By Brianna Sullivan
Many designers who work in the digital marketing space will encounter conflict when combining user experience (UX) principles with SEO requirements, myself included. But as pointed out by Rand Fishkin in a recent Moz Whiteboard Friday, a designer in a “UX-only world” thinks only about one kind of user: someone who arrived at the site from the homepage entirely separate from search.
While I watched this webinar, I realized that some of our clients also think like a designer in a UX-only world. Cutting down on landing pages, stripping pages of content, etc. have all been suggested in an effort to “simplify usability”. But actually, these clients and designers are not considering the needs of a potential client using a search engine, therefore creating more UX problems instead of solving them.
Here are some points where we need to make some compromises to ensure all of our users and potential clients can find what they need.
Multiple Landing Pages Are Not Clutter
The Strategic Account Managers and Campaign Engineers on our team develop content plans to include landing pages that cover a wide array of topics. Take practice areas for example. We have a landing page for an overview of what the firm practices, then that page links to individual pages containing more information on a particular area of law.
You may think, wouldn’t it be easier to put that all the practice area content on one page? Then the user could read everything without having to load a new page or follow any links.
At a glance, yes it seems simpler to have fewer pages with all of your information available from one place. This is, in fact, easier for users who arrive from your homepage, but what about someone searching “Car Accident Attorney” in Google? Without a landing page specifically about that practice area, they are less likely to find that your firm can help them with that type of issue.
Another side of this coin is the mobile user. A mobile user is not going to want to scroll through a long page on their phone explaining everything your firm does. They want to quickly find the information they need, so providing a list of links rather than several paragraphs is more effective for this type of user.
Embedded Apps Are Great — If Google Can Read Them
There are times when information can be better communicated via a video or an interactive application, such as a map or calculator. At GNGF we always recommend including video transcriptions and crawlable content with these types of site content.
Why complicate the page with written content? Shouldn’t the video or app suffice?
For a search user, how will they find the video or app you spent so much effort to create? Google can’t extract meaning from these types of content, so if there’s nothing crawlable on the page, it essentially sees it as blank. In this case, the SEO benefit far outweighs the proclivity towards minimalism.
If you have any questions regarding SEO and user-forward design, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com