The Definitive Guide To UX, SEO & CRO

Introduction

In recent years, search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone a significant transformation.
 
More than just keyword-rich content, meta tags, and backlinks are now part of modern SEO. SEO's technical aspects have become increasingly important to success, and its interconnection with User Experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is now more important than ever.
 
Here, we look at the modern definition of SEO, as well as its digital strategy partners, UX and CRO, and how they can collaborate to improve the user and customer experience, improve search performance, and increase conversion rates, all of which lead to increased revenue.

The Modern Definition Of SEO

As we all know, SEO is all about increasing not only the quantity but also the quality of organic traffic to a website from a search engine.
 
This refers to SEO content that ranks well for internet users who are more likely to be interested in the website's products or services.
 
Organic or unpaid traffic differs from paid or direct traffic generated by targeted advertisements, and it can be the most profitable if your website, UX, and CRO are all optimized and working together.
 
Creating high-quality on-page SEO content is no longer enough to fully optimize your website. Two of the most important aspects of modern SEO are ensuring that your crawl budget is effectively organized and improving your page loading speeds.
 
The amount of influence UX now has on a search bot's evaluation of a website is another huge step forward in the evolution of SEO.
 
Modern SEO must:

learn how to use the so-called "rules" of ranking to their advantage. When selling to a human, it's common to forego things like keywords in every heading or a minimum word count.

It might imply that you don't link to other internal pages. A narrow focus on simply getting people to show up – rather than caring about the sales experience once they do – is a recipe for low conversion rates. The next step is for SEOs and CROs to work together to decode the intent and awareness levels of the queries being targeted.

Someone who searches for a broad keyword (‘How to do C') is likely to have a completely different level of awareness than someone who searches for a specific brand. We can't treat these users the same because they have different informational needs.
 
Focusing page content on intent and awareness rather than solely on keywords will result in better lead experiences and, as a result, better conversions.
 
Let's dig deeper into what defines these other critical aspects of a website's design and function, as well as their ability to convert a user into a customer, as Joel aptly summarizes this new age of SEO and its symbiotic relationship with UX and CRO.

The Relation Between UX & SEO

Google has increased the stakes for SEO experts by emphasizing UX during their bots' crawls to rank websites for search.
 
The most obvious example of this is the page load time. Slow loading pages are a bad page experience, so the Google search bot actively penalizes websites that take too long to load.
 
Of course, factors other than load speed influence the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a website, such as a user's perception of the site's usefulness and ease of site navigation.
 
With the majority of internet users accessing the web via their mobile devices, one of the most prominent aspects of User Experience design in recent years has been making sure a website is mobile friendly. As computing technologies advance, we're seeing a shift toward a less tangible view of user experience, one that considers users' feelings and motivations.
 
These recent developments are centered on identifying the type of user a website is attempting to attract, determining exactly what they want, and presenting it to them as efficiently as possible.
 
It's impossible to create the ideal user experience for everyone because there are so many factors that influence a user's intent and motivation, even within a single demographic. We can only aim to improve the user experience for a specific demographic, which is where SEO comes in.
 
Another factor that search bots may consider when evaluating a website for a search is its bounce rate (where a user leaves your website, especially if the user has ‘bounced back to the search results page immediately after visiting the page suggested by the rankings).
 
The bots collect information about user behavior, but it is not nuanced information. The bot will recognize that a user returned to the search results page after a brief click-through of one of the suggested results, but it will not know why.
 
If your website has a high bounce rate, the bot will notice and may consider it a negative factor when evaluating the value of your web pages in future user searches. As a result, the causes of high bounce rates must be identified and a solution devised. It's possible that you're ranking high for the wrong type of search intent, or that your landing pages aren't designed to convert.
 
This necessitates collaboration between SEO and UX, which then provides the foundation for effective CRO.

The Relation Between CRO & SEO

Relation of CRO and SEO
The definition of CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. CRO is the process of refining the user experience with the goals of improving the conversion rate and ultimately, increasing your revenue. Check out our CRO services here.
 
The process of increasing the number of visitors to a website who take a specific action while there is known as conversion rate optimization.
 
Depending on the type of product or service offered by the website, such actions may include purchasing a product or adding it to a cart, filling out a form, or clicking on a link.
 
Though conversions are obviously the goal, good conversion rate optimization entails more than that. Effective CRO is more than just numbers; it's also about understanding a website visitor's motivations and what persuades or dissuades them to take the desired action. When a CRO team collaborates with SEOs, they can achieve far greater results.
Identifying what causes a visitor to bounce, as well as where they are bouncing from, is an important part of improving your conversion rate. If the majority of your traffic comes from your home page, you've identified the source of the problem. If users are clicking through various layers but then bouncing before completing the conversion, something is obviously preventing them from completing the final step.
 
Understanding what brought the visitor to your site in the first place is another aspect of CRO.
Knowing what they want and giving it to them is the key to a conversion, so SEO plays a big role in making sure the right people find your site. The UX designer must then lay out the simplest path for the user to take the desired action.

