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Human vs. Google: User Experience and SEO

By January 18, 2011Web Marketing

I talk a lot about the big picture of SEO and making sure that you put your users first and Google second. After all, if the web had no users, Google would be out of a job.

There is a way to provide a good user experience and help your rankings.

Here’s how:

  1. Create a clear path
    When a user comes to your website, they need to see a clear path to what they are looking for. Designate your audience’s top three tasks when visiting the home page of your website. Provide calls to action within the design and content that direct the user to the most significant places you’re expecting they will want to go.

    As you add new content to your site, the “calls to action” on the home page can change to reflect. This way, your users (and Google) have direct access to the new stuff (helping to boost your rankings).

  2. Respect the hierarchy
    Like your customers, the search engines see your main navigation as the most important pages in your website. Those pages hold the most value, the sub pages of those sections hold the second most value, and so on.

    Make sure that you place your most important information, resources and materials towards the top of the hierarchy. This will help your users to find anything quickly and easily, and it will also help the engines to understand what pages are most valuable. If you must bury anything deep within your site, make sure it is easily accessible through your predictable navigational structure. And, if it is really important, make sure that you provide a link to it from somewhere on your home page (or the engines may not ever find it).

  3. Learn to evolve
    As the web continues to evolve, the user will continue to take precedence. Your website’s job is to provide value through content, user interaction (blogs and forums), and media (images and video). Your job is also to participate in your online community (social media websites, blogs, forums) and help your potential customers (and other websites) to learn the value that your website provides.

Do your best to satisfy your users, the humans that are visiting your website. Naturally, over time, you will watch your rankings become stronger and more stable, and you will also have happier customers.

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