User Experience SEO Best Practices

One of the less often looked at issues in user experience is that of user experience SEO best practices. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the science of working text and meta content of a post or website so that it matches a high result count for a number of search keywords and analytics. SEO is a hot topic, because like any other concept for marketing and PR online, it has its abusers.

Blackhat SEO practices, as these abusive tactics are called, are exemplified by landing pages that come from an extended search, and which almost always have nothing to do with what you searched for. They are used to grind ad views mostly, so someone can get free money for doing little to no contributory work. One of the biggest tenets of user experience SEO practices is to avoid using these tactics even unintentionally.

I mention this apart from what comes next simply because this abuse of SEO has caused many to assume that the use of SEO is a bad thing. It’s not. In fact, it’s vital not only for your success in reaching those who are in search of you effectively, but also for search engines to actually work, and return results that actually matter.

So, that said, the first important thing to consider for getting positive user experience with your SEO practices is to actually see to it that the URL holding your content actually has some wording that shows it’s relevant. This is to abate the automatic conclusion that you’re a blackhat page. Users have gotten used to those and have learned that the first tell that these aren’t practical results is the lack of a URL with any wording inside that relates to the keyword or topic.

Second, you want to be sure that your meta content, especially when it comes to Google, is succinct, less than twenty characters long, and actually shows a continued confirmation that not only are you relevant to a search, but that you’ve got something useful to say. It’s only 20 characters, but try to summarize your mission with the page, and include a call to action. Users expect this, and interpret it as signs of a page that’s worth something to view.

Third, and this is the tricky one, remember our talk not long ago about eye tracking and the order of recognition when a user observes what is presented to them? Well, this matters when it comes to SEO keyword placement as well. You don’t want to have the keyword appear too many times within a volume of text, but not too few times either. The title of the article or the page’s titular header should probably include a secondary keyword that’s intuitively similar, and you’ll want to have your keyword in the first paragraph, and depending on how long your text body is, appear at least once every fifth paragraph or so, as well as the closing paragraph.

In between, using similar terminologies, even if they’re not vital keywords according to current analytics, is a good way to ensure that erratic eye tracking still recognizes it as relevant, and keeps you from having to be awkward with wording.

This is pretty cut and dry, but user experience SEO principles are very important, so you need to be careful. But, SEO is vital, so don’t let this scare you away!

Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
Megan Wilson on sabtwitterMegan Wilson on sablinkedinMegan Wilson on sabgoogleMegan Wilson on sabfacebook