The User Experience Begins in Search Engines – How to Format Content for the Best SEO

The Secret Sauce

The drastic changes in Google’s ranking algorithm since 2010 largely share one theme: user-experience quality. In this series I will cover all aspects of SEO for content, often called the holistic approach.

SEO in UX design: If the site initially fails to answer the user’s search engine query, it must at least direct them to relevant content. I want to prevent that click back to the search result pages. High bounce rates can indicate that your visitors aren’t finding what they want. Consistent clear navigation, information architecture and consice content make a difference. UX starts before users get to your site.

Awesome websites will also result in higher conversions. If your audience likes and understands your website, the chance of them buying your products or returning to your website is of course much higher. It’s also about site speed and user experience (UX), and great content is a huge part of the user experience. In a holistic approach, SEO has a lot of aspects that must work together with your UX design. In this post, I’ll go into a number of areas where SEO and UX meet. SEO simply targets the search engines and UX targets the visitor, both with a shared goal: to provide the best experience possible.

Get real if you want to rank high. SEO trickery will result in penalties to your quality score with search engines. The best practice is to base your content optimization on creating quality “real” content. Understating what quality content is, can serve as a guide to understanding what these search engines are using to rank your page and move it to the top of search results.

Site Structure and linking – control the things you can:

The most powerful way to improve content ranking in search engines is to get other websites linked to your content from their related content. Or better yet, get them to directly reference your keywords in their content – easier said than done. In reality this method is beyond your control. Some have used “ghost sites” that seem real or more honest content managers implement link exchange initiatives. If you can manage a link exchange program then you can get great results, but there is no workaround for poor content.  However, even link exchange initiatives will fall short if the content is not valuable to users searching for your keyword.

Search companies like Google rank the origin linking page for content quality and then follow external links to your page and rank it. The quality of the origin site and the quality of your site all impact the “score” results for ranking in searches.

Essentially, you are relying on others to value your content enough to link to it. Fingers-crossed that it relates to your article’s subject. This will happen organically based on your awesome well-constructed exclusive articles and because they rank high already. For example: I published an article about Queen Charlotte, who was the first black queen of England and the name sake for the city of Charlotte in N.C. She was a legendary Queen whose parents were Mores from Spain and shared a bi-racial royal family lineage. She was also America’s first and last Queen. The article performed relatively well because there was not much about her online. Then Megan Markel appeared on the scene and suddenly the content was leading my landing page content in Google Analytics. In fact, Megan is not the first black  member of the royal family of Brittan. Here’s a link to America’s black queen and first black member of the royal family.

Cross-linking, control the things you can:

Another linking option that improves your rank is within your power as a content editor. Crosslinking to your own content allows you to use all of the techniques above to tell search engines that there are other articles on this subject within this site. Break your content into digestible sections. SEO software will alert you when the Felsch score is low. One major issue is long content. As a UX designer I discourage the use of pagination just to generate page views. Search engines can smell click farming in a site and will not give you credit. Construct a series with each section offering new exclusive parts to your overall subject. And, of course, use the keyword for subsequent parts in your link. The best example of this is the article you are reading now. Each part of this series has its own related keyword and it has been cross linked.

For example, let’s begin the process of building quality content that is of real value to real people.

Click here to find the best keyword for your content: