We know, we know – for the past few months, we’ve been focusing on the Panda Update an awful lot.
But that’s because it’s so crucially important. It literally changes everything about SEO. If you can understand this fact, you can prevent yourself from using the “old” SEO techniques – SEO techniques that are probably hurting your website a whole lot more than helping.
In past articles, we’ve talked a lot about improving the “user experience.” But what IS the user experience?
To start, let’s look at how Google views search engine optimization (quote taken from Google’s SEO starter guide):
“Search engine optimization is about putting your site's best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.”
Google understands that people use SEO to get their website out to consumers. A good website is one that delivers value to the people visiting the website. It’s the site that’s easy to navigate, has excellent and unique information, and the answers that the searchers want to find.
This is what the user experience is: how easy it is for your visitors to gain valuable information from your website.
Lately, though, people seem content to sacrifice the user experience for slightly improved rankings. This goes against everything Google wants in a website. It goes against everything the consumer wants in a website.
So the Panda Update happened.
And now it’s mandatory you have a good user experience if you want your website to rank well. But how to go about doing that?
Read on, my friend!
First things first, the second someone visits your website, they’re instantly judging it based on its looks alone. I know, sounds a bit extreme, but this is really what happens.
We’re used to clean and stylistic “web 2.0” style websites. Websites with a clean look, easy-to-use navigation, social media badges, etc.
Everyone has an image of the “ideal website” in their brain. For some, it may be Twitter. For others, Facebook. But whenever people visit other websites, they immediately compare the look and feel to their “ideal website.”
It sounds a bit confusing, so let me break it down with an example.
Let’s say you’re looking for information on renewable energy. Obviously, you’d like the most up-to-date and cutting-edge information available. So you head over to Google and type in your search query.
You find a site that might have the information you’re looking for, so you give it a click. When you land on the page, though, you see the site looks like it hasn’t been updated in 10 years. The color scheme makes your eyes bleed, the navigation is non-existent… it’s just a terrible website.
10 years ago, that type of website may have been acceptable. It may have even been valuable.
Now? An outdated design means one thing in the mind of consumers: outdated information. Even if your website’s info is completely up-to-date, if your design doesn’t show this, your consumers will assume there’s no current information to be found on your website.
Let’s face it: as websites get more and more fluid and easy to navigate, people have no desire to go back to the “old way.”
It’s like driving a brand new Mercedes for a few months then going back to your 15-year-old Honda. As long as people have a choice in the matter, they’ll always choose the newest and best way to do something.
And at this point in time, people want their information on a silver platter. They don’t want to dig for it. They want to get the exact info they’re looking for the second they land on the page.
So instead of fighting this idea, instead of complaining that the average consumer is lazy, roll with it! Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Make sure your visitors know exactly where they can find additional information.
For example, if you have a website designed to teach people internet marketing, you should have a banner at the top of the page that says “New to Internet Marketing? CLICK HERE!”
This way, new visitors will know where to go the second they land on your website. Instead of having to dig through your site (hint: most visitors will push the back button before they dig through your site), you give them the information they need right off the bat.
Hopefully, you’re now up-to-date on what the “user experience” is. You always want your website to have the best user experience possible. Doing so makes your site “Google-friendly.” Google will WANT to feature your site on page #1!
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