funnel. When we refer to customer experience on a website specifically, “user experience” or “UX” will suffice, too.
Now, the principle of website CX is to turn visitors into customers by letting them have great experiences while using your site.
How do you do that?
When you think about website UX, you should be asking the following questions:
-Does my website clearly state what my business does?
-Does my main navigation plainly show users how to get around on my site?
-Is text content broken up with other visual elements to keep things fresh?
-Do my pages feature smart internal linking structures to help users navigate?
-Does my blog or resources page support my main pages by offering users more information on subjects in my industry?
If the UX of your site is good, people will be more likely to visit again as opposed to a site with bad or subpar UX. A good website will make a visitor’s experience virtually seamless, and they will be able to find exactly what they are looking for without having to search too much.
5 Reasons to Prioritize SEO and Customer Experience
We just gave you a crash course in website UX, so now let’s turn to CX overall.
Why should you care about SEO and customer experience? Why should it matter to you how your SEO is allowing your customers to interact with your website in particular and your business in general?
Here are five reasons to prioritize CX in your SEO right now.
1.) Content Marketing Funnels Bring in Customers
Customer experience on a website is all about making it easy for people to take the action you want, whether that’s to buy something, complete a form, or simply to read the resources you have there.
Whatever action you want from your customers, though, is not guaranteed. Nor will it necessarily be easy to achieve. Users can bounce from your website for any number of reasons.
To nurture those leads, your SEO should be doing two main things as far as content goes:
-Use content to draw in traffic
-Use that content to create a marketing funnel
Now, explaining the full details of content marketing funnels goes beyond the scope of this post, but you can check out our insider tips on content marketing funnels post to get the lowdown on that.
What a content marketing funnel is, though, is a structure of content where you bring customers in at the awareness stage, move them through the middle consideration stage, and lead them finally to conversions at the bottom of the funnel.
Salespeople know all about funnels like this, and the same basic principles apply to SEO content marketing. Users won’t become customers if they don’t trust you based on what they know about you.
How can you use your website to change that? It’s all about content. It’s still king, like it’s always been. Your website’s customer experience will improve when you can clearly communicate to potential buyers at every stage of the funnel.
When those customers feel that you can answer their questions about your offerings, no matter where they are in their decision-making, they will come to trust you and could even end up converting.
If conversions matter to you, then you’ll want to incorporate content marketing into your SEO and CX.
2.) Meeting Search Intent in All Content Increases Engagement
We briefly mentioned search intent above, but we’ll cover it more here, since it’s a huge part of the customer journey in SEO.
The second major reason you should care about customer experiences in SEO is because, if you get search intent wrong on your pages, any traffic you do get is going to bounce immediately.
Search intent is related to content marketing funnels in that each stage has a purpose, a goal it’s trying to achieve.
Intent applies at the general funnel level and the more specific page level, which is where your SEO comes in. If you want to give your website users a good customer experience on every page, consider the intent of the page in every piece of SEO that you do for the page.
That applies to content as we discussed above, but also to the various technical SEO changes that you make to a page. Everything from the metadata to the schema you add to a page should be geared toward the same intent.
Otherwise, people are going to leave.
Here are two examples.
You write a blog post around the term “buy lawnmowers now.” The post never ranks well for anything because the focus keyword is a transactional one, where people want to buy something or otherwise take an action right now. They don’t want to read content at the moment.
Or, you have a lawnmower product page where you want users to add one to their cart and check out. You optimize the page for the informational keyword “reasons to buy a lawnmower.”
The intent of those pages is all wrong, and it will make for a disappointing visit to your website.
The solution? As you think about the intersection between SEO and customer experience, think about search intent above almost anything else. If you can get intent right after doing a thorough SERP analysis, you will go a long way toward attracting the customers you want.
3.) Fast Load Times Decrease Bounce Rate
The third reason you should work CX into your on-page SEO is because CX is always going to include fast page-load times, and when you ignore page speed, your customers won’t stick around.
We can get it out of the way now by saying that a good loading time for a page these days is between one and two seconds.
That’s pretty fast, and many websites don’t actually meet that. But if you’re aiming to execute the best practices of SEO today, then you should be measuring your current page speed against what’s detailed in Google’s Core Web Vitals.
Elements such as a major cumulative layout shift or a long load time to see the largest contentful paint can seriously affect your SEO and CX.
Think of how many times you’ve sat waiting for longer than four or five seconds for a website to load. At that point, you’re really not interested anymore, most likely because you no longer trust that the site will deliver what you need.
So, page speed is a major component of customer experience on a website, and you have to care about it if you want to keep the traffic you do get.
How do you fix a slow website? It usually comes down to technical cleanups, dev-heavy stuff. You’d have to compress your website’s images, minify code, eliminate unnecessary code, and even resolve problems with your hosting provider to speed things up.
Page speed is an issue we hear about a lot from clients when they first come to us. The experts at LSEO can definitely help you here if your website has been experiencing major speed problems.
4.) Clean URL Structures Keep Customers Engaged
If you really want to go ham on customer experience in your SEO, then you’ll also want to optimize the URL structure of your pages.
This might seem like a nitpick to some of you. After all, as long as the page’s content works, does the makeup of the URL even matter?
It does matter, actually, and if you can take an opportunity to improve your customer experience, why would you give it up?
Here’s the deal on URL structure optimization. The weight that Google gives to SEO keywords in URLs isn’t huge. It won’t make or break your content page.
However, since your URL should be descriptive and match the title of your page, it really should have a keyword in it somewhere anyway.
Now, that’s good for Google because it tells what can be found on the page, and that same reasoning applies to real users in relation to customer experience.
No one wants to see a bunch of numbers and symbols in a URL. They want a nice, clean URL that succinctly repeats the title of the page. That way, they won’t be confused about where they are in the architecture of your website.
Remember this: confusion never leads to conversions.
5.) Internal Linking Can Increase CTRs
The final item in this SEO and customer experience list is internal linking, also called interlinking.
Given that links are one of the cornerstones of SEO, it should come as no surprise that internal linking is one of the most vital moves you can make when you want to improve CX on your website.
Links from page to page help users to move through your site and discover more information. Ideally, you’d want to place those internal links strategically so users are always able to go to a new resource when you mention it.
It also matters where you link to from those links. You always want to point users further down the funnel, or at least to a lateral place in the same funnel stage. That’s called being strategic with your interlinking.
It isn’t just to your benefit, though. Customers who get more into your business and how you do things from your web content will naturally want to know more about how they can make a move. The right internal links will take them much closer to accomplishing what you both ultimately want.
Ignoring internal linking will suffocate the customer experience. With nowhere else to go, users will end their sessions, maybe never to return.
Don’t let that happen. Keep the customer journey alive by using smart internal linking in all the right places.
Let LSEO Help with Your SEO and Customer Experience
No matter what we’re talking about–customer experience, user experience, the customer journey in SEO–the point is that an optimized website is necessary to attracting the customers you need to grow your business.
Since Google is so laser-focused on the user experience today, your approach to your website’s SEO needs to take an organic approach, incorporating a stellar customer experience from the ground up.
If you need some help determining how to do it just right, let the SEO pros at LSEO step in to augment your in-house team.
With our decades of combined experience and tens of thousands of leads generated for our clients, we’re positioned just right to take your business’s online presence to the next level.
Get in touch with us today for a free consultation or proposal!