The Relationship Between SEO-UX-CRO

If a fully optimized website were a physical store, the SEO would be what draws customers in, the UX would assist them in quickly finding products they like, and the CRO would persuade them to buy.
 
Some of the well known experts, says of the relationship between SEO, UX, and CRO:
 
It is not possible to prioritize UX, CRO, or SEO. A chance to convert a visit into a conversion can be lost if a website ranks well for a given search phrase but the landing page fails to satisfy the searcher's intent or load within an acceptable time frame.
 
Even if the landing page loads quickly and contains relevant content, if the conversion path is distorted, this visit may not result in a conversion. This is a losing strategy.
 
 
In an ideal world, your website would combine SEO, UX, and CRO into a single digital strategy to increase organic traffic and the likelihood of those extra visitors taking the desired action.
 
This three-pronged digital strategy necessitates an understanding of three things:
 
1. You must know who your target audience is and what they are looking for
2. What do you want visitors to do when they visit your site
3. You should know what your current visitors are doing on your website

Understanding Target Audeince

Who your target audience is will have a big impact on how you design your site for UX and how you use CRO to remove roadblocks and encourage more desired actions.
 
Your target audience should feel at ease on your website, be able to connect with the content they see and quickly find the answers they seek.
 
The easier it is to create the ideal UX for your target audience once you have a better understanding of their common characteristics and motivations.
 
This helps with both SEO and conversion rate optimization, as you can optimize your content for the right keywords and phrases, as well as remove specific barriers that cause a high bounce rate among the demographic you're targeting.

Clear Call To Actions (CTA)

For many eCommerce businesses, this section will be straightforward because the desired action for their visitors is to buy their products. However, even if a purchase isn't made right away, there are other desired actions that can be beneficial.
 
A visitor who creates an account or fills out a form, such as signing up for a newsletter, is also a success.
 
This helps with both SEO and conversion rate optimization, as you can optimize your content for the right keywords and phrases, as well as remove specific barriers that cause a high bounce rate among the demographic you're targeting.
 
Their interest has been piqued enough by the combination of UX and CRO that they are likely to return to make a purchase in the future.
 
A visitor who creates an account or fills out a form, such as signing up for a newsletter, is also considered a success. This helps with both SEO and CRO because you can optimize your content for the right keywords and phrases while also removing specific barriers that cause a high bounce rate among the demographic you're targeting. Their interest has been piqued enough by the combination of UX and CRO that they are likely to return to make a purchase in the future.
 
In many cases, simply clicking a link can be considered a success. Some products or services' benefits may not be immediately apparent to a particular user, making a purchase without additional information unlikely. A click-through to more information is far more valuable than an immediate bounce in this case. Of course, if the bounce persists after that click-through, you know there's a problem with the information they discovered there.

Understanding User Behaviour

There are tools available, such as Google Analytics, that allow you to track the actions of visitors to your site using demographic data. These typically include general information like the visitor's location, age, gender, and the device they used to access your site.
 
Other metrics, such as the type of link that brought them to the site and the links they clicked while there, can also be used. You can identify the types of users who convert the most and least by tracking the actions of certain demographics across your website.
 
A simple example would be an equal number of male and female visitors, but a significantly higher male conversion rate. You can make changes to the UX and content to appeal to both demographics more evenly by identifying what attracts male visitors but repels female visitors.

Aligning SEO, UX, and CRO In a Team

Relation of CRO and SEO
When a company is large enough to have separate teams for SEO, UX, and CRO, good leadership that understands how to help them help each other is required.
 
A Project Leader needs to fully align SEO, UX, and CRO. Some of the key points:
 
1. Hear what UX, CRO, and SEO teams have to say
2. Encourage a collaborative way of working between these teams
3. Make your team aware of the desired outcome and the availability of all resources to achieve it, and encourage them to think commercially
 
 
This is a challenge not only for SEOs, but also for Product Teams, Front End Engineers, and Designers. Brands will not succeed unless these groups collaborate to provide the best possible customer experience.
 
The biggest win for any brand is to foster a collaborative culture in which these teams can easily collaborate to find and optimize the best solutions to common business problems.

Optimizing UX

There are numerous optimization tips available to assist you in creating the best user experience for your target demographic.
 
The first thing to remember is that substance always takes precedence over style.
The appearance of your website is important, but how it functions will have a far greater impact on the user's perception of your website and business.
 
At all entry points to the website, such as the homepage and all landing pages, you must make your business and its offerings as clear as possible.
 
In organic search results, search engines don't always show the best landing page. As a result, any landing page must entice searchers to the RIGHT content... their desired content.
 
UX includes delight. Users and searchers should be delighted by the content. If users enjoy navigation, there is a problem.
The goal of navigation is to make task completion as efficiently as possible, not to delight users.
 
