Search engine updates over the past five years have made finding high quality information easier and faster than ever before; but as the search engines continue to evolve, so must your website.
Depending on what the purpose of your website is, ranking highly in search engine results is somewhere between moderately important and absolutely vital to success (or even survival).
Fortunately, the formula for improving your SEO rankings is clear: improve your site’s User Experience, improve your site’s SEO.
For years, websites using black hat SEO meant that your target audience might have a very difficult time finding what they were looking for. Unscrupulous techniques like keyword stuffing, cloaking, and hidden text, to name a few, meant that you had to browse page after page of search engine results to find relevant information; it meant that you lost business from potential customers who couldn’t find your website; it meant that your grandmother installed a dozen toolbars in Internet Explorer while trying to check her email.
The horror, the horror.
Today, Google is working hard to render dishonest SEO techniques ineffective. The most visible effort in this fight was the 2011 Panda update, a search engine overhaul that drastically reordered search engine rankings overnight based on a series of metrics associated with high quality, trustworthy websites.
While admittedly imperfect at first, Panda has undergone several updates since then and has accomplished much in the way of discrediting shady websites and rewarding well-designed, honest ones. Google’s search engines try to determine not just how relevant your site is, but also how well-regarded it is, and the way they do this is largely based on engagement (comments, shares, inbound links, etc.). If your website is being shared and talked about consistently, you can be sure that this is viewed favorably by the all-powerful search engines.
The most surefire way to get your target audience excited about what you have to offer is by presenting your content through a great, professionally-designed UX. A thoughtful and empathetic UX, with clear pathways, aesthetically-pleasing design, and, of course, unmatched usefulness, will naturally result in positive reactions from your site’s users. Sharing, bookmarking, commenting, return visits, linking to your pages—great UX promises all this and more if done right.
Search engine technology is constantly evolving, but we have the advantage of knowing where it is heading: towards great UX. By revamping your website now to feature a state-of-the-art User Experience, you are exponentially increasing your business’s ability to be found by your target market, both immediately and for the foreseeable future. It’s that simple.