One of the biggest mistakes you can make in SEO is optimizing your website at the expense of the audience. While it may help get people onto your page, when visitors are met with a page filled with too much content on a bad design, they leave and you lose a sale.
With Google’s latest emphasis on usability, over optimizing may actually hurt your search engine rankings anyways. Jay Taylor recently shared some tips to make sure you are creating websites that customers and search engines alike will love. If you want to get people to come to your page and stay, follow these important rules.
- Understand Your Customer – First and foremost, the internet is now more about the user than it ever has been. Google includes aspects of usability such as speed, design, and content in their algorithms as strong indicators of quality sites. Not only that, but obviously you should be trying to appeal to your actual customers, not just your own tastes. The way you percieve your brand may not be the same as how your customers understand your product, so you want to find out why they choose you over your competitors. Once you know that, you know what to play up when introducing potential customers to your brand.
- Websites Don’t Have To Be Beautiful – That’s a bit of an overstatement, but it is far more important for a website to be usable and interesting to your target audience than it is to have a website that looks like a work of art. Use visuals that appeal to your customers in a way that solidifies your credibility and appeal to your customers. You want your website to look professional and be extremely usable, not unapproachably artistic.
- Create Great Content With a Purpose – The days of creating content stuffed with keywords solely to appease search engines is long gone. Your content should have a purpose to your reader and be aimed at actually informing your audience rather than rambling with specific words to attract crawlers. Poor grammar, unnecessary vocabulary usage, and awkwardly mechanical text turn people off, and can lose you customers. Instead, make sure your content has a purpose, value to your customer, and inspires action of some sort.
- Provide Easy-to-Use Navigation – User-friendly navigation is essential to allowing your customers to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for on your site, but it also allows search engines to more effectively index your site. There should be navigation in the header and footer so that customers always have access to it, and you might consider a drop-down menu in the top navigation if you have a lot of pages.
- Measure and Improve – Keep track of your key performance indicators such as conversions, contacts from the website, and possibly purchases to see how any new changes may be affecting your performance. You should also be using Google Analytics to watch where your customers are coming from, and what may be causing you to lose conversions.