Can Focusing On User Experience Kill SEO?
Why it’s critical to keep your technical SEO in check when making user experience improvements.
If you ask Google what are the best SEO practices, they will always say “build for the user and the rest will follow”. But why do they say this? The reason is that Google wants web developers to create unique and independent content, which enriches their search experience.
However, if you ask anyone who does seo for a living, they will tell you, “seo before design”.
Can there be a happy middle ground? Can a website be 100% user friendly AND 100% search engine optimized?
The answer is no. Many have tried, and many more have failed. The only solution is to decide what is more important to you, functionality and design, or getting found?
A camera online retailer, doing tens of millions of dollars in revenue a year (40 percent of which was from organic search), decided to switch to a new ecommerce platform. To deliver a better user experience, it decided to combine six to 10 different product information pages (description, reviews, specification, FAQ and more) into one long page, to allow users to find content more quickly.
That decision was a disaster. It reduced the total number of pages from 7,000 to about 700 pages. After the re-launch, the site’s organic traffic dropped in half, costing millions of dollars in lost sales.
You can have the most awesome looking website in the world, but if nobody can find it, it never matters. However, you can get MASSIVE traffic from a website that is built with seo first in mind, and then start testing with design changes that do not affect your seo in a negative way.
There are literally millions of great looking websites out there that often do not rank in the top 100 for their own brand or service. Those are companies that are forced to spend massive amounts in ad dollars to get found.