The Turbo Blog

4 Ways to Balance SEO and User Experience In Your Website

October 11, 2019

The first of Google's philosophies goes like this, "Focus on the user, and all else will follow."

This is a powerful sentence, but one that was unfortunately ignored many years ago. In the past, SEO professionals designed their websites around web crawlers, cramming pages with keywords to score a high ranking.

While this may have worked ten years ago, it certainly won't be effective today. Now, Google places much more value on UX rather than a design specifically for SEO. 

With that said, you shouldn't completely abandon SEO for a UX-style approach. Instead, you should combine both, with a little more emphasis on the user experience.

Here are four tips to help you balance SEO and user experience in your web design:

1. Mobile Platforms

In April of 2015, Google boosted the rankings of many websites that were functional on mobile devices. Because of that, it is a must that your website is usable not only for desktop users but for mobile users too. In fact, the majority of searches done on Google are conducted on mobile devices.

Mobile device browsing is leading the way.

According to Google, there are ways you can design for mobile: responsive design, separate URLs, and dynamic serving. Among the three options, responsive design is the best method when combined with SEO and user experience.

When using responsive design, your website is the same, only it is now able to correctly be displayed on a small screen. Separate URLs is the worst of the three because you end up having to create an independent website for mobile devices, thus ranking differently from your leading site.

As we can see, responsive design is the way to go. Not only is there less work for you, but users don't have to bother acquainting themselves with a brand new site. Plus, responsive web design is much more user-friendly.

2. Infinite Scrolling

Infinite scrolling works by continuously loading new content as a user scrolls through a website. Many people and that might include you, think that this is a very user-friendly element to add.

Sites like Pinterest and Buzzfeed are great examples of infinite scrolling. Unfortunately, web crawlers do not mimic the same actions of real people. Because of this, content that users can see will remain unseen by Google.

If you really want to implement infinite scrolling, Google recommends using paginated series along with endless scrolling. This ensures quick load times and allows users to find the content they're looking for in the first place.

There is a misconception running around that content should be shown without the need to scroll. In reality, users scroll. Besides, with so many different shapes and sizes of screens, it would be hard to keep the same web-page throughout all platforms without the use of scrolling.

3. Click-to-Expand

This design element is of much debate just as infinite scrolling is. If you do not know what click-to-expand is, it is a button users can click to open up hidden content. Although Google has not specified if this content is ignored, it is said that Google doesn't index it. 

To be safe, try to avoid using this method as much as possible. Although it might look great paired with a minimalistic design, it isn't very SEO-friendly

4. Images

Images are great at conveying messages and information. However, according to Rand Fishkin, founder and CEO of Moz, text-only pages perform much better than ones with too many images. Remember, less is more. Although UX favours the use of imagery, don't go overboard with it.

It is also worth noting that Google can read images. They can appear on Google's image search and be of good SEO value for your website. However, there are a few things you'll have to do to make this happen.

Your images must have descriptive file names, appropriate alt text, and proper content surrounding the image. You must not hide any important document within the image itself.

The key here is finding the right balance. By properly utilizing UX and SEO into your website, you're going to climb up the ranks in no time at all!

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