 
As a result, get the most important information to users as quickly as possible, and maximize the findability of your business offerings as well as the site's navigability. For the latter, it's a good idea to include a link back to the navigation section of your site architecture so that users can easily navigate your site without getting lost in a maze of links.

Aspects Of UX Optimization

There are two other aspects of UX optimization worth mentioning:
 
1. Monitoring user journey roadblocks
2. Review mining for customer-centric content
 
The first entails utilizing the website's traffic tracking technology to track customer journey roadblocks that result in a user exiting a page rather than proceeding to the desired action. Even if the user does not leave the site entirely, this is useful information. This data shows you which parts of your site are performing better in terms of CRO, with SEO and UX both contributing to the optimization of customer journeys.
 
The second of these final UX optimization points entails extracting text from customer reviews in order to create customer-centric content that can be incorporated into the website's copy.
 
The ultimate goal of review mining is to determine whether a piece of text is positive, negative, or neutral using sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis allows you to gain a better understanding of your customer’s reactions to your products and services after they've encountered them.
 
It gives you a broad picture of how they feel about your products or your company as a whole. It allows you to conduct in-depth market research while keeping track of your brand's and products' reputations. It can also help your UX, SEO, and CRO teams eliminate less visible negative UX factors.

Eliminating Negative UX Factors

There are a few main factors that have a negative impact on a user's experience, and they apply to almost every website on the internet. To improve your UX, it's critical to understand what they are and to eliminate them whenever possible. You can truly begin optimizing your website for your target audience after removing these main negative UX factors.
 
The following are the main negative UX factors:
 
Slow loading times are self-evident, and improving them should be a constant part of your digital strategy. Although some interstitials are required, they should be kept to a minimum.
 
Users despise intrusive advertisements, so alternatives to pop-up internal advertisements and promotions should be considered to reduce this negative factor. Instead of forcing the user to click away from a promotion, it can appear passively in a sidebar or a banner.
 
Broken link repair is an ongoing task that should be included in any SEO strategy. During a crawl, search bots check every link on a site and devalue other content if there are too many broken links reporting 404 errors. In some cases, replacing broken links with new links to other live pages may be the best solution.
 
Making sure the content you present to users is what they expect to find from their search results is a big part of the whole SEO, UX, and CRO combination. The preceding factors result in a negative user experience, lowering your website's authority, but a mismatch between search results expectations and on-site reality can actively create animosity toward your company.
Slow loading speed
Interstitials or intrusive adverts
Broken links
Mismatch in search results expectation and on-site reality

What An SEO's Should Know About UX & CRO?

The customer journey map is the most important concept that SEOs can learn from UX and CRO.
 
Understanding the various stages of a user's journey through their interaction with a website on their way to becoming a customer is a key component of both UX and CRO.
 
Some SEOs overlook this step and concentrate solely on achieving high results page rankings. However, simply getting your website in front of people isn't the most effective way to ensure conversions. It's preferable to have the right pages with the right information ranking high for the right users, regardless of where they are on their own unique journey.
 
In a typical customer journey, you can map the stages of awareness. Add some UX magic in the form of a customer empathy map after layering keyword modifiers. You'll find that they're a perfect match. This method entails designing your website, information architecture, and content to meet the needs of each stage of the customer journey.
 
Certain keywords and phrases indicate that a user is further along their journey than a user searching for other types of related keywords. One user, for example, knows exactly what they want from your product and only needs to be convinced that your version is the one they should choose over your competitors, whereas another user is still unsure what your product does in the first place.
 
These two users are at different points in their customer journeys and will require content tailored to their specific requirements. When SEOs collaborate with the UX and CRO teams, they can gain a great deal of insight into the entire customer journey map for their company.

Core Web Vitals

As an addendum, it's worth looking at Core Web Vitals and their importance to SEO, UX, and CRO, especially now that Google has announced that their revised Core Web Vitals will become an official ranking factor later this year.
 
The revised Core Web Vitals are:
 
1. Largest Contentful Paint
2. First Input Delay
3. Cumulative Layout Shif

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP - Largest Contentful Paint
The LCP vital is a replacement for the previous or current loading speed vital. Users stayed on websites when the main part of the page was loaded, even if the periphery elements were not yet fully loaded, according to Google.
 
This means that the load speed of the largest graphic element on the screen will be measured by this new vital, with a good load time being less than 2.5 seconds and a poor load time being more than 4 seconds.

First Input Delau (FID)

First contentful paint - core web vitals

The interactivity of a page is measured by this FID vital. This is the time it takes for a website to respond after a user clicks on a link or other interactive on-page object. A response time of less than 100 milliseconds will be considered good interactivity, while any response time longer than 300 milliseconds will be considered poor. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS - Cumulative Layout Shifts
The CLS vital will assess a website's visual stability. The CLS will measure the full load time of all other elements, such as text sections and clickable links, while the LCP vital measures the load time of the largest on-screen graphic. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.
 
With these Core Web Vitals becoming official ranking factors, the interconnectedness between SEO, UX, and CRO will only grow in the future.
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